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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

18 December 2008

18/12/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #203

Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK – 18/12/2008 - Advanced

Some technical details on the osoto gari tonight, with a useful follow-up. Pull them in and up, step your foot across - not in the middle of their legs – then step your other foot behind, dipping slightly in preparation for the throw. If they anticipate and step their leg around to prevent the trip, you can now simply switch to step behind their other leg, moving your head to the other side of their's, then trip them that way. I had problems getting my left foot close enough that I could step over effectively, so that's something I need to think about next time.

Groundwork consisted of two butterfly guard passes. The first was relatively straight forward. Grab their gi and straighten your arm, making space: you don't want to be close, as that makes you vulnerable to a sweep at this point. With your other hand, grab their opposite gi pant leg and pull downwards. You're steadily attempting to isolate one side of their body, completing the act by raising your same side knee.

Press that knee into their side of their upper thigh, twisting into them and keeping your weight down. Your grip on the back of their gi should also help keep them squashed into the floor. Finally, bring your rear leg over, switching your base, and slide up into side control.

The next pass was rather more complex. This time, grab their sleeve with your same side hand, moving your elbow in close to their body. Your other hand with thread under their leg, grabbing their opposite knee, pushing it to the floor. On the same side, bring your head next to theirs and press into their face with your skull. That should make it difficult for them to initiate an escape.

Get your knee in between their legs, bringing it up tight. Your other knee is going to replace the elbow of the same side arm which is gripping their sleeve: pull up on the sleeve and slide the knee into place. This should enable you to then bring your other leg through, moving straight into mount.

I found it difficult to maintain a firm grasp on the knee, and I also need to press my weight down more, as ever. Christina also noted that arching your back can help to add pressure, as demonstrated by a nearby purple belt.

Guard passage was split by belt, perhaps indicative of things to come with the new system of three class levels rather than just two. I started with a fellow blue belt, and to my surprise, my defensive approach actually paid off for once. I simply waited, readjusting my base and blocking his choke attempts, also shifting my knees to prevent him from sweeping or getting into an armbar position. This went on for quite some time, and eventually he left me enough space to slip through into half-guard, until I could squirm my leg free for mount.

However, I think he must have been quite tired by this point, as he'd been sparring for a while, whereas this was my first roll. It is also possible he was used to taking advantage of more aggressive training partners, so rather than my technique being better today, he just wasn't capitalising as most people swiftly do when I try to stay defensive.

Similarly Gary looked kinda tired, and as he is a big guy, went easy on me. I was looking for the omoplata again, seeing as I was squashed in guard anyway, but to no avail. I also tried to keep in mind the advice yesterday about controlling the head, but Gary has more than enough power to make that a difficult proposition. He eventually gave up from fatigue, as far as I can tell, as I definitely didn't have any kind of submission going.

I kicked off free sparring with Christina, and as ever soon found myself under side control, then knee-on-belly, then she caught an arm as I flailed around trying to curl up defensively. This happens all the time: I really, really need to watch that trailing arm, and develop better defence against knee on belly.

Next was Adam, one of the white belts, which was fairly even. I went to half-guard, concentrating on recovering full guard as usual. I need to work harder to get up on my side, as I keep ending on flat on my back, which is a bad place to be. I did eventually get to closed guard, and then later to mount due to Adam overbalancing (I think that was after we'd gone back to half-guard, but can't quite remember).

My ability to hold mount is poor, so after looking for an armbar and then trying to step up for the triangle, I was rolled back into guard. Mount remains a weak position for me, though I'm trying to implement Roger's handy tip about using your head as a third hand, which almost helped me get the back, but not quite.

Finally, I finished up rolling with Christina again, where much the same thing as before happened. Must keep those elbows in tight, and work on getting to my knees rather than always looking for half-guard. I very pointlessly locked on half-guard while Christina was attacking my arm: the half-guard did absolutely nothing to stop her locking in the armbar, so I should have been aiming to turn to my knees instead.

Chatting to Bruno afterwards, he mentioned that there is apparently going to be a class in Oxford, along with the numerous other RGA locations opening up around London. As I won't have a job to go to after tomorrow, and its christmas so my girlfriend is away, I can make Saturday training. I'm also hoping to double up on Monday, which will mean I make my goal of at least eight classes a month.

Tonight also marks the last time I'll be writing up a class on this particular laptop. It’s a KPMG laptop, so will be returning to the office for good tomorrow. I should be able to borrow a relative's computer afterwards, but I'm looking to buy a new laptop as soon as possible (talking to Christina made me think about Macs, which I've never used before. The reliability and lack of viruses is very tempting, but I'd be worried about compatibility. I have lots of random programs I like to use, like Amiga emulators, DOSBox, Mediaplayer Classic and CDisplay: not sure if any of those work on a Mac, but will have to look into it). It will feel very strange not to have a laptop of my own after heavily relying on them for the past four years.

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