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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

06 April 2009

06/04/2009 - BJJ (Beginner)

Class #216



Roger Gracie Academy Kilburn (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 06/04/2009 - Beginner

Tonight's class was perfect for me, as Jude went through several basic half guard techniques. I wasn't expecting to see that for a while, as Kilburn is mostly beginners, but nevertheless very useful stuff from my perspective.

Jude began with the fundamental half guard pass where you squeeze your knee through by trapping their leg. Start by getting one arm under their head and the other past their armpit, gable gripping your hands. Having secured that grip, drive your shoulder under their chin: this is essential, as the pass will be difficult without that heavy pressure.

Slide your free knee towards their other armpit, while coming up on the toes of your trapped foot. Once your free foot has enough space, bring it over their leg and push into their calf. At the same time, try to squeeze your trapped leg out of their half-guard, shoving your shoving under their chin the whole time.

I've always had trouble with this escape, but the way Jude showed this as really shoving that leg off of yours was helpful. Previously I thought the foot on the calf was more of a block, but I see now its a push. The combination of that push with the pull of your trapped leg is one of the important details I'd been missing.

Next, Jude demonstrated recovering guard from half-guard. That is something I've been trying to do for a while, so was especially pleased to see it broken down. You're underneath half guard, with your head on the opposite side to the leg you've trapped, with your forearm pressing into their throat.

Clamp down on their calf with your inside leg. Bring your other foot out slightly to bridge, then block their hip with your hand. Using space you've just created, bring your inside knee through and replace guard. In other words, this is exactly like recovering guard from mount, in terms of mechanics, in that the shrimp is all-important. As ever, its in the hips.

That then moved on to taking the back from half guard, using what I've seen referred to as 'deep half-guard'. You'll be shrimping again, same as before, but this time, you aren't aiming to recover guard. Instead, once you've made space with your bridge, swim the arm you have against their throat under their armpit instead, securing the underhook.

You can now knock them forward with that arm, aiming to slip down towards their leg, coming onto your side. Make sure your head is also free, on the same side as their trapped leg. To finish, link both arms behind their trapped knee and knock them forward again. That should kill their balance, leaving you to move to your knees, then take their back.

Sparring from half-guard I didn't have much success applying the technique, but then that's to be expected when everybody knows what you're going for. I'm still tending to stall in half-guard, but at least I now have some further options, which don't require me to get my head on the same side as their trapped leg. I'm getting too flattened out, and being too cautious about controlling them with just one leg (which would give me the option of bridging off the other).

On top, I'm leaving too much space and not getting my hips down enough. I'm also having trouble dealing with the arm in my throat: that is currently preventing me putting enough pressure with my shoulder into their throat. I repeatedly found that Rich opened up space with his forearm, then got to his side. From there it was a simple matter for him to either reach his knees or reverse me.

Guard passage also followed a typical pattern, though again, I do now have clearer goals thanks to Jude's help last week. Getting the knee up and hips forward is the first aim, then I need to establish better base when I stand. I also need to do a much better job of stripping their grips, or preventing them altogether. My posture must improve for that, as currently I'm being broken down too easily.

Underneath guard, I was trying cross-chokes and triangles, but without being sufficiently tight. With the triangle, I couldn't lock my legs properly, swiftly getting stacked and losing the position. I also had a quick go at a guillotine from half-guard top, in the hope that might help the pass, but again that didn't go anywhere. Not to mention my sparring partner, a relatively stocky white belt, was taking it easy anyway, as he was concerned about the size difference.

Full sparring with Rich led to yet more stalling in half-guard, and I'm also giving up mount way too easily. I need to get into a better defensive posture quicker, rather than looking to snatch half-guard, ending up flat and without many options if I miss it.

Finally, I was with another big white belt looking to try and avoid using his considerable weight advantage. This time I was quite happy to at least have half guard to keep some kind of control, and after a cycle of him making a few steps towards passing before I readjusted to regain a more solid half-guard, I managed to get on top. After passing to side control, I was looking to switch to half-guard and step over for an armbar, but time ran out. Doubtful I would have got anything anyway, but always fun to try.

I'm looking to get in three again this week, especially as I'll only have one evening free next week. We'll see how my body holds up, and if my sister has to work late on Tuesday or Wednesday.

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