Roger Gracie Academy Kilburn (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK - 22/04/2009 - Beginner
There wasn't a lot of technique today, just the half-guard choke from yesterday. Sparring started with guard passage, where I had the interesting experience of rolling with somebody smaller than me, which doesn't happen often. As ever, I spent most of my time on the bottom in half guard, aiming to shrimp in order to recover full guard.
I'm trying to rely less on having my legs closed all the time, instead just hooking their outside leg and using that as a base to shrimp. Got back to full guard a few times that way, but as my partner wasn't locking my upper body, that was probably less difficult than it would normally be.
My next partner was a high level blue belt, who is always really helpful. This time, they gave me various tips based on what they've observed from rolling with me, which is awesome: I don't think anyone has done that for me before.
Main thing was to react to what they were doing, rather than have something in mind that I then constantly look to apply. Related to that, I need to use my legs a lot more when in guard, pulling them in, and also pushing them away once my guard is opened.
Finally for guard passage, I went with the teenager again, so this time I was the one giving advice. As with most people who are still fairly new, that was largely related to not leaving space when on top, using your hips and making sure that you trap the leg all the way through the knee pin pass. She was repeatedly easing the pressure midway through her passing, which meant my knee was free. Its something I do too: that's one of the great things about helping others, as it helps you realise your mistakes in turn.
Free sparring was up next, where I return to spar with the blue belt from earlier. That proved to be a continuation of guard passage, as they urged me to react to their positioning. For example, when they're crouched in front of you without good base, simply push them over with your legs and pop up to mount. I'm prone to staying on my back and waiting, rather than seizing opportunities like that.
Class finished with another spar with the teenager, after which I got a load of useful advice from the blue belt. I'd said I was having trouble with passing the spider guard, so they showed me three ways of passing, depending on what the leg is doing.
If its completely straight – a mistake – your hand circles underneath to break the grip, then you drive your hips into the leg and slide down to side control. If its bent, you again circle your arm to break the grip, then bring your same side knee into the back of their leg. Use that to press down and trap the limb, after which you can initiate your pass.
Finally, there was a reminder of Jude's pass, where you get both hands on the leg, yank up, then slide your knee into their ribs. Very helpful to have a reminder on all of those, so now I just need to make sure I remember to try them when I'm caught in spider guard.