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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

26 January 2010

26/01/2010 - BJJ (Beginner)

Class #279

RGA High Wycombe, (BJJ), Kev Capel, High Wycombe, UK - 26/01/2010

My old instructor, who is also the guy who gave me my blue belt, Jude Samuel, has recently started up his own gym. Jude is an awesome teacher, so if you're near Bethnal Green and want to learn from one of the best black belts in the country, check out Legacy BJJ: conveniently, very near the train station.

I wasn't able to train last Thursday, because I was off visiting my girlfriend in Bristol. Still, I don't mind too much about missing Thursdays, because I know I can get two classes in back-to-back on Tuesdays.

No lift today, as I was at a meeting earlier today. That meant I could just walk from High Wycombe train station to Kev's place, which according to Google Maps was only a twenty minute walk. With my non-existent sense of direction, it actually took me

Kev's focus was on side control today, beginning with the basic escape to guard, followed by an Americana. Kev's set-up was slightly different from the one I've got in my summary, as it started from your partner pressing up into your neck.

As soon as they do, lean your weight forward, being careful to stay tight, and also not lean so far that they can roll you over (post on your head if necessary). The idea is to press their arm to the floor, whereupon you can peel it from your throat (easier said than done), lock in the figure four, then go for the submission. Pressing your head into their arm may also help.

Kev taught the thumbless grip, giving the reason that if you use your thumb, that can act as a lever for your partner's escape. If they do somehow manage to get free, all is not lost, as the far side armbar is still there. Scoop their arm up and trap it against your shoulder.

Pull them onto their side, then push on their head, providing you with the space to step over, your foot close to their back. Swivel around the trapped arm, then drop back for the armbar. You can also grip their leg, which will help block off their escape options.

Side control is easily my favourite top position, because it feels the most secure. Sparring from there, I was trying to stay tight, and see if I could either gradually move round, or slip through to side control. That tends to be difficult with fellow blue belts, however, so I had my hands full just staying in the dominant position. With Callum, I was attempting to stay mobile, but also suck up any space. That sort of worked, but he would eventually squirm free, such as spinning into an inverted guard as I tried to maintain north-south.

Underneath, I did the same thing to him. In my case, it was due to my north-south escape attempt. I had Gustavo Machado's technique in mind, from his Great Escapes DVD. You're supposed to wriggle out to make enough space, then swing your legs over their shoulder, going for the back.

However, that is normally too simple for them to defend, as they can just posture up. Then again, as Kev said when I asked him later, that's good enough, as you can use that to spin into guard. Momentum is the key to make the initial space, then you need only threaten the back-take to open up space. I had fully intended to take the back, but ended up swivelling to guard: if I had that as my goal from that start, as in Kev's escape, probably would have been less of a scramble.

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