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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

25 April 2008

25/04/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #140

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Nick Gregoriades, London, UK - 25/04/2008 - No-Gi

As I'm going to be helping out at SENI tomorrow anyway, I went down to the Friday class to make up for missing most of last week. Given the small turnout yesterday, and the general lower level of interest in nogi at RGA, I was expecting numbers to be teeny tiny tonight, and indeed there were only five including me. Unfortunately, I was by far the smallest.

Technique today was a takedown, which Nick taught in three parts. They have a neck tie on you (grabbing behind your head with their hand, elbow into your chest). Grab the hand holding your head (on the actual hand rather than the wrist) with your opposite arm. Your same side comes underneath, then your twist your hand back to grab their bicep on the inside. Finally for part one, twist your torso down and to the other side, stripping the hand from your head.

Next part is securing the leg. Having stripped their grip, push their arm towards their upper leg, then switch your hold to firmly grab behind their knee. Also bring your head to the inside of their leg: the positioning here is important, as if your head is on the outside, you could get a nasty whack if they drop backwards. Finally, Pull their leg up and trap it tightly between your knees.

For the takedown itself, Nick showed us two options. First, you can simply step back, then bend forward to drive them to the floor. Secondly, step your outside leg in a semi-circle, then bow forward to drop them (Nick described it as the hole where they would have stepped if they had both legs free). At least I think I got the direction on that right: I started off drilling it the wrong way.

We did some takedown sparring after that, but I was pretty clueless, staying defensive, seeing if I could work my sprawl. Ludmil urged me to try an attack, so I had a go at moving to the side, but rather half-heartedly. Really don't like stand-up, so if and when I get back to competing, guard pulling shall have to be the way forward! ;)

I wasn't looking forward to free sparring, as not only have I not done no-gi for a while, but all the guys there tonight were pretty beefy. Still, turned out to be quite fun, though that most likely was because they all went easy on me, given the size discrepancy. Still got caught in a few armbars, which reminded me that I need to watch where I leave my arms when trying to escape.

I played a lot of half guard, which seemed easier to hold than full guard. I also used that for my escapes, particularly with Jeff. He was about to take my back, but I turtled up and then triangled one of his legs, wrapping the other up with my arms. That enabled me to move through to top half guard, but not sure how viable that escape was given that I think my sparring partners were giving me leeway. Escapes in general were easier, because I could slip out through sweat, and there was no gi to slow me down through friction. I'm trying to go to my knees more, though again I think this is more achievable for me in nogi due to less friction.

On an unrelated note, I've had a few people contact me through Facebook about doing some drilling over at Warwick Uni (presumably because I've got 'BJJ' and 'Brazilian jiu jitsu' in my profile), so as there are now about six people potentially, I'm looking to set up some kind of training group. While I would love to teach eventually, I'm not yet experienced enough, so this would definitely be just a group of people meeting up to drill rather than a formal class (not to mention that even if I do manage to set up a group, I probably won't be there on a regular weekly basis anyway, given my current circumstances).

For instruction in BJJ, people at the University of Warwick should head to either Gracie Barra Birmingham, or the Total Martial Arts Academy in Coventry (run by Lucky, who teaches escrima and muay thai at Warwick), where GB Brum brown belt Kevin Webb takes the BJJ classes.

SENI tomorrow, so getting up good and early to make it to Oxford Circus for 08:30. I've got some of the tickets, so need to be sure I'm there on time. Also gives me another chance to visit my niece, as I'll be staying with my sister tonight. Amazing how fast babies grow: she was born in November, and looks enormous by comparison (but as her dad is 6'5, could be that’s a sign she'll shoot up later on).

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