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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

07 April 2009

07/04/2009 - BJJ (Beginner)

Class #217

Roger Gracie Academy Kilburn (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 07/04/2009 - Beginner

I was still feeling a bit sore from yesterday, after all that half-guarding, but fortunately Tuesdays are only an hour. Technique started the same as yesterday, with a half guard pass. Jude mentioned a useful additional tip when I asked, which was to push your body forward if you're having trouble getting the shoulder under their chin. That will result in pressure on their face, which will have a similar distracting result.

Also slightly different from yesterday was the option of passing to side control rather than mount. Before passing, bring your legs towards the side you want to reach. Once you've freed your leg by prying it loose, your knee should point off to the side: you then slip through into side control.

The cross choke from mount was the same as usual, with points like bringing your head down to the same side as your top arm. Jude also demonstrated two different grips for the second hand: either palm down with the thumb in their collar, then dropping the elbow across, or alternately knife-handing your way down their face to reach the collar. There was also a third, where you lift up their head, grip behind then loop your arm over into place, but Jude noted that required a fair bit of strength.

While sparring from mount I concentrated on maintaining my position, using my feet and knees to squeeze my way up their body. Normally I wrap my arm under their head and then cling on there, so I wanted to try a more upright posture this time, working my knees under their armpits.

I still couldn't get anything, as I wasn't able to dig my way past Rich's clamped arms. There was the option of shoving my gi in his face, which Rich suggested, but that is purely about causing your partner pain, with the coarse gi material acting as sandpaper. Not very pleasant, and not something I'm willing to do to a training partner. I'd much rather develop a 'clean' method of getting past the arms, rather than relying on their pain tolerance being low.

To that end, I tried Roger's technique, where you put your hand in front of the arms, then drive it through with your hip on the elbow. That sort of worked, though I generally either got swept, couldn't get a deep enough hold, or wasn't able to secure the second grip. Spent both rounds on top, as Rich has hurt his thigh.

Next was guard passage, with one of the white belts. I was looking for collar chokes, but I'm bad at setting them. Simply grabbing a collar and hoping is not too productive, so I'll need to think carefully about how I can work the submission. Same goes for triangle chokes, though I at least have some vague idea of how I want to enter into those (e.g., spider guard, like Renzo shows).

I'm also not getting my sweeps when they stand in my guard: relying too heavily on the handstand, which they're generally avoiding by basing forward. That should mean I can then pull their torso down for chokes and armbars, but again that would require some actual submission skills on my part. ;)

On their knees, I need to be more explosive with my sit-up sweep. Back as a white belt, that used to be my highest percentage attack, but only very rarely land it these days. I could try going for the elbow rather than the shoulder, like Saulo shows it (IIRC), or just greater commitment when driving for the reversal.

My first free spar was with a white belt named Fabio, who for once is closer to my size. That meant I had a lot more options, so tried a bunch of different attacks. Still mainly looking at cross-chokes and triangles, with a brief attempt at a guillotine. As ever I spent some of it in half-guard, almost taking his back but then somehow ending up underneath him with my head by his legs. My back control remains terrible: almost always find myself on the bottom in some ridiculous position, or just guard.

Finally, there was a much bigger white belt, Rodrigo. However, he didn't use his size advantage, instead trying to stay technical, which was good to see. Though he was going very light, I still wasn't able to do all that much. I had a go at a triangle and armbar from mount, but on both occasions left way too much space, so it was a simple matter for Rodrigo to escape.

I had intended to train on Wednesday, but writing this up Wednesday morning, I feel like crap. So, won't be training again until I get back from Cornwall, next Wednesday. Shame to not make my intended three a week, but if I tried tonight, I would feel much, much worse, even assuming I made it through the session pumped up on medication.

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