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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

04 November 2008

04/11/2008 - Salsa

Class #4

Warwick Salsa (Salsa), Billy, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK - 04/11/2008

Big day today, with the US elections going on: my perspective on that is pretty straightforward, in that as long as Sarah Palin and her horrific perspective on women's rights (i.e., seems that wants to remove as many as she can) isn't anywhere near the seat of power, I'm happy. Would have been nice to see a woman who isn't nuts in contention (like Hillary), but having a black president would also be a huge step forward, as everyone is very aware (should be some good BBC documentaries on the progress of civil rights and the like if Obama gets in, thinking selfishly for a moment). There was supposed to be an election party going on at the union tonight, so I was hoping to pop along to that afterwards.

As to class, I'm still struggling to adapt to Billy's rapid style of teaching. That was compounded today by an even greater gender imbalance, with more men than women (about seven extra). Of course, that's still nothing compared to what the women had to put up with in the beginners class, so it makes for a refreshing change on that score.

Main things I got out of tonight's class was to do with the arms. We went through both a single spin and a double spin, which was fairly easy from the male perspective: all we did was pretty much stand there with our arm in the air, but making sure not to grip our partner's hand firmly. Instead, it should be left loose, so the women can swivel both her hand and body.

Billy also showed us a way of coming out of the spins, a bit reminiscent of the 'comb the hair' thing Alyssa showed us a few lessons ago. IIRC, if you are gripping their opposite hand, raise it up and behind your head, dropping your own hand down your shoulder, while they slip their hand off the other side. That can be done in sequence, but seems to be mainly useful as another way to get your hands back into the normal stance (one raised holding their hand, the other on their shoulder blade).

Billy's class unfortunately ran over a bit, which meant I had less time to practice in the freestyle (which so far has always proved the most beneficial part of the session), but I did at least manage to run through what we did today and last week with my gf. I also had some tips from James, a more advanced student, who showed me the proper way to do the cross-body turn where you end up side-by-side rather than facing each other.

Previously, I'd been getting confused, because I'd been stepping my left over my right and moving to the side. What I should have been doing instead, to do what I think Alyssa called the Cuban something-or-other, was to simply step forward towards my partner, then step and turn, so I ended up perpendicular to her. That meant I could use my arm as a gate for her to step through, then just step on the spot while she aligned herself next to me.

At long last, my gf and I managed to get in some drinks with the other dancers after class at the Varsity. Always great to socialise, though it’s a pity that there isn't going to be another social at Latin Night this weekend. Next event will be a trip to a salsa club in Coventry, I think, with another social at the upcoming Brazil Night. Not sure what that involves, but I wonder if there will be any BJJ people there? Kinda hard to tell, unless people randomly start shrimping across the dance-floor or something. :p

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