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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

26 May 2009

26/05/2009 - Nova Força

Class #225

Nova Força Epsom (BJJ), Ricardo Da Silva, Epsom, UK - 26/05/2009

Ricardo ran a tough warm-up today, or at least it was for me: reminiscent of the lessons Jude used to run back at RGA. Class also started earlier, as the mats were already down by the time I cycled in at 08:20, but finished the same time as usual.

First technique was an armbar from the back. You have one hook in, with your other leg based out behind you. The hand on the same side as the hook reaches through their armpit to their collar, while your other hand grips their other elbow. Note that you're not directly on their back, as they could easily roll you off, but instead slightly to the side (useful tip from brown belt Tim, who was really helpful throughout the technical part of class).

On the side where you're hooking, bring out your arm to base. The aim is to get them to try and grab that arm (which is why you're holding the other elbow: if they reach with the opposite arm, it messes up the technique). You can now push down their head, then swing your rear leg up, putting the shin on the back of their head.

Next, swivel under their outstretched arm, simultaneously scooping with your free arm, trapping it in the crook of your elbow (make sure their arm is twisted as you do so, until their thumb points directly away from your body). Also keep turning the rest of your body, so that the leg which was on their head goes right under their arm, knee up. You should now have their arm squished between both your knees, at the same time controlling it with both of your arms. That puts you in perfect position to secure the armbar.

In the likely event that they try to roll forward to escape the technique, stay where you are. You can still finish from the same position, using your shin across their neck to keep them from sitting up.

Ricardo followed that with a sweep, which I think I've seen on an old Fabio Gurgel video. Begin by breaking their grip: Tim demonstrated how to do this properly. Both your hands are on top, bunching up the gi material, then you yank their arm up and towards your head.

You can now pull the arm past their body and immediately bring your own arm over their back, then spin on top. You'll still have one foot by their hip, which you turn towards the floor as you move to their back.

Your free leg steps out, also basing with your arm for balance, while your other arm grips their same side elbow. To finish the sweep, push off with your free leg and pull their elbow in, rolling them into a variation of mount.

After some takedown sparring, where I fumbled as usual effectively waiting to be thrown, my first free spar was with Lindsey. Like last week, I was looking for triangles, but couldn't quite secure the right control. I'm able to get my legs up and crossed, pulling their body in, but then they normally slip their arm free and posture up.

There were no rests today, so straight into the next spar, with a brown belt (Jared, I think?) This time I spent the whole spar trying to escape, mainly from knee-on-belly. I was able to squirm free on a few occasions, but I need to shrimp more, and also bring my knee to my elbow to stop them simply replacing the position. Eventually got caught in an armbar at the end, but presumably he was going easy, so could have secured something else earlier on.

Third spar was with a big, aggressive white belt, exactly the kind of person I tended to avoid at RGA. Its good to experience that kind of roll once in a while, though its not something I enjoy. After repeatedly posting on my face (legitimate technique, but again, not something I'm used to), he was able to lock on an Americana from side control. I worked my way free by turning towards the arm, but later he was able to lock it on again.

This time I was able to get on top in his guard, so I thought that would give me leverage to escape. I was wrong: he cranked it from his guard. I assume that you should be able to prevent that when you're on top, but I didn't want to risk my shoulder. In fact, probably should have tapped earlier, so we could restart and I could work some other position.

I also had the dubious pleasure of being stuffed into his armpit, where he was trying to smother my face. Getting my head squeezed wasn't pleasant, but I still had enough room to breathe. Not exactly sure what he was going for, but probably needed to adjust something to secure the submission (maybe get his arm under my chin).

Finally, I rolled with Mark, who like last week was looking for chokes: another useful reminder to be more careful about protecting my neck! For my part, I was still looking for triangles, but as with Lindsey, couldn't stop them slipping out. It was a little more varied than just from guard this time, as I was also playing with the reverse triangle from under side control, as well as sort of jumping into a sloppy triangle from open guard.

I think the problem was that I failed to control the head, so their posture wasn't properly broken. I should have been pressing down on the back of the head, then adjusting my legs from there to get into position. I also need to review my defences to the Americana, as I don't think I'm doing that right either.


  1. Pah, those aggressive white belts. Have they no respect for us elder blues????
    I remember getting caught with same Americana when I was a freshly minted blue and he, not even wearing a gi yet, secured a tight enough lock to make me tap. Grrrrr. Never again I vowed.

  2. Easier on the ego when they're bigger, but harder on the arm. ;)