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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

21 May 2008

21/05/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #147

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 21/05/2008 - Advanced

I've already mentioned in this blog, and there is now another club database in the works, called simply Gym Database. The site interface is looking great so far, although there are a few problems that still need to be worked out (though I think I encountered more as I was adding a UK entry: unsurprisingly, the site is geared towards the US at the moment). Should hopefully become a useful resource once the kinks are ironed out: the developer also started a thread on Sherdog, looking for any suggestions people might have for improvements. Also reminds me to put up a link for one of the other big databases,

Christina has returned from the US: its been strange not having my regular training partner there in class, so cool to have her back. She and her husband Lorenzo had the chance to train at both American Top Team in Coconut Creek and Gracie Barra Orlando. I seem to remember there is at least one person from Bullshido who trains at ATT Coconut Creek, so I wonder if he was there: I asked Lorenzo if he remembered a big Asian guy, but either Anthony wasn't there, or Lorenzo didn't get a chance to train with him. Still, reminds me how I'd like to go off on a geektastic trip around some part of the US to go train with internet people. My current vague plan is San Diego, LA and Bend, but it’s a very hypothetical plan at the moment. Definitely want to get out there at some point in the future, though.

Getting back to class, first technique, very handily, was a sweep for when your partner stands up in your guard. In fact, it was the basic standing sweep generally known as the 'handstand sweep'. As they stand, keep your guard closed, wrapping an arm around their same side ankle. Twist into their knee with your hips, pushing up with your other hand for extra leverage, which done right will drop them to the floor.

However, that still leaves them a hand with which they can post out and recover. To prevent that, Jude showed a more difficult variation on the standing sweep. The same set up, but this time, you don't use your free hand to push up by your head. Instead, you grab their opposite sleeve, thereby both preventing them from posting out, and also providing you with an easy way of pulling yourself up into mount.

The difficulty is due to the decreased leverage at your disposal. Now that you can't use that hand to push up, you instead have to really twist into their knee. Make sure your grip around their leg is tight, pulling their foot right to your head. You will also use your grip on their sleeve, pulling their arm way across towards their trapped leg. This is tougher to pull off, as we discovered when drilling.

Next, Jude showed us another standing sweep, which looked a little like the standing version of the flower sweep. Again keeping your guard closed as they stand, pull them down towards you with a hold on their collar. Having bent them downwards, move your legs up their back, then reach for their opposite armpit, grabbing over their shoulder.

With your free hand, swivel and wrap around their opposite foot, then use that grip in conjunction with your leg to drive them to the ground. Note that if they put their legs closer together, you can not only wrap around their opposite foot, but reach though with that same hand to grab their other pant leg. From their, you can roll into an armbar.

Alternately, if they adjust their legs, you can switch to a standing armbar by bringing your leg over their head. If they also manage to get their arm free of that, you should still have your legs in position for an omoplata sweep, rolling through and then adjusting to either side control or s-mount (where you have their arm trapped and kind of swing round behind you into mount, with their arm still between your legs).

Sparring was unusual today, in that everyone competing at the Mundials (plus Indra, who was being impressively brave) went to the mat and then had to stay there while people switched in and out. Guard passage was followed by takedowns then finally free sparring, in one minute rounds but no rest for the people out on the mat. During that I had a chance to play with the 'paw' concept in half-guard against Oli, as well as go for deep half guard, but then Oli was going light. Even so, I was still sitting their clamped on his legs without much of an idea what to do: I guess getting to the position is something, but I really need to work out a better plan than my usual terrified squirrel-fu.

Normal free sparring kicked off with Christina, where again I fell into the typical pattern of trying to keep her at bay with my open guard. Its getting better, and I felt I was at least partly controlling the distance, but she eventually passed to knee-on-belly. At one point I again ended up in a sort of deep half guard, but not very tight.

Also, I tried sitting up in closed guard to try and stop her standing. That did work, but I wasn't able to do anything else. I tried sit-up sweeps and the kimura set-up, but Christina's base was too good and her defence too tight. I threw in some choke attempts too, but couldn't sink in anything around her neck: she was happy to let me get one grip, but that was as far as I managed. Grabbing the back of her gi was difficult, and her chin was sufficiently tucked that I failed to wedge an arm underneath even when I did get that gi grip.

Tran was my second and final spar, with another familiar pattern, this time escaping his mount and defending cross-chokes. I clung to half guard for a little while, but Tran was able to bring his knee up and drive through for mount. He then worked for the choke, but I was able to slip my hand in between, stopping him from clamping down on my neck. It was uncomfortable, with plenty of strain on my hand, but I was in no danger of being choked. However, this is a habit I should probably get out of: much better to defend the choke earlier than a last ditch blockade, which might well fail against someone willing to painfully crush my hand into submission.

Also nice to chat to Brian, as I don't often get to vent about writing commitment frustrations with people who can sympathise. ;)


  1. Nice to have found you on blogger. It's "dirt mcgirt" from the forums btw.

  2. Heh - I post all over the place, so took me a while to work out which forum you meant. Reminds me to check the JiuJitsu Forums again: I tend to dip in and out there.


    Here you go.

  4. Wow, you weren't kidding: right down to the style on button on his trouser back pocket! Reminds me of those art projects where somebody photographs what they eat everyday, or a pic of themselves in the same exact pose over several years (which I guess he's basically done in this too, with the focus on the clothes).

  5. Mr. Can (no, I don't know the code to get the two dots. Sorry. ^_^) - you need to stop being so hard on yourself. I mean, seriously. I wasn't going light on you. I wasn't going crazy crazy hard, but I wasn't going light at all, and your half-guard stuff was both very good and relatively dangerous, hence the time it took me to pass and the relatively power-oriented approach to doing so. In seem to be starting every roll with the opinion that you're going to lose and if you do ANYTHING well, it's because the other person let you. You're better than that, man. Seriously. Yes, you have a substantial weight disadvantage on most people, but that doesn't stop Joanna/Sehyun/Aika from getting out there and giving it their all. stop being so hard on yourself and get out there and start beating people up. And you don't have to be mean about it to dominate someone. Even if certain people are.


    Take care,


  6. Heh - you forget, 'win' and 'lose' aren't in my vocabulary, just 'learn'. But cheers for the pep talk! :D

    Oh, and the two dot thing is on the surname, not the forename, so Can is indeed the right spelling. ;)