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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

17 November 2007

17/11/2007 - BJJ (RGA Open Day)

Class #102

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Roger Gracie, London, UK - 17/11/2007RGA Open Day

Kate didn’t show in the end, but George did: I had all three of my gis with me, so was prepared in either case. Was great to catch up with George, as its been a while since we’ve had a proper talk (as rather obviously demonstrated by the fact I didn’t know he’d gotten engaged some time ago!), and especially as he’s one of the few poetry people I know.

The Open Day also gave me a chance to chat to several people I’ve not seen in ages, because either I or they aren’t making the same days. This was the first time I’d seen Owen since he got his blue a while back, though still haven’t seen Liam. Indra was there too – feels like a long time since I last saw her, and IIRC she’s just come off an injury or something like that (busy at work, maybe?). Also the first time in a little while I’d seen Gary and Dominique, who both got their blue (this week, I think), which is cool. I’m still a long way off deserving one myself, not to mention I like having the white belt buffer (at least until I finally start to feel I’m getting the basics down): acts in much the same way as an ‘L’ plate on a car. :D

A lot of people had clearly brought friends, as the room was looking full. I wasn’t sure how that would translate to mat space, but in the end worked out ok: I didn’t feel especially cramped when going through the drills with George. Not quite sure when exactly the class itself started, but after a brief introduction from Roger, the class went through the usual warm-up. We didn’t do shrimping or anything like that up and down the room, but that’s unsurprising given the numbers.

Roger kicked off with a head throw (need to check the proper judo term for that), though stopping short of actually throwing. He then moved on to a basic guard pass under the leg, which I haven’t done since July: useful to recap. Posture up, then raise up one leg. Reach behind and dig into the space by their crossed over feet with your hand, until you can pop that open with your elbow. Once you’ve broken the guard, immediately shove your shoulder into the back of their knee, as low as you can. Grab onto their gi (the hand between the legs grabs one collar, while the other hand comes around and grabs the far collar. Bring your elbow in tight when you do this, to lock the position). Drive forward hard, aiming to shove their knee right into their face, keeping your weight down (on your toes, hips down). Start moving round, until you can shrug their leg of your shoulder (rather than raising up your head and giving them space). Slide past and into side control.

That was followed by the basic transition from side control to mount. Switch base (so that you’re facing their knees), bringing your far knee underneath your other leg, close to their hips, while your near leg comes up. Maintain downwards pressure with your knee and stay tight. Push on their knee to make space, then bring your leg over the top as quickly as possible, moving through into mount.

Finally, Roger demonstrated the Americana from mount. I think the class took up at least the whole hour, particularly as given all the completely new people, the techniques were shown slowly, and we spent much longer than normal drilling (unless it just felt longer?). The best way to learn something is to teach somebody else how to do it, so I’m glad we all had a chance to act as mini-instructors to the friends we’d brought along.

No sparring, as there simply wasn’t enough space, so the class finished with another short talk from Roger thanking people for coming, and then a group photo. I keep missing out of these, so nice to make it onto one at last. I love photos, so looking forward to seeing how these come out.

There was an advanced class straight after, but I decided against it because not only was I being lazy, but needed to show George the way to the station, and I also had to get back to Birmingham to look after the guinea pig. No, really: my gf is in Bristol this weekend, so the pig needs someone to give her a run, feed her etc. ;D

Should be training again next week: hopefully I’ll make the Wednesday this time, as I handed in my latest bit of writing on Friday, but will have to see.


  1. Hey Can,
    I've come across the letters IIRC quite regulary in your bloggs, what does it mean/stand for?

  2. Heh - yeah, I'm prone to geekspeak abbreviations occasionally, due to lots of forum-going.

    IIRC = If I Recall/Remember Correctly

  3. uh huh. Cool.