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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

22 May 2008

22/05/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #148

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Marcio Gomes, London, UK - 22/05/2008 - Advanced

Roger and his father were back today, so it was nice to shake his hand and congratulate him on his recent victory in Japan. That means he's now 2-0 in MMA, having first beaten the powerful Ron Waterman despite the big wrestler's 65lb advantage. This time, Roger had weight on his side, but compared to the discrepancy he had earlier overcome, the difference was far less: 26lbs instead of 65lbs. However, Roger wasn't taking the class tonight, which instead would again be run by Marcio from GB Brighton.

As before, class kicked off with takedowns, though this time it was the version I'd seen in nogi, where you grip around your partner's waist, pressing your head into their chest. To get them to the floor, you pull their torso towards you while driving forward with your head and legs, bracing your foot behind their leg to knock out their balance. I'm not comfortable in this position, as its difficult to control: either I thump on top of my training partner, or when we switch they slam onto me. I still tried to slow down the drill, as I dislike repeatedly smacking people into the floor, but that proved painful: towards the end of the drill, I dropped the combined bodyweight of my partner and myself onto my hand.

We also went through the double leg, similarly to last time showing how to transition to a single. If you go for the double and they sprawl back, switch to the nearest leg, grabbing low, then driving your shoulder into their knee, take them down.

Marcio followed that with another dual action attack, this time from a position similar to pulling guard. Putting your foot on their hip, grabbing a collar, fall back. Loop your foot around their leg and a hand around the other, using that to push forward and knock them to the floor. If they step a leg back to prevent that takedown, come up to your knees and switch to the same single leg as before.

Like yesterday, the Mundials competitors were called up for takedown sparring. However, I don't think they had to stay in, though sparring wasn't done in a line-up: you simply went forward when you wanted. I'm averse to stand-up anyway, but given the option, decided to rest my hand. As I normally mention when it comes to the question of takedown sparring, its something that I need to do more if I want to succeed in competition, but on the other hand, I'm really not all that competitive. ;)

Next came specific sparring, starting with side control. I went with Liam, and tried my usual Tran method of tight side control. As I don't want to get into a habit of just clinging in place on top (I already do that quite enough on the bottom), I tried to switch between side control and scarf hold, using my knee to get under the elbow and thereby secure a better side control. It worked at points, but Liam was frequently able to shove me off with an arm and escape: I'm still poor at controlling that far arm properly.

Underneath, I felt more comfortable, aiming for half guard. I was able to snatch it a few times, though rather sloppily: however, the spar stopped once we reached half guard, no matter how tenuous. Marcio offered a handy tip, noting that I need to immediately push the knee with my hand and come up on my side, as opposed to just barely catching the leg in between my own. A fundamental point, but I realise I previously haven't been paying it enough attention.

I also got through to half guard from under knee on belly a few times, trying to push on the knee, but that's probably a risky strategy to get used to, given the possibility of getting armbarred. Going for half-guard is occasionally working at the moment, but I don't want to rely on it, particularly as I'm sure there are more sensible escapes from knee on belly.

Christina was my partner for rear mount sparring, where I'd had so much trouble against Jalal a while ago. Today wasn't quite the same, as I didn't get repeatedly smashed, presumably because Christina wasn't going all that hard. I still found it very difficult to hold her in rear mount, as she slowly but inexorably slipped out, freeing first one leg then the other.

With the positions reversed, I was more confident, just about holding off the choke and gradually getting my leg free. I wasn't so fluid as Christina, however, so had to struggle a lot longer to fully escape. Eventually I found myself on my front, working to pop out the back. Christina was definitely going easy at this point, even partially coaching me through, but still nice to get out of the position.

That meant it was time for free sparring. Vitor offered to roll, but I waved him off saying I'd do the next one. That proved to be a foolish decision, as there was only a single round tonight. This reminds me that I have to look at the clock before deciding to take a rest, otherwise like tonight, I could miss out on free sparring altogether. On the plus side, it does at least mean I gave my hand further rest: feels fairly sore right now.

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