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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

10 April 2008

10/04/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #136

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 10/04/2008Advanced

Jude started off with a trip, though I didn't really get the hang of it (judo and me still not getting along). I think the basic idea was to step to the side, get them to step, then step again and use your foot to continue their momentum and trip them up. Not really sure, as I ended up ineffectually tapping Christina's ankle. Like I keep saying, need to somehow get a handle on throws if I ever want to compete properly, but then competition is pretty low on my priorities right now. Still, should really try to improve my throwing: there is a great deal of room for improvement! The niggling knee injury didn't help, of course.

There was a clear progression with the other two techniques today, starting with another open guard sweep. First, get your legs wrapped around one of their's, grabbing their ankle with your same side hand, gripping the same side sleeve with your other hand (so all your grips start on the one side). Bring your knees towards your chest in order to knock them forward: as you've completely isolated one side, they have to step with their free leg or lose their balance.

That means you can now release the hold on the sleeve, instead swivelling towards their free leg and bringing your free arm around the back and then grip the front, just above their knee. Your wrapped legs now open, so that the shin of your inside leg presses their inner thigh, while your other foot draws back and then pushes against the side of their knee. Use that to drive their out, also raising their leg with your shin. Simultaneously your other arm lifts their other leg, which in combination should send them over your, meaning you can roll up to your knees.

This also leaves you with an underhook on their leg. From their, you can now work a guard pass. The arm that is underhooking immediately grabs a handful of gi and pulls it round their leg, while your other arm grips the fabric at the bottom of their other trouser leg. You then press your shoulder into their solar plexus. Whichever side you want to pass, you should be using that shoulder, and this will also be the same side as the trouser leg you've gripped. You also use your head to base, putting by the shoulder you've just driven into them. That means you can now hop over to side control.

Your arm is still stuck under their leg, so before you can secure your side control, you'll need to free it. Otherwise, you're vulnerable to a reverse triangle. To get the arm out, crush your shoulder into their face and stretch out their spine, which should loosen their grip (as their liable to have grabbed your sleeve) sufficiently to release your arm.

Specific sparring began with guard passage, and as ever I found it difficult to do anything much beyond defend inside Christina's guard. I had a go at grabbing under the armpits and pushing back, but wasn't able to make much space: that needs more work on my part. So instead I ended up mostly staying defensive, though I did attempt standing up a few times, only to get swept in Christina's guard. I'm still trying for the "It's me" pass, but not there yet.

Underneath, I'm continuing to try for a tight guard, in an effort to prevent my partner standing up, which also means I can work for the kimura. With Christina, this normally means I find myself sat right up clinging around her back: I tried to get a hold on the elbow to pry her arm up anyway, but without much success. She managed to stand up most of the time, then had little trouble passing my open guard. I think I'm making minor improvements, and remembering to push the hips away, but again, not quite there yet.

Next specific sparring was from half-guard, for which I went with Indra. I was looking forward to this, as I'm keen to work my half-guard, particularly from the bottom. Like Christina, Indra is also powerful, which I hope means that if I get anywhere, its not because I'm muscling a technique. On top, I locked in the Tran style gable grip, putting my other leg out, then using my hip to drive into the arm and try to move up to the armpit. I was able to maintain that position, pulling up on Indra's elbow, but like before I kinda got stuck there.

Underneath, I tried again for the paw, which didn't quite work, but I did feel a little more mobile. I'm trying to also attack their legs more with my arms, while staying aware of submission attempts on their part. This seemed to help me work towards recovering guard, and I did manage to sweep Indra over at one point, but mostly we were both trying to improve our position by small increments: as before, I was pushing for the kimura without being able to break Indra's grip.

I also then started off free sparring with Indra, going for her back to start, but she was able to remove my hook and ended up on top in half-guard. The paw worked better this time, and I somehow worked my way to half-guard top. This got into a bit of a stalemate again, as I tried for the kimura once more. As this was no longer specific sparring, we did a fair bit of rolling over, while I was still holding the kimura, changing top and bottom positions several times. I really need to start attacking with more combinations, which means I need to work out what I can build on top of the kimura.

After a rest, I got to practice that again with Joanna, as I once more found myself going for the figure-four. This time, however, I did isolate the arm, but in an Americana position, not kimura. I managed to completely forget which way to bring the arm to improve my angle, so ended up pulling it towards her legs instead of her head, which didn't do me any good. I then tried to move to the straight armbar, which is the only thing I can think of to follow an Americana/kimura – I've got it once before in sparring, but couldn't get the right grip on Joanna.

At that point, I should have shifted to something else, but clung on to the grip, eventually getting reversed. Time ran out shortly afterwards, though had the clock continued I think Joanna would have established side control and I'd be working defence.

I was about to site the next two rounds out, but Christina asked for a roll while we were talking, so got another chance to practice against her open guard. Similar results, though this time with the added bonus of getting stuck under side control. I had the rare opportunity to go to my knees, but while I did get a hold of her leg, she sprawled and broke my grip with relative ease.

Now decidedly drained, particularly as the radiators were sucking away any lingering aerobic reserves, I was ready to flop on the side. However, Jude then urged everyone to go get a sparring partner: the alternative was press-ups. As press-ups for several minutes non-stop didn't sound much fun, I looked around for a partner, fortunately ending up with Gavin. While he could crush me with both hands tied behind his back, having rolled with him before I noticed he is happy to go at his partner's level.

So that meant I was working from under side control. My main aim was to keep my hands and elbows in position, avoid leaving an arm vulnerable, and block Gavin's knee from shifting onto my stomach. He was using his arm to reduce the efficacy of my knee against his side, which is something Christina and Grant do too: I need to work out a good counter for that. I was able to just about hold on to side control, though Gavin did pass to mount later on (not quite sure what happened there. Might have been time run out, as though I snatched half guard, Gavin shook it off with little trouble. Alternately, might have gone to side control while trying to escape a choke: can't quite remember).

Hopefully I'll be able to pop along to the SENI to help out, which should prove interesting. Depends on what my gf is doing that weekend.

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