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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

18 December 2007

18/12/2007 - BJJ (Beginners)

Class #110

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 18/12/2007Beginner

Looks like I’m getting a round of colds yet again this Winter, meaning that last week I only made the one session. On the other hand, that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, as I had a whole bunch of bureaucratic things to sort out on Thursday night. Cold or not this Thursday, I probably won’t make the nogi again, as it’s the departmental xmas meal: managers buy all the drinks, meaning that training is unlikely to be a good idea (I’ll bring my training gear along just in case, but I don’t expect to make it to class that night).

Term has finished now, so I can try and make Tuesday sessions until it starts up in the second week of January. Of course in practice that merely means I have the option of this Tuesday, as the other two are taken up by christmas and New Year respectively. Going by last time, the academy should be open at the start of January, but will have to wait and see.

Tonight’s class kicked off with the Americana from side control, for which Jude mentioned a few useful tips I either haven’t heard before or don’t remember. Start by lifting up the elbow they have near your leg, switch base and come in close underneath, so they can’t use that to defend. Grab the bicep of their far arm, digging your elbow into their side. Push your shoulder forward on the same side as the forearm they have pressing into your neck: that should make space to slip your other arm by your chest and onto their wrist. You can then push their arm to the floor, elbow close to their head, with your other hand already in position to make a figure four grip, finishing with the Americana by raising up their elbow.

I’m not sure I quite did the pushing their arm to the floor part right, so will have to work on making space with the shoulder and pressing down. Getting that arm off my gi tends to be the point of difficulty for me when attempting an Americana for side control, so hopefully the tip about the shoulder will help.

Jude then mentioned another slight variation for trapping their other arm, which is to bring your leg around to lock it in place. If they’re resisting, that should make it easier, though again I’m not completely sure I understand that bit correctly.

I had a fairly relaxed spar with my partner Steve, doing guard passage. That’s because this was only his second class, so I was trying to help him out with advice: e.g., go for the cross-choke when I’m in his guard, stand up to pass and break my guard etc. Hopefully it was of some use to him. At the same time, even though he’s a recent beginner, I still had trouble opening his guard, so must remember to try standing up more myself.

Underneath, I went for triangles to let him know to be careful of his arms (having just started BJJ, he only knew the one guard pass, where you bring your arm underneath the leg). My triangles are terrible, and I doubt I could have locked it on fully, but it did at least point out where he needs to be careful. Also reminds me that my submissions remain non-existent.

Changing partners, I was about to spar with a friendly looking bearded guy with glasses, but Jude stopped me. Turns out Jude was doing me a favour, as judging by a throwing exercise later on, that guy is rather intense. He was slamming his partner all over the mat, occasionally face first (poor guy had to go get some ice after class). If he’s that aggressive during drilling, I dread to think what happens during rolling!

So thanks to Jude, I instead ended up with a much less injurious sparring partner, Radek (not the blonde guy I haven’t seen in a while, but another Pole with the same name, bit stockier and less hair). On top, I waited for him to make a move, as he had a tendency to open up his legs, giving me the opportunity to pin one with a knee and pass to side control. I got that a couple of times, although I need to remember to use my hips like Leo recommended a while back (if they have their arms in the way, jerk your hip forward to either knock their wrist out of the way, or gradually stutter through to side control).

In guard, I managed to get the sit-up sweep, but that mainly only works against less experienced people who aren’t expecting it. That proved to be the only sweep I got, spending most of the spar in open guard, trying for scissor, elevator and flower sweeps. Didn’t get close with any of them, though I did get in position to try transitioning to an armbar a few times (which I didn’t get either, but at least had a chance to attempt stringing a few techniques together). I was able to keep my knees close to him, so prevented the pass, though then again he’s both a beginner and was probably getting tired from trying to use a fair bit of strength.

We went through the Americana from side control again after sparring, which was useful as I can always do with more drilling, followed by Americana from mount, then finished up with some exercises as usual (push-ups etc). I felt ok after class, so hopefully I’ll be training again tomorrow, but will have to see how I feel in the morning. Should really get in another advanced if I can, as the last three classes I’ve done have all been beginners.

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