| bjj resources

 BJJ FAQ  Academy

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

02 February 2010

02/02/2010 - BJJ (Beginner)

Class #282

RGA High Wycombe, (BJJ), Kev Capel, High Wycombe, UK - 02/02/2010

Two great posts on the BJJ blogosphere recently. First one is NinjaEditor interviewing BJJ Grrl, running through the typical list of questions that might be on the mind of a woman looking to get on the mats for the first time. Secondly, fellow UK and RGA BJJer Meerkatsu put together a thorough piece on buying a gi.

My instructor Kev Capel won silver at the Europeans, in his brown belt featherweight masters category. Even better, the guy he lost to is also RGA: judging by the results, it was a pretty good result for the UK. Oli Geddes naturally won his division yet again, and I saw on the EFN that while I was training tonight, he got his brown belt from Roger down in London. Which is very cool: Oli has been tearing up the competition scene at every belt level, so definitely well-deserved.

As I mentioned last time, Tuesday now starts with a 'fundamentals' section based around self defence. It isn't something I'm keen on, but if I'm going to do it, I'm glad Kev is the one teaching. Before saying anything else, he makes clear that for self-defence you need to cross-train striking. He also emphasised that the haymaker defence we did today was quite specific: anybody who has a clue about striking wouldn't throw a punch like that.

Techniques today were all very basic, but that's good: you can never drill the basics too much. This week, it's mount, so Kev showed the trap and roll followed by the elbow escape. When Howard and I drill basic moves, we like to make it continuous, so rather than just doing the escape then resetting or having the other person get up and go on top, we'll practicing passing the guard into mount. That meant that along with developing my mount escapes, I also had a chance to play with some guard breaks and passes, or sweeps to mount after elbow escaping back to guard.

Sparring from mount I'm continuing to try and maintain the position, by staying low and grapevining the legs. I'm also trying to always swim with the arms to stop them getting trapped, and seeing if I can attack with an Ezequiel. I moved into place a few times, but on each occasion I stopped. That's because in order to attempt the submission, I would have to shove my hand down my training partner's head, crushing their face until I can reach the neck. At the moment, I'm not willing to do that. So, either I need to come up with a different set-up, or get over my discomfort with being mean.

I also found that I was sometimes getting my arms grabbed and shoved downwards, which hasn't happened much before. I get the feeling that I'm missing some obvious submission opportunity, but last night, I was just shifting down to grapevines in order to regain my posture when that happened. One of the white belts also made the classic error of pushing up, leaving his arms vulnerable. My armbar from mount was pretty sloppy, but I was keen to make certain he understood it was a bad idea to try and bench press, so focused on landing the submission.

Kev asked me to go with a white belt during the specific sparring, as this white belt had been relying too much on strength: Kev wanted to encourage him to be more technical. I'm not sure if he picked me because I'm small, or because I was one or only three blue belts there. Either way, it made me think of this thread, as I noticed I was talking too much in my efforts to help. While I was trying to explain how he needed to be careful of leaving space for me to shrimp, I got a blank look. That made me stop and realise I was babbling. It is important to be concise when giving advice, rather than overloading with details as more and more spring to mind.

Underneath, I could normally get back to guard, but I'm relying too much on that one escape. I did bridge and roll at one point, because I saw the opportunity, but stepping over to trap the leg, go to half guard, then shrimp to full guard is my bread and butter. I need to improve my ability to combine the two escapes, especially against higher level belts.


  1. Thanks for the link!

    Interested to hear more about self-defense fundamentals. SD's one of the reasons I wanted to take BJJ so I wouldn't panic if I'm ever attacked and taken to the ground.

    -- NinjaEditor

  2. Gracie Barra has a whole program that apparently includes a lot of this 'self defence' focus. Possibly in response to the whole Gracie Combatives thing, though I'm not sure if the GB fundamentals program was running before then (may well have been).

    Personally, I don't think it is much use if there isn't any resistance training. That's what is normally so great about BJJ: you spar, you pressure-test the techniques. When it comes to 'self defence', it is almost always compliant drills, which I don't think are especially useful.

    Then again, I've never trained for self defence. I do it for fun and fitness. ;)