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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

24 July 2008

24/07/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #165

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 24/07/2008 - Advanced

Having already chatted earlier in the day over a brief bit of lunch, I met Johannes at Westbourne Park to show him the way. When we first got in, looked like it was going to be a small class, and there also weren't many of the people I'd normally chat to (e.g., Owen, Christina, Tran etc), and was therefore looking to introduce to Johannes. On the other hand, there were plenty of good browns and purples for him to roll with, which was cool.

Jude went through the same two half guard passes from last week, though I'm still not quite sure I'm getting them (partly that’s because I have an aversion to 'mean' techniques which essentially are based around making your partner really uncomfortable in order to achieve your goal, but mostly because I'm really bad at passing).

We then moved on to a half guard sweep. I think this is the one Christina has mentioned to me before, as it involves pulling their lapel through their own legs. First thing you need to do from half guard - which seems to be a central principle of the position - is to underhook around their back on the same side as the leg you've trapped, then come up onto your side.

Pull their lapel down and through their legs, then feed it to your other hand (I think still all on the trapped leg side, but might have misremembered) then bump them forward with your knee. Having knocked them off balance, use your firm grip on their leg to put them on their back and drive forwards. Cup their other knee and yank it back, using that to move through and secure side control.

Specific sparring was therefore from half-guard, where I got absolutely nowhere. I tried to settle into a position where I had a tight grip under their head and arm, but every time I was either swept or they recovered guard. Paxton, as before, immediately brought his leg through, slicing past my defences as if they were made of tissue paper. Weight distribution, especially maintaining good pressure, continues to be a major problem for me.

When it came to free sparring, I ended up going with Johannes twice (no bad thing, as its not like I get to roll with him often). His background as an instructor over in Sweden swiftly became apparent, as he approaches the roll looking to work your game, rather than simply crush you. He frequently urged me to get hooks in open guard, keep moving, go for submissions, and be more offensive. As he mentioned afterwards, he noticed that I'll get vaguely in position for a submission, but don't follow through. He also commented on how I wasn't being careful of his hooks when trying to pass, as a few times he had a hook but I kept driving forward anyway, so was asking to be reversed.

The next time I sparred, having sat out two rounds, was again with Johannes. This went pretty much the same way, as I spun around on the bottom trying to defend, while Johannes took it easy, trying to get me to go for something. He intentionally set me up for a sweep at one point, but I didn't see what he was intending, then gave me a triangle (though I was laughing, because he so obviously wasn't resisting at all ;p). He did mention that my submission defence wasn't bad, but it served as another reminder that my game is bereft of anything resembling an attack at the moment, something I really need to rectify.

Finally, I had a light roll with Jason, again mostly spinning around on the bottom, getting put in side control, then trying to snatch half guard after he went to knee-on-belly, which would normally result in going under side control again. As I'm small and Jason is coming back from a nasty knee injury, this kind of relaxed rolling works well for both of us: Jason gets to attempt new stuff that wouldn't work so well against more accomplished members of class, while I get to practice movement.

Paxton received his much-deserved blue belt at the end of class, which was great to see: nice guy who always works hard in class. He's got a good attitude (asks lots of questions) and has been improving rapidly since I first encountered him in the beginners class: I can fondly look back on the days when I could hold him off, because he's now surpassed me. Good defence and offence, so a useful example, as he isn't all that much bigger than me either.

I'm off to Lincolnshire to visit some friends this weekend, so won't be able to make the Tuesday, again. However, I'd most likely spend that on writing commitments, and will definitely be doing that the following week to make up for lost time. So, probably going to be just Wednesdays and Thursdays for the foreseeable future, but I'll hopefully be able to add in the odd Tuesday if I can get enough writing done in the morning. I'd have to catch a 14:00 train to make it to Tuesday training in time, which doesn't tend to give me as long as I need to sort out the writing commitments side of things.

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