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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

18 October 2007

18/10/2007 - BJJ (No-Gi)

Class #96

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Felipe Souza, London, UK - 18/10/2007No-Gi

To start with medical matters, finally had that mole (or rather, ‘tag’: think I’ve been using ‘mole’ incorrectly) removed yesterday. Straightforward process, beginning with an anaesthetic injection, which did sting a bit but nothing too unbearable. The doctor then used a hot wire to literally burn the tag off my back: I could hear the sizzle as it sliced through, but fortunately the anaesthetic did its job. The wound seems to have healed up ok – doctor said my painkiller would wear off in three hours, so should take some paracetemol, as I’ve basically got a burn mark on my back. Despite its many problems, still good to know that the NHS is capable of providing really simple procedures like mole/tag removal for free and without a long wait. Giving that wound time to heal was why I didn't train yesterday.

My left elbow has also been giving me trouble for a while, but I think that’s probably due to my seating position when typing. KPMG has occupational people that should be able to give me some advice on that kind of thing, so I’ll give them a try when I’m next in the office.

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, work presentation last week went fine. The food at the conference centre was also much better than last year, which provided something tasty to look forward to. That same conference has been held in the UK for the past three years, so hopefully next time we’ll get the chance to go to the US. Getting in some BJJ, or maybe even a US throwdown, would be awesome.

Onto training: my regular training partner Chris wasn’t there, which was a shame, so I ended up with a guy I’ve never trained with before. I didn’t catch his name, but he was a fairly muscular looking bloke. Proved to have some useful tips later on.

We started with a single leg takedown from the clinch. Step back with your left, then when they’re put their leg out as they’re pulled towards you, wrap your right leg around that leg, also grabbing their other leg with your same side hand. Drive forward, throwing your free leg out to land in half guard.

If that didn’t work, another single leg option was to step sideways inside their legs, then drop your leading knee to the ground, also wrapping that over their leg (which is behind instead of in front as with the previous example). Again grabbing their other leg, lift it and drive forward, but this time you end up in their closed guard.

Felipe followed that with demonstrating three techniques off an omoplata from the guard. You start with a tight guard, one arm wrapped firmly around their’s, your other arm securing their head. Move the arm round their head to their free arm, then push off their same side hip with your leg, aiming to push the knee past the arm you just grabbed. Keep tight: I repeatedly made the mistake of scooting out, which merely gives your opponent the space to pass.

Having got your knee past, keep pushing off the hip (maintaining your grip on their other arm), until you can bring your other leg over their shoulder and past their near side cheek. That then means your can triangle your legs to secure the grip, then getting a good hold around their back to keep the lock on, shift to the side away from them to flatten your opponent out. To finish, having moved your legs round, move your hips forward until they tap.

If they roll before you can get the omoplata, one option is to grab a leg as they come over, jam your knee past, then wrap up their foot (high by the ankle, or your leverage will be weak) with the back of your arm. Making sure their knee is higher than yours, press for the kneebar.

Finally, you can grab their foot instead as they come over, get a figure four grip and twist for the sub. If they kick your grip away with their other foot, you can still move through into scarf hold or side control.

Class then moved straight into free sparring. I looked around for someone lighter, but ended up with my partner from drilling. As expected, I got good and smashed, mostly sitting under side control or mount. I learned once again that I need to be careful when leaning in or I’m asking to get guillotined. I’m also having a bit of trouble escaping the knee on belly. Everyone who’s done it to me so far has followed up with the same technique, an armbar attempt (just like Colin did back at Birmingham 2). Normally I can defend by just moving round quickly to stop them stepping over, but didn’t work this time.

My next spar was one of my more usual opponents, Christina. She’s stronger and a little bigger than me, but always helpful to roll with because she maintains control, so doesn’t crank anything. Again, I pulled half guard (meant to go for full, but keep ending up with half), struggled for a bit, then found myself under side. I escaped a few times back to half guard, which Christina passed back to side control. That pretty much covers the whole roll: half guard, side control, half guard, side control, along with repeated attempts by Christina to get my arm.

She gave me a useful tip about being under side control, which was that it’s a good idea to touch your elbow and knee together, forming a barrier and making space for your escape. Though I didn’t quite get this against my third and final sparring partner, Joanna, it was a useful to have that to go for. As with Christina, I again ended up shifting from half guard to side control, also spending some time under mount. I began the spar in open guard, so that’s something I need to work: in particular, automatically framing my arms against their armpit and side to prepare for recovering guard.

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