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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

13 September 2010

13/09/2010 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #342
Gracie Barra Birmingham, (BJJ), Norby Nowak, Birmingham, UK – 13/09/2010

Norby covered off the same two techniques for the advanced class, after running a tough warm-up exercise. In the basics, I found myself running the early part of the warm-up, as I was the highest grade there aside from Norby (but only because of those stripes, which are fairly meaningless). I just did the basic running round, knees up, heels up etc, before going through two guard passing drills. First standing up in someone’s guard, then the toreador drill Chiu did last week. May have taken a bit long on stretching though, so if I do it again, might cut that down a little.

Norby added in a guard jumping exercise, which turned out to be quite painful. You are in groups of three, standing in a line across the room. The person in the middle runs to either end, jumping into guard on their respective partners. After two and a half minutes, they switch. That definitely works your cardio, particularly when you’re in the middle, but also when you have to support your partner’s weight. It wasn’t too bad in the basics, as I was with two people around my weight, but Norby then repeated the exercise for the advanced, where I had rather larger people to work with. Knackering!

Specific sparring was from that same butterfly position, where the person on top has their head down and elbows tucked against the hips. We were split into ones two and threes again, and each round one person stayed on top against the people coming in from the line.

I was as usual far happier on the bottom. I managed to land a kimura, which was nice, but only because my partner made the mistake of leaving their arm out too long when loosening my gi lapel. Generally I couldn’t get a whole lot to work, though I was trying to get to that side on position Chiu showed us. I also looked to get the arms up for Chiu’s sweep, but that was tough from their already strong position. Still, I at least had a couple of things to go for, as previously in that position I’ve felt a bit lost.

On top, I wasn’t able to get the gi lapel, and also wasn’t much good at working out the balance and weight to pass. I tried bringing my leg back to trap theirs, without much luck: they could generally keep their hooks in place. The few times I did pass, it tended to be a sloppy squashing slide past, without any real technique. So, I need to work harder on that pass, and also consider a few back up options (I imagine we’ll see a few more before the month is up).

Just one round of free sparring, where I didn’t get very far either. I started off by almost heel hooking someone unintentionally: I had my legs in a weird position and wanted to sweep, but let go after Norby noted I was in an illegal footlock type set-up. Not somewhere I ever want to be – way too dangerous, and I’ve got no idea what I’m doing with footlocks anyway, legal or not. I’ll be sticking with working the defence to them rather than playing footsie. ;p

Most of the spar I was under side control, looking to spin out or try that Braulio escape where you shift back and straight arm into their armpit. Still not quite getting that, but I am finding myself in the position more often. So, something to keep on working: I think the first thing I need to improve is getting my hips back so I’m in a more stable position for the reversal, then work on getting the arm straight for the necessary pressure.

At the end of class, Norby had a long chat about the new gym Gracie Barra Birmingham is moving to on the 4th October, near Five Ways in central Birmingham. The payment programs are going to be slightly different, if I understood correctly, but still pretty cheap: £75 all inclusive, I think, along with options of MMA, using the gym etc. Sounds pretty cool, though unfortunately I’ll have left by then. My rental lease technically goes until the 16th October, so I’m tempted to pop up to check out the new gym, but should probably save my cash – no idea how long I’ll be unemployed this time, after all. ;)

Still, tempted...

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