10 September 2010

10/09/2010 - BJJ (No Gi)

Class #339
Gracie Barra Birmingham, (BJJ), Chiu Kwong Man, Birmingham, UK – 10/09/2010

Dolph has put up an interview with a Muslim teammate of his, about his thoughts on training while fasting for Ramadan. Check it out here: I’m guessing that’s probably a first – I certainly can’t remember seeing anyone else ever cover that topic, and it makes for an interesting read.

The DIY course was useful, although I was a bit tired by the time I got there. Some friends kindly let my gf and I stay round, although they happened to be out at a party on Friday, so we only got back to the house around 2am (as I knew I’d have to get across London for 8am the next day, I wasn’t drinking, so randomly spent a good chunk of the night reading a great history of the Impressionists. Not exactly party animal behaviour, but hey).

Those same friends happen to be awesome cooks. If you’re into your food, then be sure to check out their blog, The Keston Kitchen. Loads of unusual recipes beautifully executed, and I can personally vouch for the results! Meal time is always a highlight when staying with the women of Keston. ;)

There were some interesting warm-up drills tonight, one of which took a bit of getting used to. The idea is that you’re on your back, keeping your legs off the floor. Twist your knees in the direction you want to move, then rock forwards and twist your upper body the other way. Keep repeating that to gradually bounce your hips down the mat. I just about got the motion, but it took me ages to get all the way down the mat.

I can’t remember where I first read it, or perhaps someone told me, but allegedly butterfly guard is good for small guys with short legs, like me. I’ve wanted to improve it for some time, which is also why I’ve been trying to pull butterfly guard whenever possible (not to mention it’s way better than my previous ‘flop back and wait’ tactic).

So, I was pleased that tonight focused on improving butterfly, with numerous top tips for maintaining butterfly guard and keeping your partner off-balance. Establish hooks under their legs, sitting up. You don’t want to be straight on, but instead move around slightly to the side. Hook your near arm around their back, reaching around to grip: this was a nogi class, so you can either go for their far lat, or under their far armpit. Keep your head on your gripping arm side, pressing into their head.

The essential detail Chiu emphasised here is to drive your shoulder into their near armpit, while also pulling inwards with your arm. It should now be very difficult for them to flatten you out on your back. To make it even harder, bring your chest close to the floor with your other elbow as base, in a sort of ‘spiderman’ pose. That means there is a line going from one arm across your back to the other.

You also need to maintain tension with your hooking feet, as otherwise they can try to just bring their legs around and pass. Even if it feels like they’re moving you to your back, you may well be able to shift your hips and switch your other arm around their back: don’t give up because it feels like you’re about to be flattened out.

If they do manage to flatten you out, you can still go for a sweep. As soon as you start being moved flat, bring both arms around their back, clasping your hands, and bring them up high. You’re aiming to trap their arms: don’t allow them to bring their elbows back down by your hips.

Once you’ve got their arms up high and out of commission, you can work on their legs. Stretch them out, kicking one leg flat, then use your other hook to lift. You’re also going to use your grip on their upper body, twisting your arms to help drive them to the side. You don’t necessarily need both of their arms: you could also lock both of your arms around one of theirs, with an elbow into their throat, a handy leverage point for the sweep.

There wasn’t any sparring, but we did do some progressive resistance on maintaining butterfly guard. The person on top tried to flatten out their partner, while the person underneath just looked to hold their position, adjusting their hips, keeping their hooks in and securing that grip over the back.

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