14 July 2009

14/07/2009 - Nova Força

Class #233

Nova Força Epsom (BJJ), Ricardo Da Silva, Epsom, UK - 14/07/2009

Huge class this week, which has two main advantages from my perspective. First, a wider range of people to train with, including three women. Secondly, due to space considerations, you are guaranteed rests after rounds of sparring. Naturally its important to build your cardio and get used to applying technique while exhaustion (from a competitive viewpoint, at least), but I always appreciate the chance for a break.

That was especially true today, as the whole lesson was sparring. As the classes at Nova Força are longer than RGA, that means a lot of rolling, even though it kicked off with king of the hill. Ricardo is trying to get people ready for the Brighton Grab and Pull, in the pursuit of which he started with specific sparring.

We went through four or five variations, beginning with mount. I'm still awful at maintaining the top position, so probably spent no more than fifteen seconds or so over the course of three partners. Twice I made the same mistake, keeping my weight too far forward, so they were able to simply bring their legs up and push me past their head. The other time was the usual bridge and roll, as I failed to base properly: I was trying out hooking one of the legs to see how that would help me keep the mount, but still need plenty of work to do that properly.

I felt much more comfortable in half guard, especially as I had the rare opportunity to start on the bottom: normally I'm stuck with the top position in king of the hill. I'm guessing that my first training partner was fairly inexperienced, as he wasn't wearing a gi (not that nogi is any less skilful, but this was a gi class).

My next partner spent most of the roll trying to pop my head off my neck. He was going for an arm triangle, but didn't quite have the position. However, he happily went on squeezing anyway, which wasn't much fun for my neck. In those situations, I don't normally tap, as they're just causing pain rather than applying a submission: no doubt there is a certain amount of ego involved too. So, given that I'm permanently paranoid about injury, it would probably be better to just tap: helping my training partners by only tapping to proper technique is considerably less important to me than my own health.

After half guard, Ricardo moved on to full guard. As ever, I'm terrible passing, and still too passive. One guy simply moved his legs up my hips and came forward to knock me down (which I vaguely remember from a Keith Owen video). I did try standing at one point, grabbing their arm on the side I was stepping forward, but they were still able to reach my other leg.

Following that was a more unusual option. Full guard again, but this time, you weren't allowed to open your guard: as soon as your legs were opened, the spar was over and the other person stayed on. I wasn't quite sure how that worked, however, as you were allowed to open your guard for sweeps and submissions. I guess just not using open guard? I'll have to clarify next time.

Class finished with the opposite, so you weren't allowed to close your guard. In addition, there was another interesting rule, where you couldn't stay in any one position for more than five seconds. That effectively meant the roll became a sort of flow drill, especially as all four of my partners were fairly small and relaxed, like me.

I adjusted from mount and side control back to half guard most of the time, also trying to work a lot of open guard. There was a brief opportunity to work back mount against a beginner, transitioning to an armbar from the back, which was fun. Of course, I'd never get that against anyone experienced, but nevertheless always good to have a chance to play with techniques I rarely get.

I later had a good roll with a fellow blue belt, Andy. We matched up well, as he is about my size, has also been training roughly three years, and like me only gets to train once a week at the moment. I attempted to go for a north-south escape by wriggling out, then trying to swing my legs back over their shoulder for back mount. Instead, I ending up rolling underneath Andy, resulting in what I guess was a sort of inverted guard. I've no clue what to do in that position, so flopped back into open guard. So in effect the escape worked, but it was sloppy on my part, not to mention it wasn't what I intended to do.

Next week, the scouts aren't going to be using the room beforehand, so class will start on time at 20:15. I'll have to remember to leave earlier: today I left at 19:50 and arrived at 20:25, so will aim to depart at 19:35 or so next time (not that I'll be there next week, as I'm going to a seminar at the weekend).

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