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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

30 May 2009

30/05/2009 - Nova Força

Class #227

Nova Força Epsom (BJJ), Ricardo Da Silva, Epsom, UK - 30/05/2009

I noticed when I first checked out the Nova Força site that Ricardo has written a book (under the 'our manual' link on the left), along with the guy who owned the club's previous location at Sleeping Storm. Didn't give it much thought, but looking through the excerpt yesterday, it appears to have an interesting take on BJJ history. As I'm always looking for more sources for my history of BJJ post, may well pick this up. I meant to ask about it in training (in case Ricardo had some in stock and sold them cheaper than Amazon), so will try to remember next time. Not that there's a rush, but would be a nice thing to buy before I leave (which at the latest will be August).

Technique today was based around the half butterfly position, which I've only heard of because of that thing Aesopian wrote about it a while back. Very helpfully, Ricardo taught in such a way that both partners are working, rather than just acting as a training dummy for the other, because he showed how to get to the half butterfly as well as how to pass.

Ricardo started with the transition from half guard to half butterfly, where your partner has an underhook. Bring your arm over and grab their belt, then making sure your other hook stays tight, step out your same side leg and shrimp. That should give you enough room to move your hips backs under and putting your free foot under their leg (coming inside their leg, not outside).

For the pass, bring your head to other side, gripping their opposite collar. You then drop your bodyweight out to the side, twisting your hip slightly outwards. That should help negate their hooking foot, meaning you can now put your own foot on top of their leg. Push to free your trapped leg, then keeping your hips down, pull up on their arm and you move through to scarf hold.

Next, Ricardo showed a half butterfly sweep. This time you've got an underhook on them rather than an overhook, which puts you in a far stronger position. Grab their other arm and pull it under their body, while simultaneously lifting them up and over with your hooking foot.

If you're the one on top, in order to pass, you need to time it so that as soon as your leg leaves the floor, you immediately twist your hips to the side. This needs to be in one motion: Ricardo noted I was shimmying my hips the other way first, which is both unnecessary and means you miss the window of opportunity. Quickly put your weight onto them, leaning back towards their legs.

Don't pause there, as they could still shrimp out and try to take your back: to prevent that, you need to use your elbow to dig into their armpit, establishing an underhook. From there, switch your hips and go to side control.

Ricardo is really good about walking round and correcting technique: he's given me useful pointers every time I've been so far (which I've added to the technical descriptions). He went a step beyond that today, and managed to give me pointers on a technique from a previous lesson, which was awesome. That's because he saw my blog, and noticed I'd written up the technique on the butterfly sweep from a short while ago incorrectly. I left out a important part where you push on their arm, rather than simply holding the gi, so will go change that now (hopefully I can find the right bit).

Specific sparring from that the half butterfly position, I was able to get a sweep on a white belt, though I think it was from being generally squirmy rather than the specific sweep we learned today. I later managed to pass the same guy twisting my hips when on top, but not on anyone else. Still too static on top of half guard, so as with all my passing (which is terrible from every guard variation), needs lots of work.

Free sparring started off with Tony, who I haven't rolled with before. Apparently he has a reputation for being a bit uncontrolled: either way, stayed pretty relaxed with me, as I looked for triangles again, trying to get head control. I was also, as before, attempting to rotate on my shoulders and use my legs to keep them away in open guard.

Next was someone known as Tubes (easy to remember, as its written on his belt), who also went light. With him I was mostly trying to escape side control and knee on belly, spending a few brief spots in guard. Definitely need to time my bridging better, not to mention bridge more in general: I'm tending to wait for them to move and then shrimping, which is dangerously passive under knee-on-belly.

Rolled with Mark after that, where I finally managed to get some semblance of a standing pass going. He was grabbing one of my arms in guard, so I grabbed his and then stood up, stepping my foot forward on that side. However, he came up with me, which I'm not used to (as I normally I just get swept), so while I did open his guard, slammed my knee into the mat.

Kinda jarring, so went floppy for a little while to try and relieve the pain. After that, again looking for triangles, rotating on shoulders and using my legs. Playing around with reverse triangles under side control continues to be fun, but I'm not getting anywhere the right position.

I also need to be careful I don't knee people in the face, as a lot of those techniques require flinging your legs around. That's less of a problem if they're standing, where I attempted to go to reverse De La Riva as per Saulo's DVD. I'm feeling slightly more stable there than before, but very early stages, so landing a sweep off it will take loads more practice.

Continuing on the theme of sweeps, I had a go at getting into position for the spider guard technique Tim showed me a couple of days ago. I don't yet have the timing or the set-up, but I quite often find myself with a shin in their stomach and one leg wrapped around their arm, so I'll continue to work on it.

My final spar was with the aforementioned Tim, by which point I was completely knackered, but that doesn't matter so much with higher belts. As there is such a skill gap between a brown and a blue belt, that means sparring with them is normally relaxed. Main thing Tim said afterwards was a basic but essential part of escapes: I'm being too flat, when I should be fighting to get on my side.

He also showed an interesting option for escaping knee on belly, as it contravenes the cardinal rule about not pushing their knee with your hand. You have to be quick, but IIRC (and I think I'm missing a lot of details here, but better to have some notes down rather than forget it completely), push, shrimp then go for a single leg. If they go for the usual armbar by bringing their arm through, pummel your hand back into position to stop them spinning for a submission.

Class is two hours on Saturday, so that covers off a decent weak of training, by my standards at least. My left arm is complaining about it (the cycling probably doesn't help either, especially as I have to keep tensing it when bumping over potholes in the semi-dark), but should be recovered by Tuesday.

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