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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

30 August 2007

30/08/2007 - BJJ (No-Gi)

Class #84

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Felipe Souza, London, UK - 30/08/2007No-Gi

Basic point Felipe reminded me of today, which was to always grip under the head and arm when sprawling, as otherwise they can shift round to your back due to the space you’re leaving.

That was followed by more work on the clinch, with some interesting defence against double underhooks. First position Felipe showed us was when they try to get double underhooks, before they can come in close and break your posture, you push back on their hips. Keep doing that until you make sufficient space to slip in an arm and recover your underhook.

The second option was when they’ve got double underhooks and have moved round to the side. Put your left hand on their head, then with your right arm come underneath their armpit and grab your own wrist. Sprawling backwards, push their head down right to the floor. Once their, you have several options, two of which I drilled with Chris. Having got a secure grip, move round to their back (with one arm under their neck, the other coming underneath their armpit), then roll over and pull them into back mount. Alternately, maintaining that earlier grip on the head, push their head down towards their knee, rolling them into side control with a firm grip on their arm – I felt very vulnerable to submission when Chris demonstrated the technique. If you’re having trouble moving them over, use your head to drive under their side.

As always, Chris was great at pointing out errors I was making during drilling and had lots of pointers. I really must remember to roll with him more often, even though his considerable muscle can be a little intimidating. He continued providing advice during the next three drills, which were variations on triangle from guard. This started off from a guard pass defence we’ve done before in gi, but I’d not seen in no-gi. As they try to pass, you put a hand on their head and armpit to push off their body and make space, shrimp away from them, then come back in with one leg over their head, the other shin pressing into their stomach. Felipe showed how to drill this, with one person repeatedly going for the pass on each side with their partner went through the guard pass defence.

The first triangle was the usual method. From the position where you have one leg over their head and one into their stomach, isolate their arm with a firm grip. Then bring the stomach leg out and over your ankle, then secure the triangle by squeezing your legs and raising your hips.

The second variation was if you got them into a triangle position, but they managed to get their arm wrapped back around your leg (but still between your legs). Maintaining good head control with your legs, bring your arms around your legs and grip behind. Raise your legs straight up, squeezing your knees together and also using your arms to further tighten that grip. Leaning back also seemed to help: in combination, that should result in a submission.

I think its supposed to be a choke, but when Chris did it to me I’m not sure exactly where the pain came from. Nevertheless, definitely enough to make me tap. I had some problems making sure I was both raising my legs and leaning back, but after some pointers from Chris seemed to perform the technique better.

Finally, from the guard pass defence position where you’ve got one leg over their head and the other by their stomach, grab an outside arm. Shift your hips, then bring the leg by their stomach past their armpit and wrap it over your other leg, in a triangle grip. Roll them towards the floor controlling their arm and squeeze for the submission.

We then moved on to guard passage. I had a tough time passing Chris’ guard, so instead of straining uselessly I tried to be patient, maintain posture and wait for an opportunity. That sort of worked a couple of times, as due to it being no-gi I was able to slip my arms out and go for a stack pass. However, while I managed to throw his legs over once or twice, as always seems to happen with Chris, I couldn’t get my weight down so he simply got to his knees and stood up.

I also had trouble stopping Chris passing my guard, generally ending up, yet again, in half guard. I had a go at the half-guard sweep I’ve seen willyboy do, which as far as I can tell is to grab underneath the far arm and use that to roll them over, but didn’t manage to pull it off. I also tried to drive my knee through to recover guard, which sort of worked, but Chris managed to catch me midway a couple of times and either return to half guard or get through to side control.

He also tried a lot of brabo chokes (although I’m going by his description there, as I can never remember exactly what they look like), though I just about managed to resist. Chris said the I was leaving myself open to that submission because I wasn’t securing the underhook on him with my arm: that’s something to keep in mind, as it would make sweeping more productive. It would also provide the opportunity to take his back, which I keep forgetting about.

Sparring at the end of class was a little slack for me, as I wasn’t grabbing people to spar with like I should have been – I missed the opportunity to go with Aika and then with Chris, meaning that I ended up only sparring once. Still, that was at least a good roll with Nathan, where for once I wasn’t constantly sitting in half guard. Instead, I was either trying to work open guard, in his guard, or going for his back. I slipped round to rear mount several times, and it was very much slipped: the amount of sweat both on us and the floor made grips a lot harder to maintain, and therefore more difficult for Nathan to defend.

He almost swivelled round to guard from my back mount several times, but due to the lack of a gi and copious sweat, I was able to regain the position. I eventually managed to sink a rear naked choke, which was gratifying, but fairly meaningless as I think the main reason was all that sweat – that made it much easier to slide my arms through. Just before I had been trying to choke from mount, and again found it far simpler than usual to slip my arms across the throat (though I wasn’t able to secure it). I also had a go for armbars again, but couldn’t secure a proper grip.

So, still need work on half-guard: moving to rear mount from getting the underhook is something else for me to consider. I forgot to try the sweep I mentioned yesterday that Maurição showed us, so that’s another technique I want to attempt. Also, must roll more – I think you basically need to book people by eye contact, so I’ll have to remember to jump up and grab sparring partners next time.

I decided to wimp out of the beginners tonight, partly because I’m a wuss (especially seeing how I’d only sparred twice, so was comparatively fresh), but also because I really need to get more sleep. I keep getting home too late then going to bed around midnight, which wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t then have to get up again at 06:50. Ideally I’d get eight hours, but if I could at least get to bed around 23:00, that would be a big improvement.

I’m hoping to get my gf to try out BJJ soon, though we’ll need to go to Gracie Barra Birmingham for that, as unlike me she’s in Brum all week (I only go up there half the week). The beginners classes at Brum are inconvenient for me, but should work out ok for her: I’ll have to pop down with her the first time, but my hope is that she’ll have a good experience and then be happy to start going on her own from then on. Having a training partner at home would be great, and getting my gf into my main hobby would be beyond awesome. If I can make the time to get her down there and she actually enjoys training, which is an enormous if.

No training next week as my gf and I are off to the Lake District, which should be cool: last time we went we didn’t have National Trust membership or a car, so looking forward to checking out more of the cultural heritage this time round.

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