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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

28 November 2007

28/11/2007 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #105

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Roger Gracie, London, UK - 28/11/2007Advanced

Big family news in that my niece arrived on the 23rd, shortly before midnight. I could possibly have trained the Friday class, but was feeling kinda tired, completely ruling it out once I got a message from my sister that she was heading off to the hospital. My parents, my brother and I went to see her, the new baby and her husband in London the next day: they all looked good and healthy, and judging by the Facebook pics, she’s now at home. Will be popping round after work on Friday: first baby from this generation of our family, so exciting stuff for us. :D

Class was taken by Roger again, which seems to be a regular thing in the past few weeks. Again there was plenty of focus on throws to start off with, and to my pleasure I was able to work with Dominique again: hadn’t seen her and her partner Gary for a while (well, they were at the open day, but didn’t get to train with them), so that was cool. We went through some kind of variation on that throw where you spin into them and come under the arm, as in this case you pull down on their gi first. I’m still not keen on throws and stand-up, but if I ever want to compete on a more regular basis (something I’m not entirely sure I want to do), its unavoidable.

Sparring started with a bit of guard passage from a line-up, which initially went fairly fast. I had trouble removing Nick G’s grip on my sleeve, who made short work of me (not exactly surprising for a powerful brown belt), as did most of the other people I sparred. Things slowed down a little against a blue belt I don’t think I’ve sparred before, against whom I remained defensive as usual, but held him off for a while. I’m not sure if he was going easy on me (people normally do), but I was able to block his attempts to slip round for a collar choke, and kept posturing up or bringing my elbows to my knees to try and prevent submission attempts. He eventually got me in an armbar after I tried to escape his triangle. I need to get better at working back to an upright position, and just generally be more active in passing guard. My passing is still really poor, so I’m pretty much waiting to be swept or submitted.

Finally I went up against Dominique, who I haven’t rolled with in a long time. Again, I stayed pretty defensive, most of the spar revolving around her attempts to cross choke. I remembered something I think both Alex and Christina have said to me before, which is simply squeeze the arms together if somebody is going for that sub. Half-worked on this occasion, as it released the pressure from the choke, but left me wrapping up Dominique's arm without really doing anything else. I kept trying to work my arm back and get in position for a stack pass, or drive my hip back into her ankles, but to no avail.

She switched to go for armbars and triangles, but I was able to get my arm behind her knee and defend. The second time, I started jerking my arm out, and then finally moved round to pass. I should have raise up more to do so, and Dominique possibly could have recovered guard, as I most likely left plenty of space when passing round. So again, I need to be more proactive on top in guard. That tailbone break continues to get me nowhere, so I should try standing up more and being careful of my posture: I did attempt standing at one point, but then fell back down almost immediately afterwards.

Roger followed up the sparring with the solitary technique of the session, armbar from mount. This was done slightly different than the way I’ve seen before, as this time there was a leg involved. Starting from mount, you move your knee up to their head, on the same side as the arm you want to attack. Slide your arm underneath their’s as normal (they have they arms locked together), then keeping your other knee tight, switch arms – grabbing your own lapel to secure the grip - so that you have an arm free to wrap up their leg (whichever arm is nearer). Fall back, still gripping the leg and arm, then push with your leg to loosen their hold. Once its going and you’ve driven them sufficiently downwards, bring your other leg over their head, let go of their leg and apply the submission.

I had some problems staying tight with my far knee as I was coming round to drop back. I’ll need to concentrate on keep that in close so as not to leave space, as otherwise my partner can easily escape. Also not quite sure I have the technique down properly, although Dominique said it looked as though it was right (can be hard to tell from that position, though).

There was an opportunity to test that armbar, as we then did specific sparring from mount. As ever, I tried to get to half guard: I thought Dominique was going to go for an Americana, but I think my arm was sufficiently tucked to prevent it (not sure though). I did eventually find myself with my head on the same side as the trapped leg, so started to try and take her back, but time ran out. I’m not certain I would have got it even given longer, but I was at least in position.

On top, I was as bad as usual. Again time ran out, but I’d completely lost my position by that point, having almost been swivelled right back into guard, instead ending up in half-guard. I tried to isolate the arm for an Americana, but Dominique had a solid grip with her other arm. Trying to put into practice what Connor told me last time I was on top in half-guard, I brought my heel right up to her bum, but still wasn’t quite able to free myself. Next time, I should also try to use the other foot to push their knee away, something I always forget to attempt.

Free sparring was a little unusual in that, presumably because it was such a big class, Roger picked out partners for us. I wasn’t selected the first time round, but on the second occasion, I was paired up with Grant. I had expected to be with Dominique or one of the other girls, but I guess Roger was going by rank to start with (though Grant is a much better 4 stripe white than I am – hopefully due his blue soon). I took a good beating under side control and mount, again finding it hard to make space or get the heel drag (which I’ve been calling a step over: I think heel drag is the right term for pulling their heel into half guard). I think he got me in some submission or other, but I was at least able to resist the cross choke from mount. I rolled over into his guard, and tried to then squeeze his arms together, as he still had the choke on. He may well have got the sub if time hadn’t run out, which made me think that I may have only escaped Dominique’s attempt through force rather than technique.

Finally, I was paired up with Joanna, against whom I had a fairly similar roll to the last time we sparred. Again I tried to work my open guard, with particular focus on grabbing a leg and getting my knee into her stomach to prevent her passing. That wasn’t entirely successful, as she got through to side control without too much trouble. I did find that it was easier to get my knee back in than against Grant, but that was probably due to the weight difference, or that Joanna was simply going easier on me.

I also keep failing to do the basic open guard pass where you control both their legs, push them to one side and move round. Joanna reminded me of the technique, but I still wasn’t able to apply it properly. Also something I definitely need to work on, instead of my usual passive position in which I hang back: I should initiate in that situation rather than wait to react (which in practice tends to mean “wait to be swept”).

Should be training again, as although I got my face scraped by a gi and my arm was a little sore from that armbar earlier, I don’t think I got any major knocks.

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