Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Gustavo Dos Santos Pires, London, UK - 26/01/2009 - Intermediate
As you can probably gather from the lack of posts, I decided to concentrate on interview preparation since my last class on the 12th. As I’ll be busy Wednesday, that means tonight is going to be my last class at RGA, at least for the moment (might well return to London to work some time in the future).
Bullshido has had an interesting new addition, in the form of Mark Tripp. While he registered back in 2005, Tripp only just starting posting this month, and has already shared a bunch of great stories from his many years of experience:
Mark Tripp’s Background
Tokyo Police Aikido
The ‘KI’ Master
Choked Out by Gene LeBell
Gene LeBell’s Advice On Respecting the Tap
The Seagal Incident
Chuck Norris ‘Kills’ Gene LeBell
The Silat Challenge
Well worth checking out the threads those posts came from, particularly if you’re keen on grappling.
Getting back to tonight’s final class at RGA, which was also the first time I’ve been taught by Gustavo for a while. As usual, he showed us some open guard sweeps, from a sort of spider guard position. One foot is pressed into their same side bicep, while that side hand is gripping their opposite collar. Your other hand is holding their same side sleeve, while the foot on that side goes against their hip.
Starting with them standing up in this position, Gustavo demonstrated how you can pull them into two basic submissions. First, you can drag them into a triangle, by yanking on the sleeve, raising your hips and flinging your legs into the triangle. Alternately, if they twist, you can shift the foot on the bicep to slide under their armpit, pull on their sleeve and bring your other leg over their head for the armbar.
Gustavo then showed us two sweeps, for when they have their knee raised up to block armbars and triangles. For the first sweep, take the foot you have on their hip and instead weave it under their thigh and hook with your instep (so, sort of De La Riva position). Pull on their sleeve, this time bringing their arm out, then back under their own leg (Paxton described it as a ‘looping punch’ motion). You can now use that momentum to shove them over, ending up in side control.
Finally, you could instead switch your grips, so that instead of holding their lapel, grab their sleeve with both hands. Then straighten out the leg by their raised knee, so that its lying alongside them. Switch the hand nearest that leg from their sleeve to their same side heel.
Now swing your other leg all the way over past their head, so that you are facing away from them on all fours, but still maintaining a grip on both their sleeve and their heel. Again straighten out the leg nearest theirs, then pulling on their heel, continue your roll, knocking them over your own leg and shifting around to side control (you could also try and go straight through into mount, but their knee may be in the way. If that’s the case, follow your momentum to go through to side control).
I had trouble stripping Paxton’s grips in specific sparring from the closed guard, as his hands were glued to my hips. I only managed to do anything much when he made a mistake, and the same was true on top. At one point he tried to switch from a triangle to an armbar and I squeezed past, and on another occasion I think he was going for some sort of sweep, but there was enough force that I could bounce right over into side control.
In free sparring, I began with Melissa, who was stopping over in London on her way to the European Championships in Portugal at the weekend. She wanted to start from standing, presumably to prepare for that competition. After a bit of wibbling round, I eventually pulled guard, then spent most of my time squirming to get into half guard. Melissa loves going for chokes, so I also found myself constantly defending against that too. I’m still being too complacent, shoving an arm in between when she went for the cross choke. That did give me enough leverage to shift my hips over and get into a position where I could push back against the choke with my legs and get breathing room, but its a bad tactic. I should instead be trying to prevent the choke altogether, rather than just delay it: anyone stronger than me is liable to still get the choke despite my weedy arm-wedge.
For my last ever spar at RGA, I didn’t want to pick just anybody, and therefore waited for Paxton. He’s been a great training partner ever since he started at RGA, a few months after me, so it was satisfying way to finish my time at the academy.
I managed to roll him over from side control to come out on top, but with the important caveat that whereas I’d just sat out two rounds, Paxton had been rolling. Had we both been equally knackered, I doubt I could have reversed him like that. Similarly, I escaped from several choke attempts from mount, knee-on-chest and the back through repeated bridging, but that is much easier when you’re fresh.
I had a go at the ‘running man’ escape from side control Saulo demonstrates, but did it wrong so basically just gave up my back. I’d earlier also tried Damian Maia’s side control escape, where instead of pressing a forearm into the neck, he wraps his arm over their head. I’d be wary of getting submitted that way, but had some success with Melissa using Maia’s technique.
Not entirely sure where I’ll be training next week, but should hopefully be able to sort something out. I’d like to return to RGA some day, if I ever find myself working in London again, but we shall see. Would be very cool to head back and see all my old training partners flying up the belts. :D