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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

22 October 2008

22/10/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #187

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Nick Gregoriades, London, UK – 22/10/2008 - Advanced

Further work on attacking the turtle today, which again is going to be useful for judo (interestingly enough, Nick mentioned at the end of class that Roger has instituted the judo warm-up – throwing up and down the room – as a part of every class, presumably a consequence of his judo training with Ray Stevens). Before the technique, we did a quick bit of specific sparring from the back, without any grip on the other person. On the bottom, I was aiming to spin to half guard by turtling up tightly, then shuffling towards a leg, which sort of worked a couple of times. Alternately, I wanted to see if I could hook an arm, then roll them over me and move into side control: this didn't work at all, so clearly not got the technique down on that yet. Still, worth giving a go.

When attacking, I didn't progress too far, though I did successfully get the judo turnover Chris showed on Sunday, where you grab their far arm with both of yours, pull back and drive forward into side control. I failed miserably to get hooks in, generally either just struggling aimlessly, or getting turned onto my own back.

Both the techniques were chokes from the back, depending on what your partner did. I'm not sure I quite understood them, as the sequence seemed fairly complex, but they both started with them turtling facing towards you. For the first variation, they have tried to go for a single leg. To counter, you immediately sprawl (Nick mentioned the concept of base and 'power point', where the idea from your perspective in this situation is to keep them apart, their 'power point' being when they have your leg pulled in close to them).

On the side of the leg they're holding, slip your arm under their armpit and grip their far collar. Your other hand, palm-up, will go for a deep grip on the back of their collar, four fingers in, keeping your wrist straight. Your hands should be as close together as possible. Next, raise the knee of the leg they're trapped, switching your other knee to the floor for base. The aim here is to bring their arm up high, making it more difficult for them to defend against a choke.

Clearing that arm also opens up space. Your other leg will now move underneath them, while the raised leg goes over their back: in others words, you're basically pulling guard at this point, while maintaining your grips on the collars. Tighten your grip to secure the choke, or if you can't get it, because of the position you've put their arm into, you could go for an omoplata or a gogoplata (not that I've any idea how to do one of those: something about shoving your foot into their throat and grabbing it with your hand, but too advanced for me at the mo).

The next choke from the back is for when they don't grab your leg, turtling up really tight instead, elbows on hips to prevent you getting your hooks in. Move around behind your partner, then wrap your arm around an elbow, grabbing their same side shoulder with your other hand. Yank up on the shoulder, using the space to 'blade' your hand (to use Nick's terminology) through, then grab the far collar again.

Get your knee in tight to their leg (this is one of the parts where I got confused, as I wasn't certain which knee: I think it’s the one on the same side as the arm you just slipped through, but could very well be wrong on that). You'll now 'spin and sit', going onto one bumcheek and pulling your partner over with you (but NOT falling onto your back). The aim is to get them sitting in between your knees, putting in one hook as you do so.

They will now probably turn to their side and bring their knee and elbow together, to prevent you getting the other hook. To make space for the second hook, grip your hands together around their neck (Nick did something he called the 'saddle', which I think was gripping your wrist with your other hand). Then inhale and arch your back, which will bend your partner and create a gap. Drive your heel into their hip and shove it down past their leg, securing the second hook.

Finally, open up their collar, feed it to the other hand and eat (as Nick memorably put it: bite down with the hand, effectively). Pull across with one hand and down with the other for the choke.

I only sparred once tonight, with Anne. I made an attempt at the star sweep when she stood up, but didn't get into the right position: my legs and arms weren't in place in order for me to swing around her leg and pull it up by the ankle. I also tried to move into a high guard to go for a triangle (as she was in my guard and staying low), but again couldn't work through into position. Unsurprising, given how rarely I try submissions, but helpful to attempt.

I also ended up in half-guard a bunch of times, as is very common for me, though I had wanted to avoid it if possible as my leg was still sore. However, as I then spent the rest of the lesson chatting to Helen (who had got her nose bashed sparring Oli), my leg got a rest after all. As Helen is somebody who has recently been through the English Lit PhD process, I'm always keen to talk to her, as that's the subject I studied at uni too.

Will have to make sure I do a good bit of sparring tomorrow, though I'm still settling into my newly busy routine of judo, salsa and BJJ. It is nice to have other activities outside of BJJ, particularly ones I can share with my gf, though BJJ is always going to be the main bit of exercise for me. If I ever find myself living in London, then I'll aim to dedicate much more of my time to the mats, but at present, I'm happy with twice a week (which is convenient, seeing that's the maximum I can train at RGA during term-time ;p).

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