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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

11 May 2010

11/05/2010 - BJJ (Basics)

Class #311
Gracie Barra Birmingham, (BJJ), Nathan Roberts, Birmingham, UK - 11/05/2010

Due to that seminar tomorrow, I went to yet another class tonight, this time the basic gi session. It's an hour shorter than the advanced, like at Roger's (speaking of which, a guy who used to train there but is now at GB Brum recognised me and said hello, which was nice), but unlike Roger's, all levels are allowed to train. That means that you'll see purple and brown belts training alongside the fresh faced white belts. When I was in London, as soon as you got your blue, you had to train in the advanced class.

On the one hand that's good, as it forces lazy people like me to go train with the higher level people. On the other hand, it means you can't keep on working your fundamentals, not to mention that a few higher level people can still be found in the basic class.

The advanced no-gi class begins half an hour earlier, then continues on concurrently with the basics. That means that I arrived in time to watch Kev demonstrate the same deep half guard pass he showed yesterday, but for nogi. So, that could be an advantage to training Monday and Tuesday, as if Kev always follows that pattern, you get a chance to either refine your technique directly if you go for the nogi, or at least watch it a second time from the sidelines if you don't.

My training partner tonight was a fellow blue called Gary, who mentioned that he also runs his own kickboxing club, where he incorporates his grappling into something he called 'combat jiu jitsu'. It isn't quite MMA, as no punching to the head, but sounds like it could be a useful stepping stone.

Nathan, who has taken the warm-up for the advanced a few times, was in charge of the lesson. After the standard running around the room, his class was all drills, which gradually progressed into more complex sequences. This finished up with demonstrating how to transition from side control to mount. The first option was to get into a standard tight side control with a gable grip and heavy shoulder pressure, having already cleared their near elbow. Staying tight, slide your arm to the other side of their head (try to avoid raising it up). Bring that arm under their far arm, meaning you can bring your other hand to their near hip.

You can now switch to face their legs (so reverse scarf hold, I think), shifting your hips back into their near arm to make space. Keep on shifting back into their head until they are starting to bridge to try and relieve the pressure. Grab your foot and pull it across to their far hip: you want to avoid leaving it vulnerable to their attempts at grabbing half guard. You can then settle into a tight mount.

Nathan made the point here that you shouldn't be in a rush: hold the position. He cited an example from when he once competed as a blue, and managed to quickly move from side to mount to the back, then back to mount. However, because he did it so fast, pre-empting his opponent, he only got a few advantages. If he'd held each position a little longer, he would have been way ahead on points (he did still win, of course ;p).

The next transition from side control to the mount was a little different. This time, you press your weight forward (being careful not to overbalance), then use that space to bring the knee nearest their head even closer and higher. The hand under their head reaches further, to grab under their far armpit. Your other hand (underneath their far arm) walks up past their head, meaning that both their arms are now uncomfortably squished.

Bring your knee over their stomach, sliding it to the floor. Turn your upper body towards their near side, moving into mount, squeezing your knees. Push your feet into their sides, enabling you to move forward, again putting them in a very uncomfortable position. From here, you could then shift your head around their arm, wriggle down and go for an arm triangle. However, again the point of the drill was to make sure you establish a good position.

Specific sparring was naturally from side control, with that near elbow already trapped. To continue to focus on position, you weren't allowed to use any submissions. That made escaping much easier, because I didn't have to worry about the usually frequent danger of either an Americana, armbar or choke. So, I was able to gradually squirm free a few times.

On top, I had a harder time, as I wasn't able to move into mount. However, there is a small chance I might have got there eventually, as I was concentrating on being very slow and steady, keeping my partner in tight with my grip, and also trying to shift my knee up closer to the head, as in the drill. I got into a sort of reverse scarf hold, and was in the process of shifting back and then getting my knee across when time ran out. Of course, I may have got swept or something in the next couple of moments.

In free sparring, submissions were back on, and made all the difference. I soon found myself under side control, as Mike was having none of my flailing at spider or butterfly guard, easily controlling my legs and passing. He immediately looked to attack the arm, and eventually got in place for an armbar. I was able to block with my other arm and grab his leg, in an awkward position where he was belly down and I was facing away from him.

I spent what seemed like ages sat there in basically a stalling position, trying to think exactly where my arm now was in relation to his body, and how I should look to escape. I thought about rolling, shifting round the leg, or perhaps pressing into him. What I should have done is tried to get to a point where I was stacking him, but eventually his superior position paid off and he got the arm.

That's training done for the week, so it will be nice to have a rest after several days on the trot. One thing to note is that there is an unfortunate problem with the showers, in that you can only use a single shower at a time, otherwise nobody gets any hot water. Personally I would be happy enough with cold water in the interests of speed, but that isn't very fair to everyone else. So, just means I have to be quick once I get in there.

1 comment:

  1. Catching up on some posts—I don't get to side control that often in rolls, but I haven't learned basic techniques for transitioning into mount yet. Will have to try these out if I get the chance.