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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a purple belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©2004-2016 Can Sönmez

20 December 2008

20/12/2008 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #204



Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Nick Gregoriades, London, UK – 20/12/2008 - Advanced

Not having a job means more time for training! So, sparring class tonight, which I'll hopefully follow with doubling up on Monday. That will also give me the chance to either go take another look round the National Gallery, or perhaps check out the exhibition at the Royal Academy. I'm intending to do the afternoon class followed by the evening session, which leaves me a good chunk of time to indulge in some great art.

My first roll tonight was with Christina, where I was trying to remember to watch my trailing arm. Arm placement under side control came up again, with Christina advising to avoid putting the forearm under the neck (having just applied an Americana after I did so). Wedging the forearm underneath is my standard defensive position under side control, but clearly I'm not doing it right if I'm leaving that arm open. From what I remember of Kevin's advice from a while back, I think my problem is that I'm not tucking my elbow under their armpit, meaning it is more vulnerable to submission.

Tran offered similar advice when I asked him where he puts his arm under side control, also saying that you should it to make space then quickly slip the arm through, so you can turn to your knees. I hardly ever turn to my knees, as I'm far too used to staying on my back. That probably is part of the reason why I so frequently find myself struggling under knee-on-belly, against both Christina and Tran. I'm continuing to attempt to use my elbow to shrimp out, but need to come up more on my side.

Dominique was at the academy too tonight, so I was keen to get in a roll with her. I managed to sweep from under half guard, though as ever I’m not sure if weight difference had something to do with that. Whether or not it did, I still had trouble passing half-guard, again attempting the one where you swing your free leg over, but I don’t think I’m trapping their head sufficiently, or putting them flat enough on their back. I did eventually squeeze past, but mainly because Dom was already knackered from a tough spar with Christina.

The fourth spar was with Lubo, who I also haven’t seen for a fair while. He normally trains at Mill Hill, but several of the people from there were in attendance tonight. He repeatedly choked me out on top of half-guard, and also kept catching me with the exact same entry and sweep when we started from the knees. I’m crappy at guard passing closed guard, but even worse against open guard.

That was driven home in my final spar with Jude. I was pretty clueless in trying to get past his legs, especially when he also secured a grip on my sleeve. I spent the rest of the spar flung around by his legs, and then repeatedly put in various collar chokes. He was taking it easy, so gave me a chance to escape, but even when I laboriously worked my way free, I immediately got caught in another. Also, as with all my sparring today, I’m being too flat on my back when on the bottom.

Maurição announced that Jude would be leaving the main academy to head up the instruction at RGA’s new Kilburn location. Jude has taught me most often out of the many black belts at RGA, so it will be sad to see him go. Of course, I’ll be going myself next month: my hope is that I’ll have found a new job in the Midlands by February, but if not, I might look into training with an RGA affiliate.

Chatting to Dominique, Mill Hill might be a good option, as there is the possibility of paying per lesson rather than a monthly fee, which would be handy now that I have considerably less disposable income. Shall have to look into it if I’m still near London in two months.

After class, a bunch of us headed off to a meal organised by Christina at Bodean's, not too far from the academy. Good food and reasonable prices (along with awesome company, of course!), plus the service was really good. The manager kept coming up to check we were ok, and seemed both friendly and personable. Was also cool to see Oli D again, who now trains with Ben at the Farringdon class: he's one of the first people I met back when he used to train at RGA.

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