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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

01 July 2008

01/07/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #158

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 01/07/2008 - Advanced

My arms felt much better after a rest, so hopefully I won't mess them up again from too much emphasis on my upper body. Tonight's class was all from spider guard, going through a number of submission options.

First, Jude showed us the armbar from spider guard. You begin in typical spider guard, both legs into your partner's biceps, one leg straightened out, the other bent. At the same time, your partner has a hold of your gi trousers with each hand, while you are holding both of their sleeves. First, you need to remove their grip on your bent leg. Pull up with your grip on their sleeve, and at the same time kick out with your leg: this should break their hold. Immediately pull them forward with your sleeve grip, bringing their arm around to the opposite side of your head, still gripping firmly.

Having secured that grip, bring your now free leg over their head to set up for the armbar. You can now switch your grip from behind their head to their wrist. Twist to get your other leg into position, then raise your hips for the submission. If they resist, knock them over and finish from side control.

Next, we were shown the triangle from spider guard. Set up is the same as for the armbar, but this time, once you have their arm behind your head, put your same side foot on their hip. Use that to shrimp out, then move your straightened leg from their biceps to go over the back of their neck. Lock that ankle behind your other leg's knee, then squeeze for the triangle. Due to your previous grip, their arm is already across your body.

Finally, Jude demonstrated the omoplata from spider guard. This was slightly different, as there was no arm behind the head. After freeing your bent leg, you drive your thigh into the back of their arm, pushing on their sleeve. The aim here is to bend their arm around your leg in a right angle. Once you've got them in position, bring your leg over that arm and past their face, still maintaining your grip on their other sleeve.

Pull that other sleeve up to your bum, then you can raise up and switch your other grip to their belt (or the back of their gi). Pull yourself in tight, shuffling forward if necessary: that will knock them down and make the finish easier. Your other leg will now be splayed behind you. Bring the foot of the leg you brought over their arm and press it towards your other knee. From there, push your hips forward, back straight, to get the submission.

Technique was followed by guard passage, which recently has moved away from the line-up system to instead be a matter of first come, first serve. That tends to mean I'll wait until either someone my size is free, or somebody I'm fairly certain isn't going to be an injury risk. However, as I'm quite lazy, that can mean I'm pondering for a while: still, I got in three specific spars.

All of them were a bit bigger and stronger than me, so I ended up defending, bringing my elbows to my knees. This held off Radek for a short while, but he eventually manoeuvred me into position for an armbar (which he didn't crank – we both knew he had it, so I tapped as soon as he got the position).

Justin was similar, in that I wiggled around for a little while, making adjustments with my knees and sprawling to avoid his sweep attempts. I was in the midst of defending an armbar, when I found myself underneath his back: he spun and finished in side control. Random, but effective.

Finally, I went with a guy in a Renzo Gracie gi, who I think might have been called Damian, but I'm not sure. I found myself presented with an opportunity to sprawl back and wrap up his legs, but as ever when I try that pass, it feels like my neck is vulnerable. Sure enough, though I passed his legs and moved to side control, he had some kind of grip on my collars. I then found myself flying over the top of him, while being simultaneously choked out. Not quite sure what he did, but a useful reminder to watch my neck when trying the sprawl pass.

Two of my favourite sparring partners were available for free rolling at then end of class, Joanna and Indra. Joanna has a fluid style, which tends to result in rapid changes of position when I spar with her (especially as she stays relaxed). We went through half-guard and open guard as ever, where again I need to sit-up rather than lying on my back, which is just asking to be passed.

At one point I got the handstand sweep (very nice to have a closed guard option when they stand up), but couldn't secure mount. However, I was able to spin over onto her back and get a body triangle, but she slipped down away from my arms, meaning I ended back in guard. I also had a chance to put into practice the principle of straightening out an arm into their thigh, with the intention of getting a knee through from half-guard to reclose full guard. Sort of worked at points, but not something I'm doing as automatically as I should.

My second and last spar was with Indra. She went to her back, so I spent a while trying to pass, as she came up on her side and tried to drive through to guard. Eventually I slapped on a sloppy scarf hold, but couldn't get much further than that. I was trying to pry out her arm, so I could then trap it with my leg and go for some sort of submission. Failing that, I wanted to come in under her knee, switch my base and secure a solid side control. However, every time I went to switch, I could feel her leg creeping up to snatch half-guard, meaning I bailed back to scarf hold.

So, not hugely eventful until I somehow found myself on Indra's back. I almost fell off, but because I'd been looking for a kimura, my hold on the arm kept me behind her and on top. I then tried to go for a belly down armbar, but Indra had no trouble protecting her arm, after which time ran out. I continue to suck at doing anything from the back, but practice makes perfect. The body triangle seems to be one interesting option, but I think my big problem is not knowing what to do with my arms to get a choke or armlock.

Then again, my main concern is still escapes, particularly from side control, and recovering full guard from half guard. That's progressing slowly, with the end goal being a solid defence from which I can take risks with my offence. Still a while off at this point, though.

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