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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

29 October 2008

29/10/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #189

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Nick Gregoriades, London, UK – 29/10/2008 - Advanced

Yet another offer from The Grapplers Guide, but this time its specific to referrals. If you sign up through my link (I'm slideyfoot on The Grapplers Guide, like everywhere else), you can get a lifetime membership for $50. Which is kinda cool. So again, if you were thinking about signing up but were put off by the price, that's one way of making it rather more affordable. ;)

Taught my second seminar on Thom Gunn and Peter Reading yesterday, having taught on the same course last year (also did a session on Lowell and Plath that time, but there was only enough funding for one this year), which seemed to go well. I was especially pleased to see the students discussing among themselves, without much prompting from me, which is the ideal situation. However, if I teach that seminar again next year, I think I'll change the first poem. At present, I'm basically using it to set up the comparison to the second poem, but it was much harder to get discussion going about the contents (because frankly its not that great a poem). Shall have to think up a replacement for next time, but the other three poems appeared to go down well, at least in terms of generating lots of debate.

To continue on a non-BJJ topic for another paragraph, I loved the last series of Last Man Standing on the BBC, so was eagerly looking forward to the next group of athletes heading off around the world to get beaten up in various bizarre but anthropologically interesting ways. So, most excited to see that the new series has now started (which I only realised because fellow fan Matt mentioned it on Martial Farts), and best of all, they've got a submission wrestler in the team this team (though personally I would have liked to have seen a Greco-Roman stylist, as they would have been an interesting match-up for the second episode's challenge), as well as a boxer. Last time, the only martial artsy guy was a kickboxer, who got injured in the only event where he looked like he was in with a good chance. Hopefully that doesn't happen this time, as I'm intrigued to see how American and English combat athletes do against the hardened tribes they'll be competing against. My favourite line from the show so far: "Its fun, you won't die," right after watching some Ethiopian fighters covered both in blood and some horrible scars.

Getting back to sweaty people rolling around on mats: tonight's class once again involved plenty of stand-up to start with, including randori. Fortunately for me, I was with Gary, who wanted to go light due to arm injuries. That meant I could just concentrate on shooting in, and he also showed me a grip break using the leg (basically, you just bring your knee up, then pull their grip onto it, simultaneously yanking your arm back and pressing your knee forward to break their hold).

That was followed up by sparring from rear mount, where your partner already has their hooks in and is sitting behind you. In terms of defence, I protected my neck ok, keeping my elbows and hands in tight, clamped to my chin, but was less adept at preventing armbars. Liam caught me in two, and would have had a third if time hadn't run out. That's a recurring problem with certain of my escapes, so I need to be more careful of my trailing arm.

In attack, I decided to pick on a specific detail I wanted to work. Normally when attacking the back I find that I have no control, so tonight I wanted to focus on putting my head close to theirs, but slightly lower. This seemed to function well in terms of maintaining a tight hold, although Liam did eventually escape: certainly better than normal, as my partner often immediately spins out of my weak rear mount.

Technique today was another choke from the back, but utilising a concept one of Nick's old instructors had shown him in regards to submissions. This was the principle of getting your spine ninety degrees to your opponents: it doesn't fit in every situation, but nevertheless applies to many, such as Americanas from side control, kimura from the guard, armbar from mount etc. Nick wanted to show us an application of this concept to chokes, starting in rear mount.

You begin with a deep grip on your partner's opposite collar, as far back as you can get it. Next, roll in the direction of the arm you're choking them with (where the elbow is pointing rather than the hand), which also applies as a general principle to chokes from the back. You then need to reach on the inside edge of your same side leg, getting a really firm grasp on the top of their trousers.

Having secured that hold, remove your hook on the other side. Your partner will now probably try to escape using that sudden space, which you're going to use to choke them. Keep in mind that they must not get their back flat on the floor or turn into you, as that will make the choke very difficult. This is why you're holding on to their trousers, to keep them close to you.

The space will enable you to shrimp out, moving away from their back. Make sure you keep your chest pressed into their back, so they can't swivel towards you. Bring the knee closest to their head into position for base (so you can take the weight off your elbow), while raising your other leg so that the knee is against their back. This will mean you can now finish the choke by treating your opponent, in Nick's words, as a plank of wood you're trying to snap across your knee. Press with the knee and pull with the grip on their collar and on their trousers to get the submission.

My first free spar was with Nick, so given my vastly lesser ability, he coached me through a few techniques, such as the choke he'd just shown and an armbar, also giving out some useful tips. First was to make sure that your feet are never on the ground in open guard: instead press on their hips, secure grips etc. It was cool to try out one of the sweeps I had learned from Nick himself a while ago and get some advice (such as making sure I hook the back of the knee, not the ankle. The Theory and Technique book shows it the other way for the hook sweep, but Nick's version feels more secure). Second, the simple but important advice to never give up mount for side control, which I'm prone to doing as my mount is awful (not that my side control is much better, but it is at least slightly more secure).

That was followed up by a roll with Zahir, who I haven't seen in months, and finally Tran. As ever, Tran is an excellent training partner for working escapes, as he plays such a tight game. I spend the majority of my time rolling with Tran trying to work my elbows into his knees, pushing on his foot to try and lock in half-guard, then squirm my way free, avoiding chokes as I do so.

Should be training again tomorrow as usual, and then getting in another session of the Warwick Uni BJJ training group on Sunday. We've got the Activities Room (the main martial arts venue at the University of Warwick sports centre) booked again from 16:00-17:00, so if you're studying at Warwick, feel free to pop along. I won't be making judo straight after this time, as I wanted to go see a film with my gf and one of her old friends who is coming over for a visit. Might make it on Monday instead, but will see how I feel.

1 comment:

  1. To improve the stability of your Mount:
    Grapevine the legs and pull up on the back of your opponents head whenever they start to bridge.
    Use ezekial/baseball bat/papercutter choke (Forearm in their neck is all that matters) to get them to defend with their arms. Take advantage of that to get your knees closer to their armpits.
    Since you're in Gi i'm sure all kind of clothes grabbing occurs, so be ready to switch back to your grapevines and repeat.
    I like to do this until I can get a chance to setup a mounted triangle... but work on whatever subs you like from the top.

    Key is Grapevine + Mess with the neck.