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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

13 November 2008

13/11/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #194

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK – 13/11/2008 - Advanced

Training is likely to be a bit abnormal over the next couple of weeks, as next week, my gf is going to be popping down on the train with me (she has a conference thingy to go to in London), so no training Wednesday. However, the week after she's visiting friends, which should mean I could potentially get in four sessions. That would be handy as we're off on holiday in December, which naturally will cause me to miss a load more sessions (plus December tends to be a lean month anyway, due to RGA closing in over xmas). As long as it all works out to an at least twice a week average, I'm happy.

In case people have already seen this on BJJ forums (I saw it on EFN, where J-Sho posted a link, there is apparently going to be compulsory BJJ at schools in Abu Dhabi: story here. There has long been a strong association between Abu Dhabi and BJJ, due to the ruling family's interest in the sport: its interesting to see what happens when BJJ is coupled with large amounts of cash and executive power.

Tonight Jude went through a defence against the stack pass, which turned out to be quite complicated. You start by pushing off their hips with your feet, so they can't continue stacking you and getting your hips off the floor. Grab their same side sleeve, then hook the inside of their leg with your same side foot. Having stabilised your position, grip their collar with your opposite hand and sit-up.

With your same side hand, take hold of their belt, with your palm facing downwards. Push their head down to the floor, then switch grips again, so that you're now holding the belt with the other hand, palm facing up. This means that you can use that grasp to bring your elbow into play, stopping them from raising up.

That will help with your next motion, which is to bring your same side leg under the belt-gripping arm and over their head. To finish, drive your hips forward and post on your free hand slightly (I think), spinning to their back. I found this final part rather awkward, especially struggling to keep my weight on my partner: as ever, maintaining pressure remains a problem.

Jude then followed this up with a clock choke. Having spun to their back, bring your feet back so that you can press as much weight down on them as possible (I kept instinctively going to my knees, which relieves the pressure and therefore messes up the technique). Circle your right arm over their shoulder and grab their far collar, then bring the other arm underneath, holding the opposite collar. Post your forehead on the mat, and then shuffle your feet past their head to get the submission.

Specific sparring from guard reminded me just how terrible my guard passing is: if I ever take a private lesson, that will have to be the focus. I'm trying to stand up, but as we haven't done guard passage for a little while, think I've regressed a bit on that front, returning to the defensive mode that simply delays the inevitable submission or sweep.

Free sparring began with an old training partner, Dominique, who was down for a rare visit to RGA. Very nice to see her on the mats again, as she's the first person I ever rolled with at RGA, and remained a great person to train with throughout her time at the club (she does her BJJ at the affiliate in Mill Hill these days). She's got noticeably quicker since I last rolled with her: I found it tough to get into any kind of controlling position with my open guard.

That's also due to my ongoing problem of not being proactive enough in open guard, which is a position you can't really sit and wait. I kept Nick's advice about always having your feet off the floor and on your opponent in mind, but think I should be bending my partner's over more (by pushing into their hip and pulling on their sleeve or collar), so they're too off-balance to attack.

I then went with Helen, where I was trying to apply the tips I'd learned about escaping knee on belly, but think I still left my arm dangling too much. I also almost got caught in a footlock, and I'm not sure if I escaped (keeping my foot flat on the floor then pushing on Helen with my other foot to free the first), or if Helen just let go. Either way, must stay aware of footlock defences, even if I'm not keen on using them myself (too injurious, so I'd be too worried about causing somebody long-term damage).

Finished up by rolling with Dominique again, this time having a chance to further practice my half-guard. My main goal was to shift around the leg I'd trapped to secure the grip, so concentrated on getting my hips over. That's obviously easier when your partner is lighter than you, although I was trying not to get into situation where I was clearly just using force rather than technique.

Similarly under side control, I didn't want to try and just fling Dominique over me, as that would be purely a matter of size advantage. While its possible I might get it (I used to go for that as a white belt, IIRC, digging my elbow in and lifting her straight over me), its pretty pointless as that mainly relies on muscle, which in my case is in very short supply. Silly to practice something that only works on a very small group of people, so I wanted to focus on technical bridge and shrimp escapes instead, looking for the half-guard.


  1. Slidey -

    I just want to send you a huge thank you -- I just started BJJ a month ago (at Gracie Barra Ballard in Seattle) and am totally smitten. I found your blog in search of a glossary, and have checked out many of your blog entries and links (especially on history and technique). It's been an extremely helpful way for me to reinforce what I've learned, serves as an introduction to what I might learn in class, and is satisfying some of my (almost disconcertingly voracious) appetite to learn more about BJJ. Know that you're a teacher as well as a student!

    My respects -

  2. Thanks Ellen, much appreciated! Always very cool to hear what I've written has been useful to somebody out there in the real world. :D