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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

29 November 2007

29/11/2007 - BJJ (No-Gi)

Class #106

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 29/11/2007No-Gi

Quick note on links: Jude’s EFN site is now using a new url, so everything that used to be under is now going to be replaced with That goes for the main site, the forum, the video blog etc (as per links on the left).

Lost my damn gum shield yet again yesterday (definitely put it in my bag, so must have fallen out somewhere at home): tried to pick a new one up before class, but the one shop near my office that might have sold them is about to become a smoothie bar. Grr. So I’ll have to buy a new one in Brum (unless my gf has two?), whether I find the old gum shield or not: this keeps happening, so it would be useful to have a spare.

I was a bit uncertain about training tonight, as the tricep on my left arm has been acting up since training yesterday, along with my right leg (not quite sure how that happened). Decided to go along in the end, and was glad I did due to the decent number of smaller people training today (like Sehyun, who moved up to the advanced recently).

After going through the throws, Jude showed us a butterfly guard sweep, which despite being introduced as a basic technique was not something I’d seen demonstrated before. In butterfly guard (where you have your shins inside their legs), you get a firm overhook on one of their arms. Sit up into them, grabbing their other hand, then shrimp slightly out to one side. Your knee should be pressed up against their side, your foot braced firmly against the inside of their leg. Leaning right back, raise them towards you with that foot, then push your knee into their side, at the same time (and with the same leg) pressing against their inside leg with your shin. Roll to the other side, ending up in mount.

Next up was a mount escape, leading to a leg lock. Heel hooks have been banned since 2002, apparently, so it was important that this was a straight leg lock (if I understood correctly). But that’s getting ahead of myself: first thing you need to do is bump them towards you with one knee. Brace their weight with your arms against your hips, then use the space to bring your leg through (as soon as the leg you bumped them with hits the floor, shrimp).

The knee you’ve brought through goes to the left, while you swivel round to the right (for the sake of this example). Once you’re in position, your knee comes up tight against their left leg, while you bring your right leg around the other side, pushing on their hip with their foot to stretch them out. Your forearm then loops right round the back of their ankle, moving into a figure-four grip. Finally, sit up slightly and arch your back to apply the sub.

As tends to happen with these leg locks, I had trouble getting the sub on. I think the main problem was that I hadn’t got my arm through far enough, which Jude corrected as he went round the class.

Finally, Jude added a slight variation if they try to roll out of the lock. Keep your hold on their ankle, then effectively sit on their leg (so you’re facing away from them), bringing one of your own legs across the back of their knee, again figure-fouring the ankle.

Guard passage with Christina was a little more active than normal, as I tried to be offensive. She maintained solid pressure on my hips, so I spent most of the time swimming underneath her arms trying to knock them off my hips (by coming under with my arm and pushing out). I had a go at the sit-up sweep a few times, but her base was too solid: I need to work harder at breaking down their posture before I attempt to sweep.

In her guard, things were much the same as usual, as I stayed defensive, trying to ward off her attempts at submission. She was working towards a triangle, but we had to pause due to coming precariously close to the edge of the mat. The second time, I was just about able to defend by keeping my elbows in tight and pushing. I also had a go at getting the double underhooks and going for a stack pass, but time run out (though I’m pretty sure Christina would have been able to recover guard).

My first free spar was with Joanna, who was definitely going easy on me today. I especially noticed that when in guard, as she pretty much let me attempt things. Not that I was able to do much – as that tends to be the position I spend most of my sparring working towards, I often draw a blank when I actually find myself there.

I played with open guard again, trying to keep her from passing. I was generally able to recover my guard, though that’s mitigated by her holding back. At another point, she stood up in my guard, so I climbed up after her, then tried dropping to a single leg, which knocked her down, but I wasn’t able to move round to side control. She eventually secured a solid side control on me, which gave me the opportunity to try and bridge more forcefully than I have been in the past. However, I’m still not managing to shrimp immediately after making space from bridging, which is the main thing I want to improve at the moment.

I sat out the next one, and what turned out to be my final spar was with Sehyun. Having chatted to him just before, I think his main experience is with hapkido and TKD, though he’s also got a year of judo and a brief bit of BJJ back in Korea. Whatever he did, it seems to have helped: he’s quick, flexible and aggressive, and I found him just as much of a challenge as he’d been in the beginners class. He quickly got me in a guillotine, which reminds me yet again to take care with my head position when driving forwards. I started to attempt the escape, but he had it cinched in way too tight.

After that, the spar was a little more even. I swivelled around trying to maintain my guard, then once he passed found myself in various strange positions under side control. First I ended up in that random triangle position, so thought I might as well go for it: however, I don’t think I had my legs in quite the right place, so after squeezing for a bit, tried switching to an armbar, which didn’t work either. Still, good to try, and also great to have somebody else in the advanced class who’s slightly smaller than me, but higher skill level (normally I’d rely on Aika for that, but she’s been off for a while, I think with an injury).

The RGA christmas thing is currently set for the 15th December, which I can hopefully make. I’ve got a different party to go to at the mo, but might be able to skip it in favour of RGA. Will have to see: always good to socialise with people from the club, as it makes training infinitely more enjoyable.

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