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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

24 August 2009

24/08/2009 - BJJ (No-gi)

Class #239

Combat Athletics, (BJJ), Rich Green, Coventry, UK - 24/08/2009

[I fly to Turkey on the 30th August, and won't be back until the 17th September. I had planned to get in another training session after this one, but as it turned out I was busier than I expected on Tuesday. So, tonight was to be my last session for a while, and my last session in Coventry]

As appears to be the norm for classes at Combat Athletics, Rich began with more mobility drills, again based around guard retention. This was done in pairs, starting with you lying on the floor, while your partner stands above you. Shrimp away from their knee and return to a square on position, then after they walk back up to your hips, shrimp away again. Once you get to the end of the room, switch over.

That then progresses with your partner kneeling above you with one leg raised, then into mount. This is definitely a useful method of practicing shrimping, as it really drives home the applicability: its all too easy to treat it as some isolated exercise when you're just shrimping up and down the room, with no resistance except the friction of the mat.

Not only was this useful for the person on the bottom, but it later became a good drill for the person on top, too. As the person underneath shrimps, the person on top tries to move round to the back or side control. Rich used that to show how it can be difficult to prevent the person on top doing that if they anticipate your efforts to escape.

Naturally, that immediately leads to the guard retention solution. This requires a modification to the shrimping method, making sure you bring your top leg through (so, if your hips are shrimping out to the right, this will be your right leg). As they try to move around to pass, use the foot of that top leg to hook under their leg. This will mean that you are now effectively attached to them: if they try to step past, you'll be dragged to face them. To finish, use that hook to readjust into butterfly guard.

While drilling that with Rich, he showed me another handy option, which I guess would effectively count as a sweep. If as you shrimp out you find you can get both shins to their leg, you can then grab their same side heel. Push through to knock them over, coming up as you do, passing into side control. In other words, this is similar to Saulo's sweep from reverse de la Riva, although with a different set-up.

Continuing with sweeps, Rich's next technique looks perfect for me. The position is that you have one shin across their stomach, the other leg free. They have secured an underhook and are ready to pass, thinking that your shin into the stomach is an obvious path to side control.

However, in underhooking you, they're also locked up one side. Swivel in the direction the knee of your stomach leg is pointing, hooking under their same side leg. Next, pushing off with your free leg and the shin in their stomach, roll them over. Note, however, that you're going towards your free leg, which I found a little counter-intuitive, but it works: you end up immediately in knee-on-belly.

I'm always getting into the position with my shin in their stomach, as I'll often start off sparring from there. So, looking forward to giving this a go next time. It is also a bit reminiscent of the sweep Tim showed me, which was more reliant on the gi.

The sweep also works from what effectively is stage two of the Gracie Combatives punch block series. Again, their arm is locked, but this time that's because you've got it trapped against your shin. Naturally Rich didn't refer to this as "punch block stage two", but it looked very similar.

Finally, Rich supplied a useful hint for mount escapes. Before you try to bring your knee through as earlier, tuck your foot just above the knee of your straight leg. This should prevent them hooking it. You can then gradually shift your straight leg and foot to the side, opening up space as a result. Done right, that should make it much easier to escape/

Sparring was just specific today, from mount. I wasn't really able to do anything, as on top, I'm even worse than normal, because I can't even go for chokes. So instead, I tried to settle into a good control position by grapevining the legs, then looking for armbars and triangles as they tried to escape.

While I was able to roll into what vaguely approximated armbars and triangles, each time my partner had little trouble either slipping out, or stacking me into oblivion (Roy Dean had a video showing a solution for this a while back, which I'll have to dig out: something about rolling through and getting a belly down armbar instead). Although a gi would have provided more friction and control, the ease of their escape nevertheless indicates I'm not keeping tight enough.

Underneath, I couldn't do all that much either: my partner kept managing to transition into scarf hold. Admittedly he was bigger, but I still should have been better at making space and slipping free, particularly as it was nogi, so far less friction.

That marked my last class (like I said, I had intended to go on Tuesday, but turned out I was too busy), so will be my final training until I get back from Turkey on September 17th. My gf and I have now moved out of Canley, and after ten months of living there, I don't think I'd recommend it. Not the nicest area. I'll only miss two things: proximity to Warwick Uni and Rich's well-structured classes.

On a completely different note, I also feel I have to mention just how incredibly awful the Post Office are at supplying broadband and telephone services. After at least forty phone calls, lots of stress and an apparently arbitrary approach to billing with whatever number pops into their heads, our final payment has still not been sorted out. Their sluggish connection, terrible customer service and a completely different set of excuses every time we spoke to them makes me miss Tiscali: never had any any problems with them in Birmingham.

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