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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

01 November 2007

01/11/2007 - BJJ (No-Gi)

Class #100

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 01/11/2007No-Gi

Unusually, Jude took the no-gi class today: that could be the start of a new trend, as I think I heard him say something about taking over a lot of Felipe’s classes for a while, because Felipe is doing an Open University degree (always good to see people getting back into education :D).

Unlike yesterday, there was lots of technique to go through. Jude started off with the single leg takedown we did a while back in a beginners class, also showing a variation if they resist. As you go for the single leg and they maintain their balance, shift your grip and stand up, so that you’ve got both arms underneath their leg. Then change the near hand (so the one further from their foot) to go round their waist, and finally sweep their lone leg with your same side foot, dropping them straight to the ground.

He then moved on to the guillotine from guard. Your hand dives around their head, palm up, with the forearm right into their neck, aiming to grab your own stomach or far side. Then use your other hand to grip round the wrist, making a tight hold, finally twisting your torso towards the knee on the same side as your first gripping arm. The choke comes from this swivelling motion rather than squeezing madly on their neck.

Another option is to do a guillotine from open guard. This time, one leg comes in underneath and against their stomach (a bit like the scissor sweep), while the other goes around their back. Using the same guillotine grip as before, twist towards the bottom leg for the sub. Jude showed it from your opponent attempting to escape side control by coming to their knees, whereupon you get under their neck, adjust for the guillotine grip, shoving your hips forward and then dropping back into the open guard.

Finally on the technical side, Jude showed us some escapes from the guillotine, noting that to free yourself from that particular submission can be both difficult and painful. The first option was if you hand an arm free: get that across their neck. Then bring up the same knee to whichever side your head is on, sprawling back with your legs and driving with your shoulder to put maximum pressure on their chest. Reach back to remove their arm, which should loosen as you drop your weight on them.

If your arm isn’t free, reach around their back instead. Push your head to the floor and drive forward, again thrusting your shoulder into their chest. This should also serve to loosen their grip until you can extricate yourself from the guillotine.

Like yesterday, I again found myself doing a lot of sparring. I started off with my drilling partner, Leo, who’s roughly my size, if rather stronger. He went pretty light, so I tried playing with guard and seeing if I could get any sweeps. While I could occasionally work my legs into position for an elevator, I couldn’t work out how to bring Leo forward: not having the usual grips made my sweeps even crapper than usual. I probably should have had a try at the sit-up, although I can’t remember if Leo sat back at any point.

I haven’t sparred Ben for a while, so had a roll with him after Leo. As always happens when I spar Ben, I found myself at the receiving end of armbars: I almost thought I might be able to bend my arm round the knee and escape, but Ben got my arm back too quick. He also put me in a triangle which I again felt I might have been able to get out of, as I had both arms in, but was squished into my own forearm. There was no chance I’d be able to resist the power of both Ben’s legs and his arms pulling my head down, so soon tapped.

I also found it tough under Ben’s side control, where I couldn’t make any space, and in addition failed to get my far leg over to try for half guard. That heel drag step over thing didn’t work under mount either: still, I’d like to work that technique more, as after all I’ve currently just been going off something I saw Johannes do at Belfast. Yet another thing I could ask an instructor next time I get the chance.

Next up was Christina, under whom I spent some time squished in side control, and also in her guard. I tried the elbows to hips tip she mentioned yesterday to avoid armbars, which seemed to help. I had no clue how to pass, as again, my passes are poor with a gi, so became even more useless without the grips. I tried to curl into a ball to maintain open guard, and also see if I could trap a leg to pass, but without much success. I need to shrimp more and perhaps keep my knees tighter when they’re trying to pass and give me enough space, as that could then lead to recovering my guard.

I was ready to sit out at this point, but Jude dragged me up to spar. The opportunity to roll with a black belt was a nice way to celebrate my hundredth lesson, and as you’d expect, Jude took it very easy and coached me through some escapes and submissions (like the kimura from guard). This again emphasised that I absolutely must shrimp more, with one of the few proactive things I did being that step over to half guard. As soon as I get that, I need to shrimp towards the trapped leg and then get my other leg into position for recovering guard.

Under Jude’s side control I felt pretty helpless, even though he was going light: I tried to bridge and make some space, but clearly I’ve got lots of work to do on effective bridging. In general I continue to move too slowly after bridging – I need to use that moment of imbalance on their part to shrimp. At the moment, I’m just sliding up, which isn’t helping to prepare my escape.

Annoyingly, I couldn’t find my gumshield before the session, so hopefully I haven’t lost that: will have to check at home. Final piece of news is that there is an academy Open Day on November 17th from 13:00-15:00, which is meant to be a chance for us to all bring down our family and friends to try out BJJ. My gf is away that day, so technically I could try and get some people down, but that depends firstly on if anyone would be up for it and secondly how far I’ve got with my updated writing (for which I’ll be having a meeting on the 20th, so possible that they'll ask for it before the 17th anyway).

That Compeed plaster fell off at some point during the training, but not sure exactly when. So, would appear it can only handle one and a bit training sessions, unless it fell off right at the end. Four more of them to go, which I can but hope will be enough for the burn mark to heal up.


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