Uplands School, (BJJ), Roy Dean, Poole, UK - 24/07/2009
I was pleasantly surprised a while ago by an email asking if I'd be interested in attending a Roy Dean seminar, so of course jumped at the chance. £30 for two days with an instructor I very much admire was a great opportunity. I've been looking forward to this weekend of training for several months now.
Kirsty, Steve and Paul very generously allowed me to stay at their home, and proved to be excellent hosts, laying on food, and even washing and drying one of the two gis I'd brought. There was also a rather nice present waiting for me, which was an early release copy of Roy Dean's new DVD, Purple Belt Requirements. I will of course have a review up shortly. ;)
As I was there the day before the seminar, I was able to head down to a class Roy held at Uplands School. He didn't waste much time on the warm-up, using the armbar from guard as a way of getting the blood flowing. After that, it was straight into technique. A lot of technique.
Roy's theme tonight was countering submissions, ending up with a submission of your own. That kicked off with a counter to the armbar from guard. As you feel them moving into the armbar, get your forearm behind their leg. Press that hand down to the floor on the far side, then swing your arms through, thrusting your chest out to get past the legs into side control.
Roy followed that with an additional option. Having blocked the leg with your forearm, you can push them to the side, grabbing their trousers or belt to help. The idea is to roll them into the turtle position.
Once there, you can attack with a sliding choke. Start by getting one arm under their same side armpit, grabbing the same side collar. Open it up, bringing your other arm over their same side shoulder. You can now feed that open collar to your second hand, securing a deep grip.
The other grips lower down, on the opposite lapel. To secure the choke, pull down on that lapel, while twisting the other hand and pulling back. Alternately, you can also executed a clock choke, from the same position. Instead of tightening with your hands, walk your legs gradually around past their head, dropping your head towards their neck. This will tighten the choke for you, until you get the tap.
Yet another option is to move into a crucifix, again starting from the turtle. As before, you've reached under their armpit, opened the same side collar and fed it to the other hand, which comes over the shoulder. Your free hand goes under their armpit again, but this time grabs the wrist, pulling it inwards.
This will break their posture. Making sure you have their other arm trapped between you legs, you can now roll over your shoulder in the direction of your grips. That puts your partner in a crucifix. From here, release the hold on the wrist, instead moving your arm out along their arm up to the crook of their elbow. Controlling their arm, bring your hand behind their head. You can now go for the submission, in conjunction with that grip on their collar you still have from earlier.
Roy then demonstrated an armbar from knee-on-belly, followed by a defence. Once you've secured knee on belly, often your opponent will push on the knee with their hand to relieve the pressure. That opens up an opportunity for a submission. Reach through the frame formed by their arm, gripping underneath, then post your other hand for base near their head.
You can then spin, bringing your leg over their head, continuing until your knee is pointing up beside their arm, on the side nearest their knees. You should also have you other leg over their throat, after which you can drop down and back for the armbar, keeping your knees pinched.
The counter to a knee-on-belly armbar is comparatively simple. First, you need to turn your hand so that your thumb is no longer pointing to the ceiling. This will give you a moment to escape, as they will either have to get your thumb back up, or shift into a position where they can still hyperextend your arm in a different direction.
Look towards their feet, also gripping their nearest leg. From here, kick your legs up and back, rolling over your shoulder. Now you can move into your own knee-on-belly, ready to launch an attack.
Finally, Roy progressed to footlocks, which fits with the pattern he sets in Blue Belt Requirements. First off was a straight footlock (I think an Achilles lock, but not sure on the correct terminology).
From standing, you step your foot across to the opposite bum cheek. Wrap an arm around their Achilles, pressing into the tendon with your wrist. Hold their knee with your other hand to keep their leg tight, then sit down. You other leg comes over the top, then in a sort of guillotine hold on the Achilles, drop back, squeeze and thrust your hips up for the tap. Alternately you can also roll to your side to get more leverage.
The footlock counter begins by getting their foot off your hip, also bringing your toes back on the trapped foot to tense the tendon, buying you a brief bit of time to escape. Having dislodged their foot from the hip, reach for their opposite knee, your free hand going back for balance. From there, you can move through to mount.
If they roll to the side for the footlock, you can use a similar strategy. Clearing their foot is still the essential detail, but this time that means bringing your body over the top, so you just bring your hips to the other side of the foot. Once again, you now move through to mount. Must have been a grip of some sort involved in there, but its been submerged in my mountain of notes (possibly that's where you move into knee on belly and armbar, so I may have got the order of class mixed up).
Sparring was done in long rounds, which I didn't realise at first. I started off with a big white belt called Gareth, where I basically stayed squashed underneath, looking to go to half guard. I made some vague attempts at a triangle, but I'm not getting sufficient head control, and also get immediately stacked, preventing me achieving the right position.
Next up was Kirsty, one of the small UK group who has travelled out to Bend in order to train at Roy's academy there. She was able to hold a solid side control, so again I found myself stuck underneath. I probably should have bumped more to make space for an escape, or at least get onto my side. However, as I knew I had to keep going for rather longer than I'm used to, I gave in the laziness and just waited.
I did eventually find myself with the opportunity to go for a triangle a couple of times, but on each occasion, Kirsty shrugged it off and moved right back into side control. Later I managed to move into her guard, where again I took the strategy of waiting for an opportunity.
That led to getting top half guard, though I think that was quite possibly a matter of boring my training partner into opening some space, which is a crappy tactic. As ever, I need to be more proactive.
Looking forward to the main seminar tomorrow, which is going to be intense: four hours of training, followed by another four the next day. My notebook is going to be rammed with technique: I was surprised by just how much Roy packed into the lesson. Pretty much every other lesson I've been to at other BJJ schools teaches no more than three or four techniques at most.
However, chatting to Roy afterwards, I can see why he takes this route instead. This is his first visit to the UK, brought out by Steve and the other UK residents who fly out to Bend in order to train. Therefore Roy wanted to get as much technique in as possible, making the most out of the brief time he has here with his British students.
After the class, we headed back to the flat for an extremely tasty barbecue (again, supplied by our generous hosts), while watching the entirety of UFC Ultimate 100: Greatest Fights. Of course, that title is a misnomer, given that there are several glaring omissions like Frank Shamrock, but it was entertaining nonetheless.
I also got to chat at length to Roy, his students, and the UK crew, which was really cool. Great food, great company, and a great seminar to forward to the next day.