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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

15 May 2008

15/05/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #146

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Marcio Gomes, London, UK - 15/05/2008 - Advanced

My finger was still missing skin, so I stuck a plaster on top, then got some zinc oxide tape to hold that in place. As the abrasion is right on the joint, that makes taping it a bit awkward, but I was hoping that I could avoid bending the finger too much in training: e.g., sticking to pistol grips and relying on the lower part of the finger.

Marcio from GB Brighton took class today, which makes this the third time I've trained under him. He started off with drilling the double leg, then showed how you could switch to the single leg if that failed. The position was that they had moved back the leg nearest your head, having also secured a grip on your neck. Simply move round the side of their other leg, squat down then lift with your legs, dropping them into side control.

Marcio followed that up with some work from side control. First he showed how to maintain side control if they tried to turn into you and turtle up. To do so, they'll generally reach around your back with an arm. Before they can secure a grip, the elbow of your nearest arm goes by their armpit. You then move around their head, keeping your weight down and pushing against their arm with your elbow, until you end up round the other side with good control of their arm.

That can then lead to an armbar, though not the orthodox finish. As you moved round using your elbow, shift your grip so that you're cupping their elbow, trapping the arm under your armpit. Having reached the other side, staying close, bring your knee up onto them, while the leg near their head goes over their neck, diagonally. You can then drop back for the submission, which is a sort of figure-four on the arm (so like the straight armbar), though presumably you could also readjust and go for the more normal armbar from here.

The last technique of the day was a butterfly guard pass, used when they try to sweep you (with what looked to be the same method Jude showed us a few lessons back). As they try to lift you up with their hooked leg, you drive your knee through, twisting your torso in the same direction you're pushing your knee towards (this will mean their leg is in a sufficiently awkward position that its difficult for them to counter). Pull up their arm, gripping the back of their gi with your other hand, then pop over their leg to end up in mount.

Guard passage gave me another opportunity to try and stand up more, and I also attempted to grab a sleeve as I did so (something Ben had mentioned during an email exchange earlier). Hard to tell what effect that had, though, as I was rolling with people much better than me, meaning they could quite happily watch me stand up and try to secure a position, then just as happily sweep me.

I was a bit concerned that my shoddily taped finger was going to be exposed if I sparred a lot tonight, so wanted to limit myself to two. Therefore I sat out the first one, then sparred with Christy, who had also been my drilling partner. We had a good roll, where I ended up in either half-guard or butterfly guard, also trying to keep distance with my open guard. At one point I had the opportunity to wrap up a leg with my arms, so attempted to use that to escape out the back, but I think just ended up in a triangle.

However, I managed to get out of the triangle too, just about, also remembering to keep my trailing arm in tight, so I didn't leave myself open for an easy armbar. I had trouble getting past Christy's open guard, as while I had underhooked her legs, I couldn't seem to push them to one side and pass round. Nevertheless, felt like a relatively even spar (though no doubt Christy was taking it relatively easy, as I know she's got considerably more experience than me), so reminded me that I should roll with her more often.

The tape held up during that roll, but I'd misjudged, as that turned out to be the final round of sparring. Next time, I'll follow Jason's method (he always tapes up his fingers), and bend my fingers first, then wrap the tape round. Zinc oxide seems to do a good job of staying put, though I'm not sure if its an especially cost effective option: I paid about £3.70 for an 8m roll. No idea if that’s expensive or not, but either way I've read that duct tape is a functional alternative.


  1. I normally get someone i know who regulary goes over to the states to pick me up a bunch of sports tape. The're much cheaper over there and you can get them in the chemists. Over here, it's alot harder to come across. Lorenzo has told me he can get them at his rock climbing place - I reckon it will be expensive.


  2. Yeah, I'd assume proper athletic tape isn't cheap. That zinc oxide stuff seemed to do the job, which should be ok for me as I don't think I'll be using it all that often (just when I've got abrasions/cuts I want to cover up).

  3. Psh, if you want a case of it send me a PM over on bullshido. I'll hook you up.

  4. Do you use it much, then? The guy who uses it the most at RGA does so - I think - because he also has a great open guard (which I'm guessing is why his finger joints get a lot of wear and tear).

    I'd have thought that would be less of an issue in nogi, as would the kind of abrasions I get from rubbing against a gi?

  5. Yeah Can,
    It may be worth taking up Kintanon friendly offer to help hook you up; although a case of it is abit Depending on what the price is...I may go halves with you.

    Once you start to developing your offensive game you do tend to grab the lapels and pants. Your fingers (Middle and ring fingers gets all roughed up) do get abused :) I tape them up for two reasons; to ease the roughness on my finger tip skin and to prevent your skin from fraying.

    Worth thinking about though mate.


  6. Heh - 'offensive' is not something that's really entered into my BJJ vocabulary just yet. :p

    But yeah, I get the impression tape is going to be more important once I move beyond hanging onto people's legs. :D

    Would be cool to have you on Bullshido, Tran: load of good threads in the grappling section, my favourite being this one.

  7. I use it on my toes. I'm bad about rubbing the tops of my toes on the mat when transitioning. So I generally have 2-3 abrasions on the top of them.

  8. Also, just FYI, this is the stuff I use:

    If you need something sturdier let me know.

  9. Sorry to be spamming you, this is the stuff I used when I was wrestling and needed it all the time:

    It's sturdier zinc oxide stuff and is also dirt cheap.

  10. Ok, one last comment about the athletic tape. You don't need me to send you any, just order it from here:
    It's 11$ for 40 yards. That's like 5$ in your money I think. Even after shipping that should be dirt cheap. And it's the Mueller Zinc Oxide tape, pretty much the best there is.

  11. Cheers, man - looks good! Should be ideal once my current roll runs out. :D