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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

22 September 2009

22/09/2009 - Advanced

Class #242

RGA High Wycombe, (BJJ), Kev Capel, High Wycombe, UK - 22/09/2009

There wasn't much of a break between classes, going straight into a thankfully brief warm-up (a few throws, with some uchikomi: Kev also has a black belt in judo, so that's unsurprising). At RGA in London, I used to get a little rest when doubling-up classes, because you could sit out the warm-up if you'd just spent the previous hour training. Not so here, meaning that my cardio is going to take some time to adjust! ;)

As with the beginner class, Kev's theme for the intermediate/advanced was butterfly guard. He started with another butterfly pass, this time off an armdrag. You have them in butterfly guard, where they then grab your collar. Strip that grip (e.g., both hands under and thrust away), then with one hand on their sleeve and the other by their armpit, pull them across your body.

They will now be overbalanced and close to you, meaning that you should immediately capitalise. Reach under them with one arm, over their back with the arm, locking a gable grip by their side where your hands meet. You can now sweep as in the last class, noting that you have to lift them as you drop back. That means you can also readjust your hooking foot deep behind their knee, as space should open up in the midst of that motion.

Kev followed this up with a submission, the D'arce choke. From the previous gable grip position, you remove the hand you had on top, instead threading that under their near arm, reaching right by their head. Your other arm goes over their head.

You need to grab the bicep of that arm with the hand you have by their head. Especially in the gi, it can be difficult to get the hand and arm close enough for a good grip. If you're finding it tough, try pushing down on their head with your arm: that should make it easier to secure a hold on your bicep.

Finally, reach over their back with your bicep arm, squeeze and drop back. Getting a good grip may take a few tries: speaking personally, I was ok on my strong side, but could only manage a loose grip on my weak side. Also, Kev showed how this can be an option as they switch to side control. Even if they're pretty much past, if you've set it up in time, the submission is still an option.

The last technique was moving from butterfly guard into an x-guard sweep. This is the same thing I saw about three months ago at Nova Força, useful for when they try to initiate a butterfly pass. As soon as they post their leg, swivel your body towards that limb, using your arm to trap their foot against your head, getting it right to your shoulder. Put your legs into the x-guard position (one foot under their thigh, the other foot on their hip, pressing with the top of your instep).

Next, you want to get the foot you've trapped off the floor, by pushing with your own feet on their leg. Make sure you have their foot right up to your shoulder, or your grip will be too loose. Once you feel their foot lose purchase on the ground due to your push, switch the hooking foot you have under their thigh to their knee. Push more to get them off-balance, then do a technical stand-up to get back to your feet, still holding their leg (this should be straightforward if its on your shoulder). Their base is now completely broken, so it should be a simple matter to take out their leg for the sweep.

During specific sparring, I didn't really get anywhere with my training partner Callum. He had little trouble sweeping me when underneath, or passing when on top. However, I did at least get to familiarise myself with butterfly guard a little, trying to bring him back with my legs when he managed to flatten me out. I also had a go at wiggling my arm through for the D'arce, but wasn't quick enough.

During free sparring, I got smashed by one of the blue belts, Rob. He was throwing on a whole bunch of chokes, easily getting to a high mount each time. As in the last lesson, I need better hip movement, and also more activity on the bottom. I did remember to try and bump them forward a few times to disrupt submission attempts, but didn't manage to make space and shrimp.

I think there was someone else before that, but can't remember. The last spar was interesting, with the same white belt from last week, Dan. I again tried standing to pass, but this time almost handed him an armbar and then a triangle. I managed to wriggle my arms past his legs and thought I'd be nicely set up for a double-underhooks pass.

No such luck, as instead he clamped his legs around my head. That was distinctly uncomfortable for two reasons. First, I hurt my own neck if I tried to move in either direction, and secondly, I was unpleasantly close to a faceful of humid man crotch. Not fun.

I did eventually get free, trying the pass where you grab the back of their gi pants and flip them right over. That didn't quite go according to plan, as after a scramble I ended up back underneath again. I tried the Tran side control escape, but didn't have any energy left, so instead got squished under mount. Squirmed my way back to half guard a little later, managing to get on my side, but again in the wrong spot to launch an attempt on the back.

After that round was finished, I decided to sit out the last one. I know my stamina will improve if I keep showing up and training, but its a strenuous process getting there. I've had a slight lay-off while in Turkey for three weeks, but its probably more due to the fact that I've only been training an average of once a week over the past few months. Its good to get back to twice a week, with two classes each night, but my body was definitely complaining the next day.

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