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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

07 December 2007

07/12/2007 - BJJ (Beginners)

Class #108

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Roger Gracie, London, UK - 07/12/2007Beginners

I mentioned previously that the 07:30—08:30 mixed classes were being cancelled after November, but that’s now changed. There was a notice mentioning that they won’t be cancelled, at least not in the immediate future. Good news for all the crazy people that actually want to wake up and train that early. :p

This is my first beginners class since the Open Day, which in turn was my first since the middle of October: I’ve been spending most of my time getting smashed by blue belts, so today was a chance to get smashed by white belts instead. Ability-wise, I’m still way behind everybody in the advanced class, at the bottom of the three/four-stripe whites.

Tonight’s session started off with the scissor sweep. Roger didn’t post on the hip, like I’ve seen before, instead putting the foot on the floor, using that to shrimp and get the shin across the stomach. Also, he gripped the same side arm and collar, rather than the collar opposite to the arm, which is what I’ve been doing. Alita was trying to sweep a little early, before she had my weight up on her leg, which reminded me just how important that step is (though her long legs possibly make this technique a little more awkward for her than a short guy like me).

After then reviewing the kimura from guard, we moved onto guard passage, though Roger put my training partner Alita (a tall girl I’ve not met before, who started in about September so is still pretty new, especially as her shifts at work mean it can be hard to make sessions) with Nick B: my partner was to be Yurek, who is always tough. I couldn’t get anywhere at all in his guard, which was crushingly tight from the off, though it did give me a chance to try that guard break from yesterday (and get caught in the same error, not defending my rear arm).

Underneath I was more comfortable, though still not able to do much beyond defend. I played with open guard as usual, trying for the sit-up and scissor occasionally, but to no avail. I also could have been more forceful in dropping down for a single-leg when he picked me up, but as it was I just kinda flopped towards the floor and got passed.

The following drill is why I still like to make the beginners occasionally: side control escape. Roger showed us the shrimp method for recovering guard, something for which I very much wanted a refresher. One forearm is against their neck, the other pressed by their hip, with your knee tight into their side. To shrimp, make sure you don’t drop that knee away from their side – leave it in place as you push off with the other leg in order to shift the hips. That means that as soon as you make any space (e.g., by bridging then shrimping), you’re already in position to slide that knee through. When you’ve managed to get the knee to the other side, shrimp and bring the other leg into position, recovering guard.

My final spar was from side control, against another person I’ve not met before, Stefan. As with almost everyone else, he was a fair bit bigger, so my woeful top game had no effect at all: I was thrown around from scarf, from side, and even mount at one point. I thought I’d passed, and got my legs in place for mount, but Stefan merely got up, leaving me hanging on in guard. I know I’m small, but my mount must be terrible if its that easy to shake me off! ;)

Underneath, as with guard, I was more comfortable. Stefan left sufficient space that I was able to get the knee through, and at first got to half guard. I was about to keep going, but Roger was watching and said that for this drill, you stop at half guard. In his scarf hold, I tried to bring my leg over to roll him by his head, but couldn’t quite get there: think I need to move my hips more first, and perhaps push more with my arms, forming a frame against his neck.

The second time I got the knee through, that was as far as I got. My knee was by his hip, my other leg flailing about near his other hip, but I couldn’t get the knee all the way through. Stefan was able to crush his weight down in such a way that I couldn’t move my hips to recover guard, leaving me in a sort of open guard.

At some point I must have ripped some skin off my finger near the nail, as I noticed there was some dried blood there after the session. I presume that was from when I had a tight grip on his gi, pressing my elbow into his neck. He tried to pull my hand off, but I was able to cling on: probably got the cut from the abrasive material of either my or his gi. Also serves as a good reminder to better hide my hand, like under his armpit or something (presuming that doesn’t isolate my elbow and open me up to other attacks).

Should be training again tomorrow, after going to see my niece again with the rest of the family. Then its off to Lorenzo and Christina’s xmas party, though I might not be able to stay that long, as I need to get back up to Brum that night to look after the guinea pig. Fast train from Euston should give me at least a couple of hours at the party.

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