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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

31 January 2008

31/01/2008 - BJJ (Beginners)

Class #118

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Gustavo Dos Santos Pires & Luciano Cristovam, London, UK - 31/01/2008Beginner

Beginners was a significantly larger class than no-gi, where there were only about ten of us. Gustavo was teaching through Luciano's translation again, and as before started off with some self-defence, both against bear hugs.

First, the escape from a front bear hug. The person in front of you has wrapped your arms against your side. Put your hands into their hips, push, and shove your hips back to make space. Shift your hand around their back, the other gripping their arm, then step in front. Dip, thrust your hip into them, then pick them up, in the same manner as for a hip throw.

Escaping a rear bear hug is a little different. A person behind you has now wrapped up your arms. Bend your arms straight up, drop, twist, then step a leg behind. Grab the back of their knees (going round the front), then lift them up. From there you could dump them on the floor, or end in side control.

Finally, we did a spider guard sweep. As they step round, your shin is against the leg they're leading with, while your other leg is shove straight into their bicep. You also pull them down on their leading side with your arm (like the last time I had a lesson with Gustavo). From this position, you can use their momentum to sweep: grab their rear leg at the bottom of their gi pants, bend your previously straight leg, then pull them down with your other hand. Simultaneously push with your bicep leg and the other shin, levering them over you and onto their back. Maintain your grip, which enables you to move straight to knee on belly.

I was working with Amy, who had only had four classes up til now. So, when it came to guard passage and side control sparring, I tried to be helpful. However, I'm not sure I was too useful, as I was probably bombarding her with too much information: control the hips, drive a shoulder into my face, make space, shrimp, press and arm into my neck, keep your weight down when on top…and so on. Particularly considering my side control is poo (especially on top), I'm not really in a position to give out decent advice, although hopefully the general idea was of some use. Next time, I think I'll just focus on one thing if I'm training with someone very new, and try to help them with that: going back over what I should be doing benefits my woeful side control too.

Definitely preferable rolling with a female noob than a male noob. The latter, as I found in my last beginner lesson, tends to get all macho and treat the sparring as life or death, while women are often more sensible. Most importantly, they don't end up injuring you, an ever-present risk with the more aggressive of the male noobs.

I'm off on holiday to Spain tomorrow, so won't be able to train again until mid February. Shame, as I'll miss the big group photo on Saturday, which would have been nice to make.


  1. I just recently visited a new school to see if I wanted to join and there were 20 noobies there. I have to admit that I did not want to get injured rolling with guys who hadn't learn to curb their aggression yet or who couldn't stomach the fact that they could lose a grappling match.

  2. I think you're in for a shock when you return