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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

28 May 2008

28/05/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #149

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Roger Gracie, London, UK - 28/05/2008 - Advanced

I popped to the doctor this morning to check out some spots on my leg, just in case I'd managed to pick up some kind of skin infection. Fortunately, it was just some kind of follicle thing: the young Asian GP's advice was to exfoliate and moisturise. Clearly I'm not metrosexual enough. ;)

Turns out that she's up for training some martial arts. I'd mentioned that I was concerned about skin infections due to grappling with sweaty people on a regular basis every week at BJJ. So, could be that she'll head off to the mats at Gracie Barra Birmingham (she wrote the name down), which would be cool. I always try and convince people to join up at their nearest Brazilian jiu jitsu school if it comes up in conversation.

Hefty warm-up from Jude, with lots of tuck jumps and squat stars, along with some guard passage. Unusually, we were broken into blue belts and below, then everyone else, rather than the more common weight categories. That meant I was up against some big sparring partners, who had little trouble breaking my posture and slapping on the armbar (though I keep making the very silly error of not using my trapped arm to grab the free one in order to make the escape: must stop doing that!).

I had a go at getting my knee under their buttcheek and going for the single stack pass, as in this Grappler's Guide video, but had trouble getting into position. I also found that they tended to grab the pant leg: the video is nogi, so that particular problem isn't covered. Still, useful tips on position, which helped in terms of getting my elbows in place so I could better capitalise when they opened their guard.

Technique tonight was taught by Roger, and featured more open guard sweeps, against standing. You wrap your leg behind their same side leg, also gripping their gi trousers on that side. With your other hand, your grip their opposite sleeve, while your free leg pushes on their hip. If they grab that leg and try to push it down in order to pass (their other side is blocked by your grips, so they have no choice), you have several options depending on where they put their leg.

Should they bring their leg forward, having tried to step round your knee, you can then wrap it up with your arm, bringing their ankle close to your head. Put both your shins against their knee, pushing it sideways. That should knock them to the floor: maintain your hold on their leg, which will put you in a good position to pass.

If they are more cautious and keep their leg further back, merely stepping to the side in order to start pushing their other knee through, your can instead bring both your feet to hook around their bottom. Pulling their sleeve across your body and pass your head to put them off-balance, you can then shove with your feet to send them rolling over. As soon as they start to go, switch your grip on their sleeve to their remaining gi trouser leg: that will leave you with control of both their legs, again putting you in a good position to pass as you come up into their guard.

A point to note was that Roger emphasised that you should always grab the pant leg rather than just the foot. This is because it is easier to break a hold on the foot, as you simply have to kick that foot forward to escape (or twist and kick out to the side). I still found that difficult when sparring from the position with Christina, as she kept my foot very close to her body, but that's just my general crappiness.

Sparring was a bit slow and steady tonight, as all three of my partners wanted to work from the bottom, leaving me to wallow in my extremely poor top game. I sat in top half guard with Christina for a while, not getting anywhere, until eventually she moved through to side control. Unfortunately time ran out, so I didn't get a chance to work escapes.

Tran is normally a excellent guy to work escapes with, but he also wanted to work his bottom game. We spent the early part with me scrabbling around his turtle position trying to find a way to get my hooks in, until I found myself in my accustomed place under his mount. However, Tran then immediately rolled over, as he wanted to work guard. I again tried to get into the single stack pass position, but Tran had little trouble getting my pant leg and sweeping me to mount, whereupon he went back to guard.

Finally, I had a roll with Zaf, who also wanted to work from the bottom (particularly as he's not feeling well: hopefully he'll get that cough seen to soon). That gave me a chance to yet again work that guard pass, but I had difficulty getting my knee under his buttcheek. I attempted to rock forward and back to make some space, but couldn't quite wedge myself in. Zaf let me pass a while later, though he still had a firm grip on my hand (not sure if he was going for a wrist lock or something like that, but it took a while to get my hand free: he presumably eased off too). Bit of practice on top side control and then half-guard, after which the spar ended.

At the end of class, Sasha and a big bearded guy I've not spoken to before got their blues, followed up by another purple promotion. This time, it was Gavin, who's been a high level blue for quite some time now (with a heavily frayed belt to show for it). Gradings are coming thick and fast, so will be interesting to see who gets moved up next: possibly Tran? Will have to see.

Roger is off to the Mundials tomorrow, along with a few other people from the Academy (Aika, Oli, Junior, one of the purple belts and Nick G, I think). Will be cool to see some RGAers in the medals, though of course our instructor tends to do pretty well at competition. ;)


  1. I didn't let you pass, you passed on your own. I think I was trying a triangle and you stacked me.
    Not sure about the hand, I always grap the gi, but I don't remember.
    Anyway good work you are much better than 6 months ago.

  2. Ah, ok: thought you were easing off as I was trying to move round, but often hard to tell. Hence why I normally assume people are going easy, as that's far more preferable than inadvertent arrogance on my part. ;)

    My hand was kinda bunched up between your legs as I was going to the side, at an awkward angle. Thought you might have been trying for a wristlock, but perhaps not?