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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

31 March 2009

31/03/2009 - BJJ (Beginner)

Class #214

Roger Gracie Academy Kilburn (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 31/03/2009 - Beginner

Fellow UK blogger Jadon announced a great idea for a trip: travelling to every BJJ club in the country (so if you're a club owner in the UK, would be cool if you could help him out). He's dubbing it 'The Great BJJ Pilgrimage', meaning you'll know what to look for if he ever releases a book.

It is something I'm sure most of us would love to do, including me. I'd head for the US rather than the UK: once I finally get myself a job and feel financially secure again, I'm planning to get some training in around California. The history of international BJJ starts there, so I'd enjoy taking a look at the Gracie Museum, then somewhere like Hollywood BJJ.

Admittedly, it also interests me because going by my blog stats, I get the most US hits from California, followed by New York and Texas, so would be especially cool to roll with anyone who reads this. It will only be brief (week or two), and certainly not going to be checking out every club. Maybe three or four at most, depending on how much sweaty man-rolling action my gf lets me get away with. ;p

I'm glad to see that my map is proving of use: once the Pilgrimage gets started, I'll stick in links on the map to Jadon's blog posts for each club. If I can work it out, would be nice to get some kind of 'follow Jadon' thing going: will have a play when he starts it.

Tonight's class followed on directly from yesterday. Jude kicked off with a turnover from turtle he showed the white belts yesterday (higher belts were told to drill something else, so I didn't have a chance to try it until today). Lapel choke again: arms straighten. You start on the side of their turtle, knee up behind and other knee in close to their near side, to stop them rolling out. Grab their gi lapel on the near side and yank it loose, then feed that through to your other hand. Make sure that as you do that, you don't reach your other hand in underneath their body: otherwise, they can overhook it and roll into a dominant position.

Once you've secured a grip on the gi, you'll now have a useful handle strapped across their waist. Grab their near-side elbow, then step your rear leg over to the far side. Roll them back towards the near side, get your hooks in, and move to rear mount. From here, rear naked choke.

After we'd gone through the lapel choke again, time for guard passage. I went with Rich, who is becoming a regular training partner (mainly because he's one of the few other blues at Kilburn, and therefore much less of an injury risk). Yet again I tried the star sweep off the handstand sweep, and yet again I got armbarred for my trouble. Still not staying tight enough, and I think I'm also rushing it, which means its sufficiently sloppy that my arm is left ripe for the bending.

On top, I'm continuing to force myself to stand up. Keep getting swept shortly afterwards, but then I'm never going to get it unless I work through that significant obstacle first. The problem is to do with my legs getting hooked, as is so often the difficulty with standing in guard. If I don't put my leg forward, its tough to stand up, but if I do, its easy to hook and initiate a sweep. Ideally I'd grab the sleeve on that side so I remove to risk of getting my leg hooked, but I've been finding it tough to secure the arm so far. Practice makes perfect, as ever.

Much the same thing with my next partner, another blue belt. I also still need to work on recovering closed guard from half guard, where the problem this time is getting a grip on the sleeve and opposite knee, then my foot under their trapped knee with the other foot pressing on their calf. I should also be mixing that up with some other options, like maybe the old school, along with my favoured functional half guard from Indrek Reiland.

In sparring with the same two partners, similar problems with half-guard, and I also need to watch for chokes from mount. I had thought Rich was going for a normal cross choke, which would mean when I rolled to guard, defending would be fairly straightforward: posture, squish elbows together, strip top arm away. However, it was actually an ezequiel, which meant that rolling to guard didn't help at all, as he already had it locked on.

Class is only an hour on Tuesdays and Thursday, so that wrapped up things for tonight. Should be training again on Wednesday: I plan to continue three times a week until I get my average back up to at least twice a week, as per my very geeky spreadsheet (the offline version is even geekier than the one I have up on Google Docs, which doesn't quite get to that level of detail).

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