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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

22 November 2007

22/11/2007 - BJJ (No-Gi)

Class #104

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 22/11/2007No-Gi

As ever, Jude ran a fitness intensive class today. The warm-up was fairly continuous, with bear crawls (not sure if I’m doing them right, but appear to be walking on all fours with your bum in the air), shrimping and the like, with a few double-legs thrown in for good measure. That bear crawl would prove to be of importance to the first and, like yesterday, only technique: single leg takedown.

The variation this time was a bit different. You start by dropping your right knee, also putting your right hand to the floor. Reaching for their leg with your other arm, you switch to the other knee, swivelling round and forward. Having secured that grip, your first hand grabs their ankle, finishing by lifting up their leg and taking them down.

Next, Jude got us to do a drill where the first person goes for the leg, but their partner steps round. This is where the bear crawl comes in, as you have to move round in a bear crawl motion to keep near the leg, trying to use your head and shoulder to secure it, until you can get the grip from the earlier technique demonstration.

Finally, one person started off by having both arms around a leg, aiming to take them down (pulling guard was not allowed). Their partner tries to turn them over, for which Jude suggested getting an arm under their neck, grabbing an ankle with the other arm, then driving forward to move into side control. My partner was again the big Polish guy from yesterday, but he went fairly easy on me. I was heartened to hear his response to my comment that I wasn’t going to be able to provide him with much of a challenge: “meh, its only training, not a competition”. Music to my ears. :D

Sparring kicked off with guard passage, where I spent most of my time trying, not entirely successfully, to avoid getting guillotined by Christina. I keep coming in with my head too low, something I need to keep an eye on. When in her guard, I also had no idea what to do in order to pass. Trying the old tailbone break was even less productive in no-gi, so I also attempted to give the open guard pass from a few lessons back a go. I’m still nowhere near getting it, but if I can steadily improve then it will at least provide me with another option. At the moment, I’m failing to secure the hip, so that’s the first thing I need to work at.

Free sparring began with Leo. His game is probably the kind of style I should be learning from, as he’s comparatively small like me, but stays extremely mobile while keeping tight to his opponent. I went for an armdrag for a change, though not knowing what I was doing, didn’t get me anywhere: still, better than my usual ‘tactic’ or either letting them sit on me, or pushing forward only to be swept and then sat on. While in his guard, Leo also got me with what I think was a kimura or something, but I didn’t realise that would function while I was still fairly square on.

I then found myself paired me up with the aforementioned Pole. He’s pretty beefy, so I was a little apprehensive, but again he toned it down, which was cool. However, even when going easy, he still gave me a good squashing, and despite him letting me get guard, I couldn’t do anything with it. He also tried some acrobatic mid-air spin to move into side control, which worked the first time, but I was able to push him backwards on his second attempt.

All that enthusiasm (on his part, at least) resulted in us traversing plenty of mat, and that resulted in the back of my head cracking into Oli, which was shortly followed by my face colliding with the Pole’s knee. I finished off that spar, but decided that I’d better have a sit down before trying again. I’ve had concussion before, but wasn’t certain in this case if the heavy feeling towards the front of my head was a sign my brain had taken a bashing, or just my cheek feeling sore. Either way, I ended up resting for the next three spars, going light with Christina for the last round.

As last week, Jude wasn’t going to let that be the end of our exertions. Repeated sprawling, squat thrusts and even Jackie Chan-esque hanging sit-ups (which I struggled with, both as the support and the person trying to lift their body up) drew the session to an end.

I’m considering doing the Friday beginners class, as my gf is off in Cheltenham that night, but will see how I feel. I guess it would at least make for a change to get my arse kicked by white belts rather than blues. ;D

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