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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

01 September 2010

01/09/2010 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #338
Gracie Barra Birmingham, (BJJ), Norby Nowak, Birmingham, UK – 01/09/2010

As at RGA Wycombe, I tried to scribble some notes down, as otherwise I’d probably struggle to remember the techniques from both sessions. At Wycombe, I felt particularly comfortable, so I’d happily just sit out some sparring to take notes. I’m not quite at that stage with GB Brum, so instead I did what I used to do at RGA HQ, which is write up notes during the warm-up for the second class (seeing as I’d already be pretty warm from doing the whole beginners class).

Speaking of the Roger Gracie Academy, a new affiliate is opening up soon, and they’re holding a seminar this Saturday at 12:00 to celebrate. Better yet, it’s going to be completely free and open to anyone. Unfortunately, although I will be in London, I’m at a training course (for home maintenance, randomly), so can’t attend. Still, sounds like it should be a good event: further details here.

As this is the last week of De La Riva, Norby went through some more complicated techniques, with legs in all sorts of complicated tangles. He began with something relatively simple, in order to introduce the first technique. You’re in De La Riva, but they point out the knee of the leg you’ve hooked, popping your foot free. So instead, you swing your leg around, then bring it back sharply, bumping their leg. Your foot comes around the front, to push on their hip: make sure you don’t bring it further across, or you’re in danger of getting disqualified (due to the potential danger to their knee.)

This sets you up for an x-guard sweep. From the previous position, either grip their foot on the hooked side, or wrap your hand behind their foot. Your other foot, which was pushing on the inside of their other leg, now hooks behind their knee. The first foot is going to go behind their leg, so that the foot is on the other leg. However, the knee remains behind the first leg: this is important, as otherwise they can just push it out of the way. Finally, your free hand is going to grab the bottom of their same side gi trousers.

After all of that intricate leg work, the sweep is nice and simple. You just extend their legs to knock them to the floor. From their, you can either stand up and initiate a pass, or go for a footlock. If understood correctly (I’m not big on footlocks, so I may well have missed details), the key there is to keep your forehead on the mat, with the blade of your forearm pressing into their Achilles. Keep shifting your upper body towards their other leg, arching your back in order to get the submission.

Another sweep without the spaghetti legs starts similarly, with a leg looped behind theirs, the foot on their hip. This time, you have your other foot on their other hip, still with a grip on the foot of the leg you’ve trapped. Simply raise your hips, pinch your knees on their trapped leg, and drive them to the mat with your knees and the pushing of your feet. Again, you can either stand for the pass or try for a footlock.

Specific sparring was De La Riva, so I was looking to pass in the same way as before, grabbing a leg and moving around. I also tried to concentrate on getting my hips to theirs, sprawling my legs and staying tight. That sometimes worked, but sometimes I also ended up leaving too much space, so it became more of a scramble to get their back, or with them on their side. Also, I need to remember to break their grips, instead of just trying to work with them still in place.

Underneath, I had a mixture of either getting passed easily, or some random sweeps where I didn’t really know what I was doing. That was quite fun, as I managed to knock a few people over, including somebody much bigger. However, as I wasn’t working off any technique, it felt more like a succession of random flukes than anything I could build upon. Still, sometimes I was at least trying to apply some of the principles of the techniques I’d been learning, so that’s a vague plus.

Free sparring was only one round, where I spent the first half trying to avoid getting my back taken, clinging on tightly to their arm while also keeping my elbow and knee tight, to stop them securing both hooks. Holding that arm eventually paid off, as I managed to drive through, flip them over and get to side control. That wouldn’t have worked on anybody much bigger, but fortunately they’re around the same size as me. I then moved on to my favourite attack position, the step over triangle.

After the restart, it was mostly squirming around under side control, looking to attack the arm, before finally getting a leg free and moving back into guard. I’m still too complacent under side control, and I ended up some unfamiliar positions, like really low right down by their legs. Not sure if that’s better or worse for me defensively.

Oh, and in case anyone missed it, I did an interview with multiple world champ Romulo Barral over the Bank Holiday weekend: part one is up now, and I’ll be putting up part two tomorrow. There will be five parts in total, spread out over the next month or so. This weekend, I won’t be on the internet at all, as I’m at that home maintenance course, randomly (which I’ll probably write up, but not on this blog: I’ve got a spare one I hardly ever use).

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