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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

04 October 2007

04/10/2007 - BJJ (No-Gi)

Class #93

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Felipe Souza, London, UK - 04/10/2007No-Gi

There’s a social next Wednesday I thought I wouldn’t be able to make, but as it turns out I should be able to make the conference to give my presentation on time. That does mean I won’t be able to stay too late, so I’m not sure many people will be there during the time I spend at the club: it starts at 20:00 and training is still on, so will most likely just be a few beginners. Nevertheless, I’ve been hoping for a social ever since I started, so will make the effort to attend this.

Tonight was also the first time I’ve seen Chris since his tournament performance: from what he said, definitely sounds like he had the same weight-cutting problem I did and felt awful. However, he managed to win, and only lost the next one narrowly on points, so that goes to show how good his BJJ has got in the last few months.

He was keen to work on a butterfly sweep, which we worked a little before class got going, and also went through at the end of class too. Get to butterfly guard, which means you feet are hooked round the inside of their legs, your knees splayed (a defence against butterfly guard is to push those knees together), head further forward than your hips, overhooking one arm by the tricep and underhooking the other, gripping round the back. Switch your left leg under your right, pull them in, then with your other leg flick their leg right up in the air, also twisting over with your body. That should end with you in mount, though you have to be careful to avoid getting trapped in their half guard.

Technique today was rather nasty looking, as it was a triangle from side control, leading to all sorts of painful submission options. Grab the elbow of their near arm, push it up, then simultaneously switch your base and slide your knee underneath. Having got scarf hold, pull their arm down and step your leg right over their head. As you do so, slip the stepping leg underneath their head, triangling that with your other leg, leaving their arm trapped against their neck. From there you can squeeze to get the triangle, pulling their arm over if its not quite on.

Even if you don’t get them to tap from that, their other arm is now in an extremely vulnerable position, exacerbated by the considerable discomfort they should be feeling from your triangle attempt. You have a range of options to attack their arm – a straight armbar can be applied by getting a figure-four pressing against their elbow, pulling down on the wrist with the palm facing up. Alternately, there are the usual kimura and Americana subs, depending on which way their arm is pointing, or even a wrist lock, where you figure-four pressing on their wrist with their fingers pointing down.

Sparring went much better than yesterday, I think because its continuous, so when I made a mistake, I still had a chance to work technique. The main problem with my sparring yesterday was that I wasn’t focusing on specific things I wanted to do, which I rectified today. Rolling for me was going to be all about getting the knee through from half guard in order to get to full-guard, and that clear aim definitely helped me get more out of sparring.

Before the free rolling, we did specific from side control. Underneath, I managed to switch to half guard a few times, aiming for full guard (not always quite making it, but at least getting a leg in position a few times). On top, I was completely useless, getting swept in rapid succession.

Moving on to continuous sparring with Chris, I immediately pulled full guard. I tried the technique from yesterday, where you bump them forward, grab behind the head, then try to armbar as they move up, but couldn’t quite get it: I think I need to control that arm more and gain a better position with my hips before I attempt to swing the legs and go for the sub. As always I was often in half guard, but worked to get the knee through. I pushed it through a couple of times (though going to rubber guard wasn’t working so well for me), though Chris was generally able to pass into either mount or side control. I was also getting back to half guard when under side control, though I found it a little easier to do that from under mount (because under side control, I have to bring my far leg way over to trap the leg, whereas with mount the stepover is much closer).

Chris had a solid grip on my arm at a couple of points. The first time, after a bit of a struggled, I was able to lock my arms, and then use that strong position to sweep him from half guard. The second time was tougher, as Chris was close to getting me in position for a kimura or Americana, but I managed to lock my arms again. Eventually his grip loosened and I escaped (though he might have given it up to break the stalemate – I asked afterward, and he reckoned he couldn’t have got it as my defensive grip was too tightly cinched in).

I made a bee-line for Aika after sitting the next round out, as she’s always good to spar with due to her much higher skill, but lower weight. I started off underneath, again working the half guard, along with the sit-up sweep from full guard. She tends to pass standing up, so I tried a lot of armbars from standing guard, but couldn’t get the arm straightened out. I walked my legs up her back and hooked her leg, but probably should have pulled her down more, and also used my hips to help.

I also got a chance to see how my open guard defence functioned: at one point I was trying the classic defensive stance of arms and one knee up, which proved a fairly useful base to block her legs with mine. She did eventually get me into side control, but I flipped her over (that weight difference factoring into it more than skill, I’m sure). That left me in the same position I often end up with her in side control, trying to go for scarf hold. Struggling for a while, I decided I really didn’t want to waste the spar that way, so had a go at moving into north south. Aika shrimped out, I tried to move round to get into position for a kimura, which didn’t work but did leave me set up to pull guard rather than get mounted or something.

That meant I could again try for the sit-up sweep. This time, I did remember to keep the kimura from guard, partly because Aika had been careful to get her arm to safety when I tried the sit-up earlier. However, I was looking for the arm and managed to grab it, opening my guard and sliding my leg over her back to get into position for the kimura. She was tapping quicker than I expected, so hopefully that wasn’t an injured arm or something! Also, as with my escape from her side control, I think the weight discrepancy made a big difference: if it had been Chris, he might well have been able to muscle his arm away from me before I could go for the kimura.

I then sat on again, doing some drilling with Chris on the butterfly sweep. Looks useful, so I should give that a try some time. That proved to be the end of class, so just two free spars today rather than the usual three.

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