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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

05 November 2008

05/11/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #191

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Roger Gracie, London, UK – 05/11/2008 - Advanced

Like millions of other people, I was pleased to wake up to the news that the US has finally emerged from the Bush years. Its also great that there is now a black man in charge of the country, although I have to admit I would much rather that it had been Hillary ushering in the first ever female presidency. Still, as that was no longer a possibility after the nomination battle, can't really complain.

Didn't make it to judo this week, but I have been along to two grappling meet-ups since my last session of BJJ, both through the Warwick Uni BJJ group. First one was last Sunday, which got a great turn-out thanks to Adam publicising the session to the judo club here on campus. We split into two groups, with Adam going through some chokes and armlocks, while I continued my usual focus on drilling basic escapes. I also added in sweeps (as I think drilling side control escapes to scissor sweep then back to side control escape to start over is really handy), which reminded me of the importance of using the power of your legs as well as arms to get your opponent off balance.

Also drilled some more open guard sweeps with Rosie, working the star sweep off of a failed handstand sweep (basically, maintaining your grip on their leg from the handstand, swing both your legs over to that side, come up facing away from your partner, then pull their ankle forward to knock them over). I'm not certain how effective it might be in sparring, but it does provide a helpful follow-up from the handstand. Injuries are something to be aware of, though, as Rosie noticed there was some potential of twisting your partner's knee if you weren't careful as you yank their ankle up.

Finished off by reminding myself of Nick's choke from the back, which was good to review, then a quick spar with Rosie. Having that two hours can be very productive, so it’s a shame that I wasn't able to book it for two hours again next Sunday: hopefully should still be able to use the judo slot from 17:00-18:00, as they don't actually do anything in that hour, normally (its supposed to be for a women's only class, which would be great, but apparently there isn't enough interest, last time I asked).

I also had another chance to do some drilling earlier today, as there's a gentleman named Lee who has been getting together some people for a bit of groundwork. From what I could tell, none of them had done BJJ before, with their experience being largely limited to traditional jiu jitsu. However, there was another guy who came along, Jack, who is quite the opposite, in that he actually has more experience than I do, having trained MMA for a few years and spent the last year teaching a class (with the qualifications to back it up, from what he said, along with at least one pro-MMA victory).

That meant that I went through my favoured basic side control bridge-and-shrimp escape followed by a scissor sweep (though I didn't demonstrate the grip on the collar too well: reviewing Roy Dean's Blue Belt Requirements DVD, I realise I should have emphasised that its up high on the collar, which sets you up for chokes), while Jack demonstrated some basic takedowns (the high crotch, if I'm using the right terminology on that one). Josh has got together the thirty names he needs to put forward a proposal to the Sports Fed to set up a BJJ club, so I'm hopeful that's going to produce something. The main concern is cost, so we'll see if there is anyone from Braulio's willing to teach at student prices. If not, some kind of submission grappling/MMA club with Jack at the helm might be a good alternative: we could use training fees to set up University of Warwick BJJ seminars with people like the aforementioned Braulio.

Getting back to tonight's class, there was a pleasing focus on basics. Roger showed us some fine details on chokes from mount, focusing on how to work your way past a tightly defensive opponent keeping their arms close. If they are grabbing their collar and you're finding it difficult to get a hand to their collar, you can use your hips to shove your arm past their defences.

First, grab the collar, then brace the elbow of that same arm against your hip. Shuffle your knees forward, using your hip to drive your arm and hand deeper into their collar. Remember to form your hand into a wedge, so that it can 'cut' through their blocking hands and arms.

Once you've got that deep grip, your partner is almost certainly going to try and bridge and roll to end up in your guard. To prevent that, you can use your free hand to base slightly above their head, and also use your forehead to post on the floor in lieu of your arm.

This means that when they bridge, this may result in them swivelling underneath you rather than rolling into your guard. Therefore you have the option of either trying to take their back, or alternately, swivelling yourself to go for an armbar. I got a little confused at this point as to direction, but the idea is to turn, then step over their head and trap their arm, letting go of the choke and securing their limb instead.

The second tip on getting the choke from mount related to a slightly different defence, where instead of grasping their collar, your partner has their hands close to their face, elbows in tight. This time, you can simply pull up on their hand, then use the space to slip one of your hands through to grab a collar. Again, use your free hand and forehead to post on the floor if they try to bridge.

To finish, drive your other hand (as before, forming a wedge with your fingers) between their head and other hand, reaching to get four fingers into their collar. From there you can now complete the choke, but keeping in mind that it is your wrists, rather than your arms, that enact the submission. Roger pointed to the significance of turning your wrists so your palms were facing away from your partner, then bending your wrists up to increase the pressure.

[Update May 2011: This video is from a few years later, but illustrates a similar variation on the technique. Make sure to press 'CC' at the bottom so that it turns red, as this enables subtitles. I've been taught another variation here, at the RGA Bucks affiliate in 2011]

Sparring started with Tran, who as ever stayed very tight. I tried to bridge and shrimp to make space, which was a good thing to practice, though it didn't lead to an escape. I need to work on combining the basic bridge and shrimp with other escapes: I tend to be a bit too singular and focus on just one rather than the other options it might flow into. I also need to watch that my partner doesn't get a knee into my back when defending the choke, which is how Tran submitted me today. I was being too complacent as he only had one hand in, but then that's all you need if you can use your knee for leverage.

Next up was Anne, where I spent most of my time in a triangle attempt by her, but I had both hands inside, so could make a frame and resist. I was trying to shuffle my shoulders forward to get back into a more secure position, but couldn't manage to make the space. I did eventually get both my arms free to go for a stack pass, but didn't raise Anne up onto my knees, so she had little trouble resisting.

Finally I rolled with Melissa again, this time finding myself mainly on the bottom rather than the previous scarf hold. My main aim was to push back her leg and get my knee through to recover guard, which I managed a couple of times, but need to set up better. I'm not too keen on doing sweeps from here, except the very simple arm sweep (as per Indrek's 'Functional Half Guard' instructional), though I should review some of the ones I've been shown (I generally find them too complex, so prefer to stick with solid, simple basics like recovering full guard).

I think its time I started thinking about chokes more, so want to take a good look at that section in The Guard. Of course, for that to be useful, I need to be better at getting back to full guard, which fits in with my long-standing half-guard goals.

1 comment:

  1. I never thought about using my hips to drive my hand into the collar...that's a great idea.

    Going to have to try that sometime.

    I sometimes am able to use my forehead to post when someone bumps and rolls, and I've found it surprisingly effective in combination with my free hand