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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

13 October 2009

13/10/2009 - BJJ (Beginner)

Class #250

RGA High Wycombe, (BJJ), Kev Capel, High Wycombe, UK - 13/10/2009

I was pleasantly surprised yesterday morning by a delivery of a book I ordered, Passing the Guard. I hadn't expected it to arrive for another month, seeing as I'd picked the slow option, so that was cool. Thanks to anyone who clicked through and bought something from one of my reviews, as I ordered the book entirely from a resulting gift card (took a while to build up enough, of course). So naturally, I'll be reviewing Passing the Guard shortly (various job interviews to attend and seminars to teach though, so might be on the backburner for a little while).

Unusually, Kev added in throws to the warm-up, like he does with the advanced class: could be he's moving towards the same kind of structure I remember from RGA HQ.

First technique of the day was the basic cross choke from guard. It was a useful reminder, as Kev emphasised how the choke comes from gripping with your palms facing up, then turning your hands, as opposed to flaring your elbows. I tried to really concentrate on keeping my elbows in, which definitely made a difference: its much tougher to defend if you can't simply lock and squeeze their elbows to relieve the pressure of the choke.

Kev followed that with another simple submission, the armbar from guard. However, he had an interesting variation on the grip. Grab their opposite sleeve, then secure their opposite collar with your other hand. That means you can use your collar arm to lock the arm you're already using a sleeve to control. This makes for a really strong grip, after which you proceed as normal. You could also potentially move into a choke, as you've already got the one hand in.

Next up was the defence to an armbar. Before going into the usual basic technique, Kev surprised me by stating a very simple, but rarely mentioned solution. The best way to escape the armbar is to tap. Its an obvious point, but doesn't occur to people because then they've 'lost'. However, in terms of training, it makes a lot more sense then straining away desperately when you're caught: as Kev says, you tap, then restart and try not to get stuck there again.

Specific sparring was from guard, with our training partner. That meant it was the format I prefer, where first one of you is in guard for a round, then you switch and go for another five minutes. That tends to mean a lot more mat time than king of the hill (well, unless you're actually good, unlike me).

The main problem I had was that I keep shifting into tight controlling positions, but then fail to progress to an offensive set-up. For example, I'll pull them in close with my legs and control the head, but then struggle to get to a triangle and I can't get past the arm. In that situation, I need to make sure I take the risk and open up a little.

During king of the hill (I only sparred once), I stayed very patient in the guard, as I was with a white belt so they were trying all sorts of things (like an americana from their guard). Eventually I slipped into half guard, but as I tried to stabilise, I just got rolled. I'm not managing to get into a decent attacking position, which is possibly because I tend not to think about going from kind of distracting submission attempt. Might be good to threaten with a choke or something so they forget about their legs.

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