Gracie Barra Birmingham, (BJJ), Nathan Roberts, Birmingham, UK – 24/08/2010
For those who haven’t heard, Seymour from Meerkatsu.com and Liam from Part Time Grappler are jointly running a ‘design your own gi’ contest: full details here and here, on their respective blogs, along with a specific contest site. There have been lots of entries already: the prize is pretty nifty, as the winning design will become an actual gi, sent to the creator. Given that my own dream gi would basically just be plain white, light and fit properly, I’ve not yet found my artistic inspiration. ;)
My annual trip to Aberystwyth was great fun as usual, catching up with friends and barbecues in the rain. I also got a chance to test my Scramble hoody (I think 'slidey' still gets you 10% off: purple is sold out, but there are some green ones left) against the Welsh climate, which gives me an excuse to finally put up a different picture.
Class tonight was again De La Riva sweeps, revisiting the techniques we ran through last week. Nathan had some useful fine details to add this time round, particularly on the very first sweep he taught us a while back, where you grab their collar and pull them over.
First, Nathan talked about keeping up the pressure on their far leg. If you have your leg completely straight, then particularly with tall opponents, it is easier for them to step back and release the pressure, as you’re at the extent of your reach. However, this can still work if you are able to keep their posture broken using your grips.
Nathan suggested pulling their far arm towards you: that way, your leg is secure, because they no longer have a strong base, which in turn makes them much easier to sweep. You could also just yank them forward with your collar grip, which has the advantage of making it more difficult for them to raise their torso up and establish some kind of resistance.
Secondly, once you are about to try and take them over, you can use your foot by their near leg to help you. Instead of just having it flopping there on the floor, push off with your toes as you pull down on their collar and try to roll them. That will give you additional power, making it much harder for them to stay upright.
Specific sparring went badly for me last time, as I found it difficult to do anything much from the sitting up position against an opponent fully expecting my two attacks: I was either going to pull on their collar, or try to swing towards their far leg. This time, I had a few more sweeps to play with, most usefully the one from last week where you curl your legs around theirs, then drive forward, head inside, effectively taking them down with a single leg. I managed to land it, but very sloppy considering I forgot an essential detail, which is to grab their gi skirt or belt and pull it by their leg.
Nathan had done a drill at the start of the lesson where we put our legs in that position, wrapped around one of theirs, switching so that your front foot first pointed away from them, then behind them. That proved helpful, as I found the motion a little more fluid during sparring (though my attempt was still kinda sloppy). Having had my initial sweep blocked, I could switch to that driving single leg instead.
I ran into some problems when people started grabbing my leg, my arm and my collar, as that made it rather more difficult to complete the technique. I could still get it against a few people, but especially if they were bigger, those grips were tough to shift. Fortunately the teaching on De La Riva is likely to go on for some time, so hopefully some of those problems will be addressed in future lessons.
Against another sparring partner, I managed to move into the spinning under sweep, though my opponent was a fair bit smaller than me. Still, it was nice to link the sweeps together, even if my transition needs a lot of work.
My passing was, as ever, poor. At the moment, I’m mainly just stepping my leg back and then trying to collapse onto them, which often results in a scrappy scramble. I imagine at some point there is going to be some coverage of passing De La Riva, which should help with that.
If my parents are back from their holiday by the end of the week, I’ll be looking to head home for the Bank Holiday weekend (as my gf is away in Belfast). That means that I will aim to train in the Friday basics class, so I can either head down late on the Friday, or early on Saturday.