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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

30 October 2008

30/10/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #190

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK – 30/10/2008 - Advanced

For female BJJers looking for a new gi, take a look at Georgette's blog: she's just started putting up some gi reviews from a woman's perspective, which is something that has been much needed on the BJJ web. In this first instalment, she goes through four of her seven gis.

I was feeling a bit under the weather this morning, so stocked up on Beechams before heading into work. Normally if I'm feeling ill, I'll see how I am after a day in the office, then decide whether or not to train. Its definitely a bad idea to train when you're really feeling crappy, but if its just a slight cold, then Beechams is normally enough to cope with any symptoms. Also handy to know that at RGA, you have the option of leaving before the thirty minutes of sparring at the end: again, meant I could see how it goes rather than skipping training altogether.

I felt ok after work, but had some Beechams just in case, to make sure I could at least get through the first hour of training if I suddenly felt worse. Training was all throws, with lots of handy tips from Jude and my training partner Dominik. One principle of particular importance was pulling your partner up onto their toes and dipping under, which applied to all the techniques tonight.

On the seoinage, things to note were keeping your feet fairly close together, swivelling in on a single foot rather than both, and that you can use a grip on the opposite collar then bump their arm up with your elbow. Also, you shouldn't be leaning right over, but drop them over your shoulder instead.

Next was the uchimata (I think), where you pull them up and step in (crossing one leg behind the other), bringing one hand over the top to grab their shoulder, pop them onto your hip, then take them down, also raising your leg behind you and in between their legs to further take them off balance.

Finally, a throw where I didn't catch the name, with a similar set up. Having stepped in, this time you pull the collar on their same side shoulder right up and over, pushing firmly in the direction you're going to take them down. Your foot goes in between theirs and hooks their same side leg, bringing it back, while you also squash their elbow into their side with your other hand. Drive forward with your hips and really push through on the collar to bring them down, aiming to step over them and pass.

Specific sparring was from the guard and side control. I couldn't really do much in guard, but Dominik was taking it easy on me. He's built like a tank and could have easily crushed me pretty much any way he wanted, but instead stayed controlled and let me work. He also had some useful tips on escaping knee-on-belly, pointing out my recurring problem of leaving myself open to armbars. In short, never push on the knee with your palm, and then they can reach to come under your armpit and go for a submission. Instead, keep your arms tight and push on their knee with your elbow instead.

Unlike yesterday, there were some women present today, which meant I got to spar with both Melissa and Indra tonight. With Melissa, after sort of getting the half guard pass where you swing you free leg over and push their legs away, I spent most of the spar trying to move through different variations of scarf hold, attempting to distribute my weight in an effort to get to mount. I was able to stay on top, shifting through normal and reverse scarf hold as well as side control, but couldn't quite reach mount, eventually ending up with Melissa in rear mount trying to choke me. Also, I think I probably have a size advantage over her, which always makes it difficult to judge if my weight distribution was actually effective, or if I was just bigger and clumsily flopping onto somebody smaller, rather than using good technique.

Finally with Indra, my aim was to try and use Nick's choke from yesterday. I was pleased to be able to shift round from half-guard to take her back (though I think she kinda let me, as the resistance seemed to drop off), but then couldn't prevent her from getting her back to the floor. That started a pattern of back to the floor, prising her shoulder up and attempting to secure the collar, after which she again got back to the ground. In hindsight, I think I was missing the grip on the trousers to stop that shift to the floor, and also should have been a bit more varied. She eventually locked on half-guard, which I couldn't shift – lots of strain on my knee, too, so I'll have to be more careful of how I try to pass.


  1. Thanks much! Looking to do more reviews on other womens' gear soon... let me rephrase-- on other gear designed for women, or at least being used by this woman, soon!

    And books and DVDs though your reviews on those are super good :)

  2. Hi Can,

    How's it going there. I just wanted to ask help from you. We created a new site the will promote the Martial Arts Community here in the Philippines. Hope you could help promote it by linking it in your site. We would apprecite the help. Thanks.

    P.S. Sorry about messaging you here, I do not know any other way to contact you. Thanks again.

  3. No worries, though I'd suggest the best place for promoting a Philippines BJJ site would be BJJ Asia, if you haven't mentioned it over there already. After all, the whole point of that site is to build and publicise Asian BJJ.