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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

19 December 2007

19/12/2007 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #111

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 19/12/2007Advanced

Tonight’s class followed the same pattern as the advanced class I’d watched yesterday (having attended the beginners later on). That meant submission escapes, specifically the armbar and triangle.

I was pleased to see two people there I haven’t often had a chance to train with recently, Dominique and Herman. Pairing up with Dominique for the drilling, we started off with the armbar escape. This was the same basic technique as I’d seen some time ago in the beginners, but as usual Jude had some further tips. Firstly, he emphasised the importance of getting your rear foot (which will be on the same side as the trapped arm) right in close to their bum, your other knee by their head. Having grabbed your free arm’s biceps (I normally always put that as bicep, but apparently the correct term is biceps, rather than that being a plural) with your trapped arm’s hand, dig the elbow of your free arm into their chest. Dominique noted that made a noticeable difference, as it put some pressure on the attacker. To finish, jerk your arm out, then push through the legs and go to side control.

Next up was the triangle escape, which I haven’t been shown before in class (although Oli has mentioned the ‘push the knee down’ principle to me before). Grab their knee and drive it to the floor. Come up on your feet (in a sort of high sprawl position), holding the knee in place, then drive with your shoulder to make space. Once your can get you hand through, slip that in, then immediately bring your arms round both legs, ready for a stack pass.

I had some trouble breaking the grip of the legs in the way Jude showed, tending instead to just be able to make enough space to get a hand through rather than knocking the legs apart. However, totally pointless to do the technique wrong in drilling, so will have to work harder on that one to get it right: I asked Jude over to help with the technique, and he clarified that it was holding the knee in place and driving with the one shoulder forward.

In an instance of keeping to the Matt Thornton three I’s, we move on from Introduce to Isolate, starting in an armbar from which the other person then had to escape. This was a higher resistance drill than normal, as both partners were struggling to either escape, submit or sweep. With the armbar, neither Dominique or I had too many problems, but the triangle escape caused a few more difficulties. I found that it was initially possible to roll into a mounted triangle, but later on Dominique seemed to do something a little different and was able to break my hold more forcefully. As in drilling, my sticking point was breaking the hold in the way Jude demonstrated, so need to focus on driving through. However, having said that neither of us was in danger of tapping, so we both have it down enough to at least get into a stalemate.

Sparring was good today. I began with Dominique, with both of us trying to pull guard initially, with me eventually ending up in side control then mount. I had Dominique’s arm vaguely between my legs, so was trying to think if there was any kind of sub I could go for (like an armbar, or that step over thing) I learned from Johannes - its in the vid with Waki, about a minute in), but nothing came to mind. I went for mount instead, which I clung to for a while, then found myself slowly slipping round into guard.

Time ran out, but as we chatted for a moment after sparring exchanging thoughts on the spar, everyone else had already grabbed new partners. I wasn’t feeling too knackered by this point, so we decided to go again. The spar went in a similar fashion, but this time I managed to stay on top. I didn’t get to mount, instead finding myself in half-guard. Remembering what Connor had said last time I rolled with him, I attempted to use my leg to prise my leg free, but couldn’t quite get it. However, I noticed that Dominique had her arm loose, so took the opportunity to go for the Americana. I don’t think Dom was resisting all that much once she saw I’d got the figure four, and its not common that the arm is free like that, but still nice to get.

Very unusually for me, I then went straight into a third spar without a break, this time against Herman. I swivelled to my familiar position of guard, having been swept from butterfly (Herman mentioned he’d been wanting to go for that and was pleased to have got it). I also found I was able to switch from half to closed guard a few times, keeping my legs in tight around Herman. In addition, like with Dominique, I tried to be more offensive than usual, going for armbars, chokes and in particular, the kimura. I dangled in the armbar position a few times, but wasn’t able to isolate the arm, and the same thing happened with the kimura (almost had the grip I wanted on a couple of occasions, but couldn’t get into position to bring my leg over his back and tug the arm free).

After a round sitting out, I went with Oli (I had been aiming for Leo, but gave way to another blue belt who was looking to spar him). Oli is always good to spar with, as he takes an instructional approach: I’m fairly certain he was going relatively easy on me. That meant I was able to work my defence, as normally happens against the higher belts, generally ending up underneath either side control or mount, working towards half guard. Normally I step over my leg and their leg to go for the heel drag (literally using my heel to lift up their foot, then locking in my half guard), but this time had a go and lifting the foot up without stepping over, then attempting half guard. That seemed to work a couple of times, though again I’m guessing Oli wasn’t going all out: either way, he didn’t have too much trouble pushing back into mount, whereupon I’d start bridging repeated and trying to get my knee through.

Eventually, I think from half guard, I managed to roll into his guard, where I soon found myself getting sucked into a triangle (or some other choke: one hand was creeping up behind me). I tried to keep my elbows in and base solid, though that was made more difficult when Oli dragged my arm underneath his (I ended up gripping his back with that hand as a result, which I’m not sure is the best thing to do in that situation). After much wriggling and attempts to posture up, I eventually got my arm free and back up to a more neutral position, but again I’m assuming Oli wasn’t slamming on the triangle as forcefully as he could have.

Good learning experience as always, and reminded me that from side control, I need to remember not just to lie there with a leg crossed over, but to actively shove that knee into their knee, raising up, and getting in position to slip it straight underneath to try and recover guard (rather than leaving it static on my other leg). Generally being more offensive helped to make for greater proactivity on my part overall, though my subs are still very sloppy (especially the armbar, where every time I end up hanging there, normally giving up and returning to guard before they pass. Maybe I should try harder for it?).

Probably won't be training tomorrow, as I'm assuming I'll be too drunk, but we'll see.


  1. Hey Can,
    Good to read that ur training is progressing. You can see the difference (in mental approach) from when u was a begginer to ur current level. Keep it up dude. C u out on the matt man in 2008!

  2. Cheers, T: I've got a long way to progress, so hopefully I'll have a good 2008 on the mats! :D