Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 10/10/2007 – Beginners
My normal train was cancelled, but I was able to take a Euston train instead, so that worked out ok because the Virgin train is faster anyway. I wasn’t going to be doing the advanced today, as I wanted to make the social – due to that work presentation, I could only stay briefly at the start, but still thought it worthwhile. I’ve been hoping for an RGA social ever since I began training here, so certainly wasn’t going to miss this opportunity even if I couldn’t make the whole night.
Its been almost a year now since I started, and while I don’t think there’s a specific year syllabus, tonight’s class wasn’t too dissimilar from the first sessions I attended. We began with the basic standing pass, where you stand up and push the leg away, then drive your knee through, swing the other leg over and switch into side control.
That was followed by a kneeling pass using my favoured tailbone break. Jam your knee into their tailbone, bringing the other knee out at a right angle, cutting your hip into their crossed ankles to break the guard. You then have two main options (that I've been shown, at least), the first of which is to do the same leg pin pass as when standing. Alternately, you can go underneath the leg (making sure your knee is up and you put your arm low: putting your arm up high near their foot is likely to put you in a triangle). Once you have the leg, reach round for their lapel and press your forearm into their throat, pushing a knee toward their head, while bringing your other foot tight into their bottom to both raise and trap their hips (meaning they can’t shrimp properly). Having got them in that vulnerable position, you can move round into side control, driving your hips forward with your back straight (don’t just lift your head: have to push with hips) to make the space.
Jude also showed us the proper way to pull guard. With the usual grip on an arm and lapel, put your foot into their hip. Drop down to the floor and swivel in the direction of your foot, pulling them down as you do so. Bring that foot back and then back out, securing closed guard. The swivel seemed to help, though the natural tendency is to simply fall back: presumably that swivel gives you more control or something along those lines. In drilling it did feel as if that foot gave me a bit more control, but may have been imagining it.
Finally, Jude ran a useful drill where one person pulls guard, whereupon their partner immediately does a standing pass. This was intended to get us used to passing as someone was trying to pull guard: much easier to pass when they only have it partially secured.
Sparring was guard passage once again, where I started with Dominique. I wanted to try and work the flower sweep from an armbar set-up, but didn’t have too much success. Instead, I ended up working my open guard, trying to defend against the passing. Went ok, as I was able to test my hip mobility and getting my arms in position to hold off the pass, though I generally was passed eventually. Did end up in a strange stalemate with Dominique at one point, where she had a collar choke locked in, but I was past her legs. Eventually we just let go: not quite sure what I’d do if that happened in competition. Jude’s advice was that I should keep driving with my hips to loosen the collar grip and pass.
On top, I didn’t have too much luck, still relying too much on the tailbone break (with which I’m ever less successful). Having said that, I am making sure I at least attempt the standing break, but that’s currently even more sloppy (though at least I’m not getting swept repeatedly or just knocked back down when standing up, which has happened plenty of times before). With Chet, I was able to fling him right over and pass, but that’s only because he was knackered and is still comparatively new.
I also had a roll with Grant, which underneath was fairly similar to the open guard against Dominique. On top, I was completely unsuccessful, getting swept in a variety of ways. I did manage to escape some kind of armlock thingy he was going for (or perhaps triangle?) by curling my arm round and moving with it, though that merely put me back in guard rather than resulting in a pass. Grant also mentioned that I’d got that sweep he showed me last week wrong: hopefully he’ll stick up a comment so I can correct it in my earlier entry.
With Chet in my guard, I had a go at the kimura: he slapped my back, which I thought meant it had somehow gone on early, so released immediately. Turned out he was just trying to get a grip on my back to help his escape – nevertheless, definitely far better (at least in class) to let go of a sub attempt too early rather than too late. Chet asked how he should be escaping the kimura, to which Jude responded that you need to sit back up, twisting away in order to free the arm.
Not many people appeared keen to head to the club straight after. I asked around the changing room, but none of the beginners who trained that session were going direct. So ended up just being me, having very helpfully got some directions off Pippa (who had a quick look on Google Local). When I arrived, Greg and Radek were already there, so got to have a good chat with them (Greg in particular has had a pretty interesting career background in sound engineering). Everyone else started trickling in rather later, meaning I also had a chance to talk with Joelma, Ben and then right near the end, Joanna and Pippa. To my surprise Roger got there comparatively early (some time around 22:00, I think), with Jude arriving just as I was leaving (by which time most people had got there). Real shame I couldn’t stay longer, but giving a presentation tired and hungover in front of a large international group of colleagues wouldn’t have been much fun. ;)