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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

23 April 2008

23/04/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #138

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Maurição Gomes, London, UK - 23/04/2008 - Advanced

Felt good to finally get back to RGA: I was annoyed to only make one session last week due to my neck problems, as that ended what had been a very consistent run of training (although at least I did make that one session, rather than miss the whole week). The bit of grappling at ZSK was fun too, and it was interesting to roll with a completely different set of people than I'm used to (especially much, much bigger guys like Paddy and Glen).

Term has restarted now, so its back to the pattern of just Weds and Thurs available to train (though as happened last year, I very rarely managed three classes despite the potential to do so). Hopefully will make three this week to make up for that: would be fun to do the nogi class again, as its been a long time.

Maurição is back taking class, which is always cool. He started off with some takedowns, including one I haven't done before but did recognise: in the very brief period I did judo, I had a dig through the technique section on the excellent JudoInfo site. So, I knew the technique tonight was called kata guruma, or shoulder wheel.

If I got this right, you start with a pistol grip on their same side arm. Your elbow comes up and under the inside of their arm, as you turn into their body, sitting down. Maintaining a firm grip on their sleeve, you have the knee nearest to them on the floor, while the other leg is up. To complete the throw, stretch out that leg and fall to that side, rolling your partner up over your shoulders and to the side. You can then follow them round into side control.

Ground technique this session focused on half guard passes. The first one was from a position where you're on top, they're curled up towards your knees, with one underhook, preparing to sweep you. First, you reach around the outside of their underhook and reach through, grabbing your opposite lapel, clamping your elbow down to trap their arm. Next, bring your other arm right into their face, with your hand on the floor directly behind their head. Shove that arm towards the opposite side, forcing their body to swivel away, which messes up their sweep attempt.

You then bring your body backwards, changing your grip on the lapel to instead cup their knee and hold it in place. Bring your trapped knee over the top of their leg, then drive your hips forward in order to slide into side control.

The second situation was again from half guard, but this time they've managed to get a knee into your stomach. Passing is surprisingly simple, at least in principle. Posture up and drive your hips forward, then grab the fabric by their knee with both hands. Shove that knee right down to the floor: this means you've now got a solid control of their legs and hips. Bring your back leg behind your, keeping your arms out to continue trapping their legs, then slide round to take a sort of side control (albeit with them up on their side). If they try to spin out, you can take their back.

For sparring, Maurição started off by pairing up, according to weight and rank. I ended up with Christina, who I most likely would have picked anyway, so that didn't make too much difference to me. Yet again, after I pulled guard, Christina began to pass, while I attempted to get into a spider guard. As always happens, I tried to push her away with one foot, but her hips were forward and I couldn't readjust. She gradually crushed her way through to side control, then eventually got mount. That's where we stayed for the rest of the spar. I maintained a defensive posture, and tried to work on dragging her foot out so I could snatch half guard. However, I didn't get very far – I wasn't able to get much purchase on her foot.

Next up was Herman. I started in his guard, as he wanted to practice going from there due to SENI at the weekend. After some straining, I eventually passed to half guard and worked for the kimura: this happens quite often when we spar. I was trying to go for the kimura where you shove a knee into their armpit, pull them up on their and secure the sub. I couldn't free his arm at first, so bided my time until I was eventually able to isolate the limb. Herman managed to straighten his arm, so I transitioned to a straight armbar.

I wasn't expecting to land it, but I think Herman was still anticipating the kimura, so I was able to lock it on. I must check the proper technique with an instructor some time, as I think I'm going off Beneville or something at the moment: can't remember where I first saw it. Either way, I'm definitely not doing it quite right, so would be good to know how to do it properly off a failed kimura.

Third spar of the evening was Indra, another of my favourite sparring partners (I was spoiled for choice tonight, as almost everybody I most enjoy rolling with was there). I find that the last few times I've sparred Indra, I've tried to pull guard, she's almost escaped, and I've then found myself half taking her back, but can never get the second hook in. I did at least mostly manage to stay on top, seeing if I could grab a kimura, but didn't have a good position on the arm. I went after a series of submissions, but with sloppy technique, so I don't think I was close to getting anything at any point. However, I'm at least being more offensive in sparring now.

Finally, I got to roll with an old sparring partner I've not had a chance to work with for quite a while, Dominique. I'd forgotten how good her guard passing was, as even pulling guard on her was difficult. I eventually rolled her into half-guard (though I think more through my slight size advantage than technique), and attacked in the same way I had against Herman earlier. Dominique is good at quickly grabbing her leg when she's at risk of a kimura, so I wasn't able to immediately isolate the limb.

That gave me the perfect opportunity to try something I'd seen Stephan Keating advise in one of his YouTube vids on finishing the kimura from half guard (although his demonstration is from underneath rather than on top). He recommended pushing as if trying to go through their leg, then relaxing as if giving up, finally yanking to free the grip. Seemed to work, but again, I'm not sure if it was a size thing. Will keep it in mind next time I find myself in that position.

I was trying to use more spider guard and attempt the omoplata a lot tonight, in combination with the kimura, but still have a long way to go. I came closest with Indra, and IIRC did at least still end up in side control, but wasn't able to spin round to what I think is called 's-mount': we've been shown a bunch of stuff from there earlier, so I'd like to get better at that position.

Tran asked if I wanted to do a light roll after class, but unfortunately I've always got to rush off in order to catch a train on Wednesdays. It would be nice to live more locally, although that would be rather expensive and its highly unlikely my gf would ever want to live in London. Could be we end up there through work some time, which would be convenient, but she really doesn't like the capital, so not too likely.


  1. Not that it will do me much good in NoGi, but how the hell do you setup an omoplata off of spider guard?