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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

22 June 2010

22/06/2010 - BJJ (Basics)

Class #320
Gracie Barra Birmingham, (BJJ), Nathan Roberts, Birmingham, UK - 22/06/2010

For the second week in a row I couldn’t make the bus on time to get to Monday, and annoying, the same thing happened on Wednesday. Same story this Monday, so as usual I went to my back up of Tuesday. Hopefully this week, I will be able to do Wednesday, though as I have a free weekend, there’s the option of Friday too (I’m planning on visiting home, but Friday class probably finishes early enough that I could still make it at a reasonable hour).

As with the other lessons by Nathan I’ve been to so far, tonight was about control from the top. There was a clear progression, beginning by drilling a side control escape. Wedge your forearm into their neck, gripping over their shoulder blade. Lever up your wrist, bridge to get your other elbow in, then shrimp into that space. Move your knee in to guard, making sure you control their arms: otherwise, they can just pass back to side control.

From the top, as soon as somebody presses up into your neck, you want to go to scarf hold. Lean slightly forward (be careful, as if you overbalance, they could roll you straight over), then switch your hips, aiming to scoop up their elbow as you bring your leg close to their side, foot past the head. Your other leg will be up, to create a solid base.

Keep your head low, and most importantly, keep a firm control of their near arm. Ideally you want to hold behind their tricep, but grabbing somewhere on their upper sleeve will do. If they start to get their elbow down, yank it back up, pressing forwards with your hips if you need some extra power.

From here, you can move from side control to mount. Switch your hips back, moving higher towards their head. You should now have their arm right out of the way, while one of your own arms will be controlling their far elbow, with the other arm is underneath their head. To being your transition, the head arm is going to move to the far side, then you’ll slide your elbow right back into their skull. This will trap their head between your elbow and your knee, severely limiting their movement.

You’re now going to switch your hips again, so that you’re facing their legs, in reverse scarf hold. The arm by their head will stay where it is, while the arm you were using to control their far elbow will instead grab the top of their near pant leg. This means you can both control their hips and a point from which to push, to help your hips scoot backwards towards their head.

You want to shove your hips as far back as you can, so that you’re effectively lying on their face. This is very uncomfortable, and also restricts their view. You can now bring your foot over to their far hip: don’t just swing your leg over, but instead curl it inwards. If you’re not flexible enough, just grab your foot and pull it over. You can then twist to mount, scooping up their arm in the process.

We did some light specific sparring from that tight side control, which was particularly light due to one of my partner’s being smaller than me, while the other had a back injury he was watching carefully. That meant I could try and really concentrate on the technique, so from the bottom, that meant I was paying particular attention to getting my elbow free, then making space to wedge my knee in.

I was also attempting to put Norby’s scarf hold escape into action, though I found it difficult to get my arms straight. Sneaking an arm under sort of worked, though my timing needs work, as I almost managed to just get it trapped rather than in place for an escape.

On top, I tried to keep my hips down, and time my hip switch to match the moment they pushed up with their arms. That continued into the next bit of specific sparring from side control, again with the near arm already cleared. As the only other blue belt was injured, I took the opportunity to go with the biggest guy there, as that should mean that if I made any mistakes, his power would be enough to throw me off.

He was fairly inexperienced, but still, it made for an interesting test of holding down a larger opponent, again trying to time that hip switch while also keeping control of the arm. Underneath I was trying to get my elbow free, then make space and shrimp. I’m also making sure to remember to grip around the shoulder blade and lever up with my wrist, to make it more difficult for them to press their head down.

Free sparring at the end was with a small white belt, so as before I was trying to think about technique. I had a play with that same spider guard series from Braulio’s video, but I’m still not quite securing that grip properly. I also tried to get into the same scarf hold position as earlier, so my training partner had a chance to practice.

Should be in again tomorrow for the advanced gi class, which will be a very different sparring experience, but we’ll see how work and buses sync up.

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