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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

06 November 2008

06/11/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #192

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK – 06/11/2008 - Advanced

I was a bit sleepy today, as the trains fucked up last night so I got back home even later than usual. The Chiltern Line doesn't often break down, but an electrical failure meant I got home around midnight rather than around 22:30, which was a real pain.

Still, seemed to be just about awake for the lesson tonight, where Jude focused on spider guard (although he called it hook guard, so I presume its some kind of variation on spider guard?). The basic position is to shrimp from closed to open guard, then hook one around and under their arm, pushing in deep for the armpit, while the other leg presses on the bicep, each hand holding their same side sleeve.

From there, Jude first showed us how to get an omoplata. Having dug your leg right up under their armpit, lift that hook and push firmly with the other leg to lean your partner over to one side. Having unbalanced them sufficiently, let go of your sleeve grips: instead, you're going to apply your hands to the arm where your leg has a deep hook. Grab their tricep and elbow, then pull that arm towards you, pushing your leg through. This should automatically bend their arm around your leg, meaning you're set up to bring your leg over, triangling it with the other, then grabbing their side and raising up for the omoplata.

If they resist your attack by raising up their knee, on the side where you're pushing your leg straight into their arm rather than hooking, you can still get a sweep. Switch the hand that was gripping that sleeve to their other sleeve (so the one where you have your leg hooked). With your free hand, reach underneath and grab low on their trouser leg. Now in one motion, swivel around, bringing your leg up and over, rolling them past you, after which you can mount them.

I think we've done something similar before, but as with last time, I had trouble getting the mechanics, and also found it hard to spin smoothly. The defence against that sweep was a bit easier to understand, and again was a pass we'd done before, the "it's me!" pass. You're in the previous position, with your knee raised. Press that knee into their leg (which is trying to push straight into your arm), aiming to get it right over their knee, pinning their leg to the floor. On the same side, bring your hand around theirs and grip their sleeve.

Your other hand with also move to grip on that side, but on their trouser leg. This is the bit I found difficult, as I struggled to get that hold without losing balance: I found I had to strain to reach the leg. Once you have both those grips, stand and step back, then throw your hands apart still maintaining the grip. This should open them up completely, so you can simply move through into knee-on-belly.

To practice those moves, we began specific sparring with the same open guard position. I found it tough to pass Rodney's guard, due to the aforementioned problem of establishing that second grip. I kept on losing my base by overreaching, making it easy for Rodney to sweep me. So, what I need to do in that position is work on my balance and develop a more secure base, attempting to free my arms.

With the positions reversed, I didn't get especially far, as I felt as if I couldn't get enough leverage. I'm short and light, so that might have had something to do with it, but that probably also means I wasn't close enough. I need to get a more controlling hook with my leg, so I can use my limb to break my opponent's posture, moving them around by constant pressure on their arms.

Changing to side control, I had a lot of trouble getting any kind of control on top. There was about 14kg difference, which would account for some of that difficulty, but I also need to become more mobile. I think I've been improving in the switch between scarf hold and side control, but that's not enough. Going to north-south, reverse scarf hold, knee-on-belly etc are all transitions I'm currently lacking, so plenty of work to do there. I find that I can feel when I'm about to lose the position – sometimes just from being literally shoved up and off by my partner – but I'm not able to react and shift my base to maintain my top position. Something to think about.

Underneath, I was much happier, working escapes as usual. Rodney was fond of moving his legs around, presumably looking to step over my head, or possibly to get me thinking about one direction. That means that a quick shift in momentum could result in enough surprise to wrong foot me and result in getting mounted (which is exactly what happened the first time). I looked to get half guard as ever, though I need to be more versatile, trying escapes to my knees and the like.

On top in mount, I have no control at all, though Roger's basic tips yesterday on using the forehead in lieu of a hand was useful. Again, I felt more comfortable, still going for half guard, though also as before, I should try other things, such as different entries to half guard (e.g., hooking the other side of the instep, lifting, and inserting my legs that way) and combining it with more bridging.

I only sparred once today (not just the usual wimping out, as there was only time for two rounds tonight), with Junior, who is a huge purple belt, so took it very easy on me. I spent most of it looking perplexed in his guard, failing miserably to pass. Junior let me pop through into half-guard a couple of times, but I wasn't able to get my shoulder under his chin to enact Roger's half guard pass where you swing the free leg over.

Hopefully I'll get in some more drilling on Sunday with the Warwick Uni BJJ group (and/or Wednesday, as Lee has the activities room booked from 12:00-13:00 again: I must remember to ring up on Monday to make sure of getting the room for next Sunday), and also another session of Warwick Judo.

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