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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

24 January 2008

24/01/2008 - BJJ (Beginners)

Class #115

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 24/01/2008Beginner

If, like me, a worryingly significant proportion of your DVDs are made up of 80s cartoons, then check out this site. My current main nostalgia trip has been Thundercats, which aside from having an awesome logo also had some of the most magnificently illogical recurring plot points (like the Thundercats can happily float unaided in the vacuum of space, as well as reaching absolutely ANYWHERE – even the centre of the planet – in a matter of seconds after seeing the old Thundersignal). I don't care: remains a great cartoon! Be sure to have a look at the Memorabilia bit (loads of stuff in there), especially the 'other clips'.

I'm still not feeling quite right: this is probably yet another reminder that I really need to get my diet in order (which currently is total crap, mostly consisting of cheese sandwiches and cereal). Not to mention failing to get eight hours sleep when I'm in Bucks. So, that needs to change, although I've been telling myself that for years.

So I was hoping to take it easy tonight, following on from above whining. Surprisingly enough, class wasn't too intense, which is normally almost a guarantee with Jude. We worked escapes from scarf hold for most of it, then finished off with a comparatively brief bit of specific sparring, working guard passage.

The first scarf hold escape was the one I'm most familiar with. First, move your legs close to them, then drive your trapped elbow to the ground. With the hand of that same elbow, grab their biceps (something I've not been doing up until now), then bring the other forearm round and press it into their neck. Take your hand off their biceps and push it into your other wrist, making a frame to shove their head back.

While you're grinding into their neck, move your legs towards their head. Combined with your arms, that should put you in position to bring your legs up and over, grabbing their head (make sure to lock your legs together). Roll them over onto their side, immediately stepping your leg over and bringing it tight to their stomach. To free your head (presuming they've maintained their hold, which in drilling people sometimes forget – bad habit to get used to, as in sparring people don't tend to be so accommodating), again make a frame on their neck and push off that, driving your head and body forward rather than straight up. Finally, that should leave them open to an armbar, so step over their head, secure the arm, squeeze your knees and go for the sub.

I find the other variation on the scarf hold escape much more difficult. It starts similar to the previous example, but this time, their pressing their head into yours and preventing you getting that forearm into their neck. So instead, grip your hands together and drive a fist into their floating rib. That should cause them to raise up: your leg comes in underneath, then roll them over your body, leaving you on top.

The problem I have is getting the right position on the rib. Invariably I'm not pressing in the right place, meaning that if I then try to pull them over, it’s a matter of straining with my meagre muscle power: unless my opponent is significantly smaller than me, that's never going to get me anywhere. Jude did come over and demonstrate, but I'm still having difficult with the technique.

This was driven home when we then did some resistance training, where one person holds the other down in scarf hold so they can try the technique. I struggled to get Herman off me with the second technique, and even with the first I found I was sometimes prematurely bringing the legs over to roll him, meaning that again I was straining because I hadn't got into the proper position first.

Class ended with guard passage – Herman is lighter than he used to be, so instead of being 70 something kilos, he's now around my weight (about 65kg). I've been looking through the scissor sweep section of Beneville's The Guard, so wanted to give that a go. In particular, Beneville emphasises bringing your torso off centre in comparison to your opponent's, so effectively your moving your body at a slight angle. I gave this a go, but think I again forgot another essential component of a scissor, which is bringing them in close to lift them off their base.

I was able to retain my guard, though, trying to hook Herman's legs, which put me in butterfly guard. When Herman back away, I tried keeping my legs in contact with his: I had read some single leg sweeps in the bonus material for The Guard that's up on Beneville's website, but couldn't quite remember it. However, I somehow ended up in side anyway after Herman went down into my half-guard. I attempted taking the back earlier, but that didn't work. So, managed a reversal, but not sure how useful that is when I'm not certain how I got there.

On top, I sat with my knee pressed into Herman's tailbone as usual, and after a bit of a struggle, I eventually managed to push my knee through. I almost got swept at that point, but held my balance and ended on top in half-guard. I tried bringing my foot in tight to his tailbone and pressing forward, but time ran out before either of us was able to do anything (though I certainly wasn't on the verge of passing or anything).

Hopefully train again tomorrow, when I really want to make the advanced class for the first time this year, but will have to see how I feel. Beginners would still be better than not training.

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