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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

02 June 2010

02/06/2010 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #316
Gracie Barra Birmingham, (BJJ), Rob Stevens, Birmingham, UK - 02/06/2010

I was talking about old training partners yesterday, and that trend continued today, although this time in person. Rosie is somebody who used to study at Warwick last year (where she turned up to a few Warwick Uni BJJ meet-ups), and has just returned to Leamington: she trained at GB Brum before, so I wasn't the only one welcoming her back.

Rob was taking class again tonight, and like he did a while back, he was looking at maintaining the mount (although this time, it wasn’t from a low grapevine, starting higher up instead). For this technique, they are trying to dig their elbow under your knee and begin an escape. As soon as they move to get that elbow under, you grab their sleeve with your opposite hand.

Don't yank their arm across, but instead move your weight forward and come down with your elbow on the other side of their head. That should bring their arm across their neck. As soon as their arm moves, immediately shift your knee up to fill the space left by their arm, and push their elbow if you need extra help to stop them replacing their position.

Putting your feet into their hips, move up their body, and keep going until you get right up under their armpits. Squeeze your knees together, staying tight. You're then going to push on the top of their head, alternating between squeezing your knees and thrusting your hips forward, to get into a solid high mount with their arms right out of position.

If you're a little late removing their elbow from your knee, you can shift to technical mount. They've got their elbow under your knee and have begun to make space. Grabbing a sleeve with each arm, pull up on their digging elbow arm and push down on their other sleeve. At the same time, twist towards the side they're digging and bring your foot right into their hip. Your other knee slides up behind their head, into technical mount.

What you do next depends on their reaction. You could potentially go back to mount if you start losing your grips, or you could bring your arm under and go for a choke (e.g, wrap around to grab their collar, bring your knee right behind their head, grab their knee on the same side with your free head, then pressure for the choke). Alternatively, there is an armbar available, or the option to take the back.

Specific sparring was from the mount, and again we were split into ones, twos and threes. However, as opposed to the normal drill, where one person stays on the bottom the whole time, here you remained on top. That was an interesting variation, because what tends to happen to me with this kind of king of the hill is I'll wander up, get thrown off quickly, then to the back of the queue. Staying on top meant I had more of a chance to experiment and work on mistakes.

That was only towards the end through, as I was a three. Underneath, I as usual relied largely on digging an elbow under and either making enough space to slide free, or move into half guard. I managed a sole bridge and roll, but that tends to be rare in the advanced class, as people will often be wise to it and prepare their base accordingly.

On top, I was getting one arm under the head and grabbing their opposite shoulder, as Rob had taught previously. Definitely helps maintain the mount, with the other arm out to post. I was able to hold that for a good while on one person, but they eventually rolled free by grabbing my posting arm and straight arming it so I couldn't get my hand to the floor. My other rolls tended to be variations on that theme, with people finding various ways to eventually get free (I never manage to submit anyone from mount, unless they're a good bit smaller), like a tall flexible guy bringing his legs through.

Free sparring started with Rosie, and Rob announced that this first round would start from standing. Normally I'll pull guard fairly quickly, but Rosie made good use of her arms to stop me easily establishing grips. Eventually she went for a leg and I sprawled, then moved to take the back. I couldn't really do much from there, attempting various chokes.

I particularly wanted to give the bow and arrow a go again, but still struggle getting the legs in the right place. At some other point I ended up in spider guard, but failed to get the grip I wanted. I made an attempt to straighten out that arm by pushing into the other bicep, but couldn't manage to wrap up the arm and pull the sleeve across my thigh.

Next was Pete, another blue belt I like rolling with. I was aiming to move into butterfly, but he was aware of it and almost passed immediately. I just about got my legs into some vague semblance of open guard, with him pressing down looking to pass. Not very effective on my part, as it proved only a matter of time before he slid round.

As ever, I'm still too complacent under side control. I need to bridge and shrimp more regularly, but also more carefully, rather than just bumping to knock them off their offence. I seem to have gotten out of the habit of threading an arm under the neck and prising them upwards: I'm not sure if that is some latent worry about the americana (something Christina used to do to me every time I tried that), but either way, something I should be practicing.

I got to half guard a couple of times, but too flat, so again as ever, need to work to get up on my side. A few times I found myself in open guard and looked for reverse De La Riva: I have to admit, I'm always tempted by Saulo's depiction of this as basically a place to rest. Unfortunately for me, my reverse De La Riva isn't at that secure a stage yet, though I did finally remember to try the sweep, where you press into their leg. However, I keep forgetting that you need to hook their other leg too for that to work properly.

My last roll was with Christian, which started off with a chance at the triangle. I got distracted by the prospect of using an armbar to tempt him forward into a triangle, when as Rob said, I should instead have been focusing on controlling the head. Rob stepped in to demonstrate, showing how to use both head control and also stretching out the legs to stop them escaping (he called it scissoring the legs, so presumably that means you also squeeze them together). From there, you can then work for the triangle.

What I did was try for the armbar, wiggle around a bit, then eventually lose the position. After Rob's handy demo, we restarted from the knees, where I think I might have been in guard, but can't quite remember. Either way, we weren't there long, because another pair sparring almost crashed into us, so we had to move back, starting from open guard.

This time, I soon found myself under side control. Again I was being too flat on my back and immobile, though I did try to use the north-south escape a couple of times (which reminds me, that semi-worked with Rosie earlier). It didn't do much good, and also reminds me to try Roy Dean's suggestion from his recent UK seminar.

Next week I'll hopefully make the Monday and Wednesday again, although my gf is busy that weekend so I could potentially train on the Friday or Saturday too.

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