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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

20 August 2008

20/08/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #172

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Gustavo Dos Santos Pires, London, UK - 20/08/2008 - Advanced

Big news at the weekend: Nick G got his black belt, so huge congratulations to him! Check out his blog over The Jiu-Jitsu Brotherhood, if you haven't already, where you'll see he combines excellent writing skills along with his high level BJJ.

First technique was a sweep from half guard, where they have their back to you. Grab their belt and the bottom of their gi trouser, then switch the legs you're using to hold half-guard. That means you can then push off that foot to shrimp out (towards the leg your hand is gripping), moving into position to then replace your closed guard, with them still facing away from you.

Put one hand on the back of their collar and another on their belt, pushing them downwards. Switch from belt to their arm, using that to swivel them into your rear mount. If they resist, you can change direction, following their momentum to roll into mount, as Oli demonstrated while he was doing the rounds.

Gustavo followed that with an open guard sweep. The position is that they are trying to pass your guard, having underhooked one of your legs, leaving one of your legs underneath their bum. With your same side arm, grab the inside of their leg, while your other arm grips their opposite sleeve.

Next, roll over your shoulder (again on the side you're holding their leg), bringing your free leg over the top and turning, until your head is now pointing towards them. Effectively, you're going to be in the same position as that end-of-class stretch where you bring both legs back past your head, leaving your bum in the air.

That means you can then use leverage to your advantage. Swing your body forward, lifting up their leg and pulling on their arm. Along with the power of your other leg underneath their bum, this should enable you to roll them over you, ending up on top, where you can readjust to side control.

Guard passage provided me with further opportunity to get used to standing up. I saw a useful looking video on the Gracie Barra Plymouth blog, which bears repeat viewing. The only thing I remember was the point on squeezing their butt cheeks together with your knees, but as ever ended up getting swept each time by Christina. Still, also as ever, good to work standing up.

A brown belt, Gerald, lost his partner to injury, so came to join us. He gave me some useful reminders on shrimping out away from your partner when in open guard. Handy to remember that when passing, you try to stay as tight as possible, whereas when escaping, its all about making as much space as your can.

In free sparring, I went with Christina both times. I continue to fail miserably at doing anything with the quarter-guard, so need to double-check Matt's video. Of course, hard to pull off something new against somebody way better than you, particularly when I don't quite understand the sweep. Nevertheless, fun to try.

Another useful reminder on being careful of my arms when under side control. I'm being far too lax with arm positioning: I need to stick to what Eddie Bravo calls the 'T-Rex' (despite his often ridiculous terminology, it can be efficient shorthand), keeping arms tight and elbows in. I've been getting excited about playing with that escape Nick G showed us, and combining it with other escapes, but shouldn't get ahead of myself. Also need to watch it if I'm trying to reach through in half guard or knee-on-belly, as that can often result in getting armbarred.

Short entry today, which might be partially because I'm not writing this on the train home as normal, but back at my sister's flat before heading off to bed. That does have the big advantage that I don't have to rush off after training this week, though it does mean I'm tempted to a tasty – but extremely unhealthy – cheeseburger at Victoria station. Mmm…

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