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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

08 July 2008

08/07/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #161

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Gustavo Dos Santos Pires, London, UK - 08/07/2008 - Advanced

I'm only going to get in two this week, as I'll be heading off to Wales off Friday, which means I can't make Thursday. I'm getting back late on Wednesday the following week, so that will be a mere one class: then again, I've make six in the previous two weeks, so still keeps up an average of at least two.

Having said that, I do keep finding myself sitting on the sidelines. Guard passage today I did three, but then got my elbow tweaked, sitting out the rest. Still, better than sitting them all out, which is what I did one class last week. Same story as usual in that I stayed defensive, but I've been finding (as ever) Tran's advice useful, stepping up with my same side leg if an arm gets trapped. I'm also bringing my legs back if my partner tries to grab my knee for a sweep, although I'm not sure if that's a good idea every time, as I wonder if it weakens my base.

Thankfully it wasn't a pure sparring class, which I thought at first it might become (guard passage lasted a long time). Techniques today were ideal, as recently I've been wanting to revisit the flower sweep, which I've never really worked out. Gustavo showed us both a sweep and an armbar from a similar starting position, so that gives me some more options to go for.

The omoplata sweep, if that's an accurate description, begins with a grip on your partner's opposite sleeve. Bring your other arm underneath their same side leg, wrapping behind the knee (like you would for a flower sweep). Feed the sleeve you're holding to the hand that is now by their leg, then kick your own same side leg out past their shoulder as if going for an omoplata.

Triangle your other leg other that, trapping their arm, and roll them forwards. Follow through the roll, coming out on top, then switch your legs so that you're in side control. You could also transition to scarf hold from here.

If when you are kicking out your leg for the omoplata, they grab your other leg, you can change to an armbar. Grip the elbow of the arm they're using to push on your leg and knock it across your body. Swivel and bring your leg over their head, trap their arm (either under your armpit, or hold their wrist: I found that trying to use the armpit tended to leave their arm bent). Raise your hips and finish off the armbar, or if they're resisting, you can use your hold under their leg to roll them into side control and get the submission from there.

The guard passage may have taken longer than I realised, or possibly the free sparring was in extended rounds, but either way, only got a single spar in today. I need to get into a pattern of always sparring the first round, rather than sitting it out and doing the second. That way, I should get at least two spars even when, like today, they only do three (normally its five or six rounds).

I went with Joanna, which always involves me spinning about in open guard, after which she either passes or I lock in half guard. I'm at the point now that, at least with people close to my own size, I'm relatively confident that I can get into half-guard from under mount, and defend myself in side control. That means that its time I took more risks from guard, and I'd like to be more offensive from half guard.

However, before I get all excited by half guard sweep craziness, most important is that I continue working to re-establish full guard, particularly as I want to develop my flower sweep. I frequently found tonight that in half guard Joanna's weight was heavily to one side, but couldn't work out how to use that to my advantage. With Dean in guard passage, I had also found myself in half guard, getting to deep half guard, but uncertain where to go from there.

Might be worth dipping into Eddie Bravo's simpler half-guard section at the start of Mastering the Rubber Guard (I'm continuing to ignore the rest of it as too advanced for me at present), and I should also review what is written about it in Strategic Guard. Then there's Indrek Reiland's instructional (which is my main source for recovering guard at present), and possibly something on the Grapplers Guide, of which I've recently become a premium member. That's the main reason I've been looking at the flower sweep again, as Jason Scully has a great instructional video on there: will have a look to see if he's got any half guard stuff too. I've had a thorough look through the gi section, but not checked nogi yet.

Anyway, getting back to the spar with Joanna: I was also getting on top quite often, but unable to maintain the position. I had scarf hold for a little while, getting into my preferred position where I grip under the head and clasp my own thigh, but I wasn't putting my weight down enough or keeping my head low. Joanna was slipping out of my side control quite easily, and I also couldn't hold rear mount on her either. Those attacks against the turtle Gustavo showed last week were pretty cool, so I need to review those again. Found myself in position to use them a few times, but blanked on the application.

Should be back again tomorrow, where I'll see if I can get a chance to work the flower sweep. If not, then I'll be trying to escape to guard, or possibly further develop my scarf hold. I had a few tries at moving to reverse scarf hold, but couldn't secure it: something to look at in more detail.

In unrelated geek news, I was happily playing with HTML and Java today, and was pleased to finally work out how to make a drop-down menu with links (top left of my blog, Review Index). Been trying to do that for ages, and finally found an easy to use tutorial today, here. Woo!

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