Roger Gracie Academy Kilburn (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 25/03/2009 - Beginner
Annoyingly came down with something last week, which meant I wasn't able to finally get into a regular pattern of BJJ as I'd hoped. 2009 in general has been pretty poor so far in terms of consistent grappling, but I'm aiming to train three times a week next month, so I get back to my preferred average of at least twice a week (yay for spreadsheets which make that easy to work out).
I read an excellent blog yesterday, called The Manly Odyssey. It is by a guy who trains with Pedro Bessa in Bristol, and in it he talks about a long trip he took through Asia. The reason this was so awesome is that he and his friend George did plenty of training on the way through, meaning this effectively becomes an improved version of The Last Wrestlers: no weird sexist theories about women, just lots of grappling and entertaining travel anecdotes.
Class tonight was on knee-on-belly, though things started with three rounds of guard passage. I started with one of the blue belts, and again tried to get into the habit of standing up to pass. Obviously didn't pass, but its getting more natural now to get onto my feet. Also spent lots of time in my usual passive position defending chokes, but hopefully I can gradually either steer into standing up, or somehow get better at passing on the knees (the latter is rather unlikely at the moment. Would be great to have a private lesson on it some time, so once I get a job, will probably try and do that).
With the white belts, things got more entertaining. As Jude's academy only opened this year, there are lots of absolute beginners. That meant I could work on my weaknesses, like submissions. I played around with the loop choke from Renzo's DVD a few times, where I think my problem is that I'm not getting enough gi material to pull across, and I'm also not managing to get it into the throat properly.
I also had a go at some of his triangle set-ups, which did get me in position, but then my foot kept cramping up when I tried to lock it in. Presumably a combination of bad technique and poor diet or something: I wasn't getting my shin sufficiently far back either. There was an opportunity to play with one of stranger options from Kukuk, which I think is a double armbar (starts by locking legs around their shoulders), but needless to say that didn't go anywhere.
Jude then demonstrated the kimura from knee on belly, which also brought up lots of useful tips on the position itself. First you need to get there: from side control, grab the back of their collar, your other hand on their hip. Press-up and drive your knee through, keeping the toes of that leg off the floor. You can now put pressure on your partner, by pulling up on their collar and their knee.
In order to give their stomach some relief, their natural reaction is to put their hands on your knee. As soon as they do that, push their hand to the floor and sprawl backwards. It is important here to keep your weight on them, so twist your hips and get into a diagonal position on their shoulder. Next, step the leg nearest their head over, bringing your foot to their face.
As my partner said, this is the essential part: concentrate on getting that heavy pressure, rather than focusing on the submission and thereby losing your positional control. Once you've got them trapped underneath you, apply the kimura by twisting their arm and slightly raising their body up.
If they manage to resist the kimura by grabbing onto their belt or gi, you can change your position to still land the submission. Maintaining your kimura grip, twist your body and pull them up, bringing your legs around their head as you do so. That will mean you are now sitting on their head with your feet crossed underneath it.
Now you're ready to break their grip. Keeping their arm tight to your chest, release the hold you have on your own wrist and instead grasp your own collar (you're still be controlling their arm with your forearm). To weaken their hold, turn their wrist clockwise, using the hand holding their wrist as well as brining your forearm up. With their wrist turned, they will only be able to hold on with a finger and thumb rather than their whole fist, meaning that you can now pull the arm free and push their wrist down and to the side for the tap.
Once we got to sparring, I was with a typically eager white belt. Almost the whole time, I was lying under half guard, where I so frequently end up. The recurring problem is that I tend to have my head on one side and my legs on the other. That limits my technique, as the only sweep I know (the basic 'pull their arm over' from here) requires your head to be on the same side as the trapped leg, as would taking their back. I'm still looking to recover guard from here as my first option, so need to review the technique for that.
It is a bit pointless just flopping around in their half guard, so I tried giving my partner mount. Almost immediately ended up back in half guard. Next time I find myself in that situation, I think I'll need to make a conscious effort to completely avoid using half guard, and instead focus on the bridge and roll from under mount, or wedge myself under side control so I can work escapes from there.
Next week should be three sessions, but that depends on if I manage to stay healthy. My niece has come down with conjunctivitis, which is contagious, so not sure if I'll be able to avoid it (trying to just wash my hands a lot, but I've read the bacteria is airborne, so that may not help much. But hey, at least I'll have really clean hands).