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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

06 March 2008

06/03/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #125

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Gustavo Dos Santos Pires, London, UK - 06/03/2008Advanced

Warm-up, unusually, was led by Joanna. Oli was away that lesson, and no Jude either: he mentioned something about going away the previous lesson, so perhaps he's off on a holiday or something?

As to technique, yep, you guessed it: De La Riva sweep, though this time they're standing up. As before, wrap around the outside of their same side leg, hooking your foot on the inside by the inner thigh. Grab their same side heel, and also grip their opposite sleeve. For this variation, they're trying to pass, so have a hold of your other leg, trying to push it down to pass. As they step round, push their arm back through your legs, lift up their leg (using your De La Riva hook and grasp on the heel). That should tip them to their side, whereupon you can quickly move to side control.

We then moved on to another long session of specific sparring, shifting from guard to side control then finally mount. I felt fairly comfortable sparring with Joanna, as I think she was going relatively light. I managed to get Brian's sprawl pass to work, posting on her hips and flinging my legs backwards when I felt Joanna's guard open, then 'rock climbing' up to side control. However, she wasn't resisting all that much when I shifted round, so I'm not sure how I was doing with managing space: there may well have been room for her to recover guard. I also got into a stack pass off one of her armbar attempts, but standing didn't have much success, getting swept straight to my back.

Underneath, I wasn't really getting anywhere with the sweeps, so spent most of my time trying to maintain my guard. I had a go at the sit-up and kimura, but couldn't secure the arm as usual. I also gave the encircled collar choke a try, as I've been doing recently: its something I saw in a Rowan Cunningham video. From what I understand, you get a good grip on their lapel, jam your forearm into their throat, then try to raise up your elbow. Your other arm then comes over the back of their neck, sliding your hand into the gap by your elbow. Finally, squeeze for the sub. I'm still having trouble getting a sufficiently tight grasp on that one lapel, but its something to work towards.

My armbars remain sloppy, so again I gave up when I saw it wasn't going anywhere. On top of side control, I fared a little better, strangely: those tips from Tran really seem to have helped. I again went for that tight hold with the knees in, waiting for my moment to bring the leg over. That worked a couple of times, and I also managed to slide my knee over more gradually into mount. I snatched at the Americana now and then, but was never quite in position to lock it down.

Underneath, I couldn't get the breakdancing escape (ok, I'm totally going to need a less silly name for that) Christina showed me last night, but again it was useful to have it to go for. Instead, I was mainly getting my escape to half-guard, though I wasn't being especially proactive. I wanted to attempt to push the leg back and get a butterfly hook in to recover guard: that sort of worked once, but in a scrambling fashion with poor technique. I'm having trouble stopping them bringing my knee out and getting an arm in the way, so need to secure a better half guard before I can move to butterfly properly.

On top of mount remains my worst position. I could stop Joanna throwing me off if I stayed down low, but not do anything more. I managed to pull her elbow up a few times and shove my knee in, again to try for the Americana, but still no luck. I also at one point had Joanna's arm pressed towards her throat, but couldn't capitalise. I should have tried for the arm triangle at that point: didn't occur to me at the time, so will have to concentrate more carefully next time. Whenever I tried raising up to go for a choke or armbar, I inevitably got swept.

On the bottom, I once again relied on clinging to half-guard, as before trying to recover full guard. It might be worth me looking into sweeps from that position, but I'd much rather improve my ability at recovering guard. The main thing is getting that hold on tighter and preventing their arm from blocking my attempt to move into full guard.

I think Joanna stepped it up a bit for free sparring, as I found it much harder to control her. I was especially poor at maintaining some kind of secure hold in open guard: I kept getting bunched up on one side, after which she'd pass and I'd scramble for half-guard. The problem here might be that I'm not controlling her hips properly, or rather, both hips. I can stick a foot onto one, but I'm failing to get my feet into defensive position on both. I also tried shoving my foot into a bicep and grasping the sleeve, which helped, but I wasn't using it effectively in combination with other grips. This is where that De La Riva hook might be a useful option, so I mean to attempt that more often.

As we fell yet again into half-guard, Joanna restarted as she wasn't keen to spar from there. Either that means my half-guard is so passive that she got too bored to continue, or she just really hates that position. But serves as a good reminder to be more active in half-guard – I need to really work to make that space.

Finally I rolled with Jason, who's got a fair few kilos on me and plenty more experience. He was entirely dominant, spinning around between positions and submitting me when he felt it. The weight advantage was certainly one factor, but I also need to react faster when my partner is moving to side control. Spinning into position to recover guard would be preferable than just getting squashed: the old mantra of hip movement is always worth keeping in mind.

My thumb is still a bit dodgy from the Oxford TD, and I came close to doing my wrist in, almost falling onto it while getting swept. Seems ok, so hopefully that isn't going to seize up tomorrow. I've got a week now to rest up either way, aside from the home session with my gf (which will probably be Tuesday, as we're going out to have cocktails on Monday to celebrate a friend's birthday).

1 comment:

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