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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

26 September 2007

26/09/2007 - BJJ (Beginners)

Class #91

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 26/09/2007Beginners

For any UFC fans, entertaining podcast I listened to today by probably my favourite combat sports journalist, Eddie Goldman. In a similar vein to his diatribe against UFC Fight Night, he’s now gone even further and stated that the UFC ‘doesn’t matter’. Have a listen and see what you think: yes, it’s a rather extreme position on his part, but as usual Goldman does make plenty of interesting points. In the same podcast, there’s also news about a cool new documentary following an MMA fighter, which sounds worth a look.

My good intentions for training more regularly have once again been scuppered: at most I’ll be going twice a week for the next month or two. That’s because I seem to have a very busy October ahead: I’ve got three seminars to teach on entirely different subjects to entirely different audiences, so should be interesting, if challenging.

Perhaps no bad thing, as I also discovered that I was wrong about the blood on my gi last week: turns out it was mine. To get more specific (and gross), the large mole I’ve had on my back ever since I can remember ripped, which explains why I had blood on both the inside and outside of the gi. I only realised the true cause when my gf commented that my mole seemed to have a wound along the top. About time I got it removed anyway (although its been fine up until now), as I really don’t fancy bleeding all over the mat, my gi and my training partner, particularly as the environment isn’t exactly sanitary to begin with (given all the sweat). Plus it would be pretty damn painful if the thing got ripped off completely.

Jude kicked off with a single leg takedown. Drop down then slide your knee to the outside of the leg you’re going for. Grab round with your same side arm and place your head on the inside of their leg: this is important, as it protects you from guillotines. With your inside leg raised, grab their ankle with your free hand, lift that up and drive forward, knocking them to the floor. Move through into side control.

Next step was a transition from side control to mount. Switch your hips to knock their near elbow up, then switch back, using that leg to push right under the elbow and trap that arm. Bring your elbow to the other side of their head, also bringing your knees in tight to their body. Push their arm to the other side of your own head, so that both of their arms are now out of commission. Grip their belt or trousers to keep control of their hips, then grab the fabric of their far knee. Finally, switch your base again so that you have plenty of space to bring your foot across (immediately bringing that close to their side), then drive your knee through for mount.

Jude mentioned that a useful tip is to control the inside of your opponent’s elbow. From what I gathered, he used a monkey grip (so with the thumb) to push on that inner elbow, which apparently is much harder for them to defend. I didn’t have too much of a chance to test this out in drilling, so I’ll have to keep it in mind if I find myself in position during sparring.

The final technique of the session followed on from the other two, as it was the usual armbar from mount. Unsurprising, given that the previous two techniques leave you with a firm grip on their arm, so a good set-up.

Sparring with Dominique was fairly balanced, as it tends to be: I did manage to get a sit-up sweep, but again wasn’t sure if that was mainly from surprise and force. I needed to shove fairly hard to get her right to the ground, so I’m not sure if I would have managed it against somebody bigger. I’m also not thinking enough about trying the kimura after I rise for the sit-up sweep. Generally my sweeps weren’t all that effective, though I did feel fairly comfortable in defending the guard pass (using hands in her armpit or shoulder along with her side, shifting hips in order to recover guard or go for sweeps). I also went for the standing armbar a couple of times, as Dominique stood up to try and pass guard, but I couldn’t get my leg across. I’m forgetting to try that shin switch which I got to work a while back, so must remember to attempt that move more often.

On top, I passed one or twice, as Dominique opened her guard in an attempt at a triangle so I could then trap her leg, but then got choked out with a sleeve choke (Ezequiel? Not sure about the right term). That was as a result of being trapped low in Dominique’s guard, so I was thinking about defending the triangle. I could see she was going for some kind of choke, so tried to keep my hands in for defence and also stack her, but she managed to slip through into position anyway. So, must remain aware of the sleeve choke: I’ve not had someone try that on me from guard before, so good lesson to learn.

My next and final sparring partner was the Korean guy I’ve rolled with before, whose name sounds like ‘Seon’. He was fairly aggressive, going for a lot of chokes and also trying to get his knees into my stomach to sweep me, but I was able to maintain my base. I passed his guard and moved into a sloppy side control, but Seon kept going: eventually he came to his knees. He was also fond of going for cross chokes over and over again, which kept me on the defensive, though I don’t think I was in too much danger.

Strangely enough, he continued doing that when on top. This time it was more of a thrust choke, which didn’t worry me too much, as not only is it fairly simple to push someone away with your legs if they’re in your guard, but Seon isn’t any bigger than me so strength didn’t come into it. Nevertheless, it does again mean I’m on the defensive, though I tend to be defensive anyway. I also thought that should provide a good set-up for an armbar, as he was leaning forward with that arm and I was able to trap it, but yet again I couldn’t get my leg over to finish. I think I need to concentrate more on my hips, as well as pushing off my opponent’s hip. I keep just aimlessly swinging a leg by their head, which achieves nothing except opening my guard and leaving me in an awkward position.

In general, I think I need to remember my primary concern when sparring is to work specific technique. I was going for sweeps and the like, and continue to work that tailbone break guard pass, but I’m also being too unfocused for my liking, getting into a reactionary mode rather than following a plan. So, must remember to pick a couple of techniques and then try to really concentrate on attempting them in sparring.

My mole seems to have held up ok, although it didn’t much like the breakfalls and shrimping at the start. I asked Rohit to check if it was bleeding (lovely thing to randomly ask someone to do :P), but all fluids were thankfully staying put. I’m not sure I want to risk the no-gi, which may or may not be problematic given the lurking protrusion on my back: could just do the beginners again, or take it easy tomorrow. I hope to have it removed by next week, but we’ll see how the doctors go.

I got changed fairly quickly, chatting to a new guy called Neil along with Ed (who got his blue at the end of class: that puts the total up to five white belts changing colour in the last fortnight, all very much deserved), then hopped straight onto the 23 bus for Westbourne Park. I was all set to get home nice and early in order to do some work on my course…then found that Westbourne Park station was shut because the entire Hammersmith & City line was down. Lack of available trains, apparently, which is ridiculous: British trains continue to demonstrate how utterly crap they are. James (who I first met at the Bristol Open – turns out he’s a philosophy student at one of the London uni) and I caught the 328 to Earls Court, which was supposed to take 12 minutes, but actually took about 40mins. Still, that does at least mean I know an alternative route if the trains completely fuck up again.

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