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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

20 September 2007

20/09/2007 - BJJ (Beginners)

Class #90

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Felipe Souza, London, UK - 20/09/2007Beginners

I felt ok after the no-gi, particularly as I’d made sure I got enough sleep last night, so moved on to the beginners. Like in the advanced, Felipe went through the side control escape drill, which I’ve always liked because both people are involved. Just to remind myself: push up, shrimp out, swivel to your front and grab the back of their knees. Felipe paused to emphasise good posture: pull yourself forward and up so your head is higher than your hips, then bring your knees into position. Put a leg up on the same side as your head, then drive through to side control using your head and leg.

Felipe then followed up with the usual side control escape, where you shrimp back to guard. In sparring this worked a few times for me, especially getting half-guard first by throwing you far leg over their near leg to trap it. As I’d been hearing from Owen, the current crop of beginners are a tad aggressive, so many of my partners were stiff-arming, using lots of energy and panting away with the effort. That doesn’t make sparring too much fun, but as long as I stay relaxed, I’ve found it causes few problems: if they want to power through me, they can. Meeting force with force is how injuries happen.

On top, I wasn’t able to do much, though I managed to pass a couple of times by trying to transition to mount which had failed so miserably against Aika. I also had a go at an armbar with Chet, but threw my leg over without putting my hips round first: Felipe pointed out the mistake afterwards, so will have to remember to get the hips there before the leg.

The enthusiasm of the beginners did almost result in a nasty injury: one of the guys I sparred was especially excitable, and was shoving his arms straight up into me. I thought that would be a great opportunity to go for an armbar, so leant back…and he suddenly threw his legs in front of my head and rolled me under his mount. Now, I’ve seen that escape before, but must have got complacent because of the way he was straightening his arms into my chest: that meant my leg was still trapped, so I felt a sharp tug on my knee. I decided to sit out to make sure I didn’t exacerbate anything. I tend to automatically refuse offers of help (an annoying habit I’ve had since childhood), but swallowed my “no thanks, I’m ok” when Oli offered ice. Hopefully that should stop any lasting damage: I don’t think it was too serious, but very definitely want to be overly cautious when it comes to potential injury.

That happened during my last roll: before that, I was having a fair bit of success under mount. I did the same thing to about four or five people in a row: the step-over to get half-guard, then worked the other knee through for full guard. I also went for the basic trap, bridge and roll, which I must make sure to try: in fact, I probably should have stopped doing the half-guard thing once I got it a couple of times, in order to work something else. However, the beginners most likely haven’t seen half-guard much and therefore have little idea how to pass it, so it would be highly misleading to think this showed any great improvement on my part. Of course, still nice when a technique functions as you planned, even given those extenuating circumstances.

While checking the Roger Gracie Academy site, I noticed that both Owen and Liam had finally got their blue belts last night, which is cool. Both of them are quite clearly well above white belt level, so they were well deserved. I’m also glad that it would appear RGA isn’t quick to give out blues, so you know you’ve really earned it when you get promoted. Andy Roberts and Nick Brooks were given their brown belts, which is also pretty cool: loads of senior grades at RGA now. Melissa and Lubo, who I don’t know so well, also received their blues, so congrats to them too.

I’m hoping to get down to the Tuesday sparring class after my meeting next week. which should partially make up for all the advanced gi sessions I’ve missed. However, that does depend on me actually making a Tuesday sparring class, which I’ve so far managed…once.

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