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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 April 2008

24/04/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #139

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 24/04/2008 - Advanced

As SENI is on the Saturday, today was a small class. I had the opposite experience to yesterday, as almost none of my preferred sparring partners were there: except for Paxton, there was nobody present who I've regularly rolled with before. That was going to be interesting, as it was all sparring this session.

I started guard passage with Paxton, and I'm still not standing up enough to pass. Its really hard to overcome that fear of getting swept: I think ideally I'd practice this on smaller partners so I can get a feel for the position, in terms of balance, typical defences etc. Whenever I tried it tonight, I was almost immediately swept.

On the bottom, I didn't get any further, though I did attempt to go to the spider guard again. I think I'm making small improvements, so need to keep working on getting the right grips and being more active with my hips. I also need to push for a particular sweep or attack, which would also help with the positioning if I can put my partner on the defensive.

I did at least get the sprawl pass, though I can't remember if that was starting from guard or when I was underneath in side control. I only had the one leg, but it proved enough for me to drag myself into side control. Very almost got swept in the process, but it is always useful to get more practice with that pass (especially as my passing game is woefully limited and almost entirely ineffective).

My side control on top totally failed me, which hasn't happened for a while: Paxton was great at slipping his knees into position to recover guard. Need to come up with better defence, as I've been relying too heavily on clinging on tight. I also had a perfect opportunity to try the shin in elbow trick from Strategic Guard, but although I got the shin into the elbow, I wasn't able to lift Paxton up enough - needed to shrimp more too, I think. Will have to double check that technique.

King of the hill guard passage was quick, as I was easily the smallest person there, as well as one of the least experienced. Jason advised me that when standing, I'm going to have to be careful when there's a size difference. As soon as he hooked my leg, there wasn't much I could do, and also trying to sit on the back of his legs proved unproductive. I had a chance to try out that pass from yesterday against Jude, pushing down on his knee, but couldn't get round his foot (and obviously as a black belt, it’s always going to be a simple matter for him to readjust against a massively less skilled opponent).

Moving on to free sparring, I was already pretty knackered. I'm a wimp at the best of times, but after spending the whole class sparring, my meagre resources were draining away. I took the opportunity to spar with Christy, a visiting high-level blue from Australia. She's been training for four years now, so I'm fairly certain she took it easy on me.

I had a chance to work scarf hold, trying to maintain downwards pressure, and also attempted to attack her arms. My usual kimura attack wasn't able to keep her arm bent, and she slipped out of my straight armbar follow up. I was looking to attempt the armbar by walking round while having a tight grip on the far arm, but couldn't get into position. I also couldn't quite get the kimura, though she was up on her side. She seems like a good training partner, so look forward to rolling with her again: must ask her for advice next time, though.

Finally, I had a roll with Greg, a powerful blue belt who got promoted not too long before me. He has good technique along with that strength, and put me in a bunch of submissions, starting with a choke, then a kimura from side control (I think), finishing with an armbar from guard. I keep making silly errors in defending the armbar, like not grabbing my bicep before grabbing behind their leg.

I sort of managed to escape with a single leg after having turtled in side control (I should probably turtle more when defending chokes too, to prevent hooks: don't think I'm doing that at the moment), but if time hadn't run out, I think Greg would have secured a guillotine on me. I also had a go at a triangle in guard, but he postured up immediately so I couldn't lock on the legs. I tried to think of how to roll into an omoplata, but was in totally the wrong place.

One thing I was semi-pleased with was my attempt to sweep from open guard. I got closer than I ever have before, at least making Greg move backwards a little from a tripod sweep attempt. He freed his foot from my hook after that, but again, I felt that was another indication of very slight progress in open guard. I'm trying to shrimp more as well, which is something I tend to forget against Christina, who always successfully drives her hip forward and passes.

I plan to train tomorrow, though no idea who is going to show up for the nogi. Joanna gave me my ticket for SENI, and I've also been put in charge of a whole bunch of other tickets too (as Joanna won't be able to give them out before the day, I think). We're apparently meeting in Oxford Circus at 08:30 on Saturday, which is kinda early, but on the other hand does mean I won't get lost on the way to the venue. I have no sense of direction, so that’s a big plus.


  1. Hey Slidey.

    Hope you enjoy the show on the weekend. Seems to be a huge event.

    some quick hints from reading your last review:

    - Spider Guard is the open guard where you need to be the most active, always atacking, always off-balancing. You CANNOT hang out there, as is more of a possibility with other open guards, such as the DLR or butterfly.
    Even if you have secured perfect grips, if you stop and just try to maintain position, you will find yourself get passed quickly, as with Christina!?
    So remember to attack, attack, attack, attack!

    - Standing posture for passing takes some time to master. Remember to keep your head above your hips, so you don't lean forward.
    If he is pulling you in, move your hips forward, so they are under you again. Knees and toes should be pointing slightly outward.

    - For the Omoplata from triangle, remember that you need an angle. You can try pushing his head to the side, but if he is posturing up hard, the armbar transition might be better suited.



  2. Cheers - advice much appreciated, as always!

    SENI should be good, and hopefully will give me a chance to put some faces to names.