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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

18 November 2010

18/11/2010 - BJJ (Beginner)

Class #361
RGA High Wycombe, (BJJ), Kev Capel, High Wycombe, UK - 18/11/2010

In exciting news, Roy Dean is going to be reworking his fantastic online book, The Uchideshi Experience (he's now taken it down, so if you haven't had a chance to read it, you'll have to wait for the new book). That's what first got me interested in his other work, so I'm really looking forward to this! He just mentioned it on his blog: should be very cool when done.

Also, if you haven't seen them yet, check out Oli G's videos for Black Eagle, here. Those are going to be part of an ongoing series of short instructional vids, which as far as I'm aware will feature Black Eagle sponsored fighters (they're one of the main companies putting money into BJJ here in the UK, along with Tatami and a few others).

Class tonight continued with side control. Kev started by going through the basic escape to your knees, where you then have two options. If you put your head on one side and your leg up on the other, that's a good set-up to sit back into butterfly guard, inserting your hook. Alternatively, if you have your head on the same side you step up your leg, grip the gi by their legs, then drive towards them while pulling their legs in the other direction. That should enable you to move through into side control.

Next up was a choke from side control. Start by reaching for their far collar with the hand your have under their head, then pull that in tight, so that your hand moves behind their head. Turn your hips slightly so you can sit on their near arm, which also gives you enough room to step your other leg over their head. Straighten the arm under their head, so that you're pressing firmly into their neck. The leg you have over the head moves backwards. This should eventually choke them, though it often turns into a crank, so you need to be careful.

Specific sparring was from side control. I was with Drazen, whose name I'd heard before: he's usually at Kev's Aylesbury location. The conversation would normally be along the lines of "I don't know how Drazen did that, his legs came from nowhere." I had the opportunity to experience that reputation first hand, as he smashed me during sparring. Underneath, I was able to hold off for a while, but it felt like it was simply a matter of time before he took my back. I was looking for Saulo's running man escape, but each time wasn't able to avoid leaving space for him to insert his hooks (asking him later, he mentioned that I was staying fairly tight, but not enough to stop him pulling me up to make his own space). That also reminds me, I know Saulo talks more about the running escape in his second DVD set, so I should give that a watch.

On top, I could only hold him down for a few seconds before I found myself on the bottom, in his guard, or indeed with my back taken yet again. The one thing that enabled me to stay in the dominant position for a little longer was moving into the step-over triangle I always look for. That gave me sufficient leverage to keep him from making much space, and also attack the far arm (I couldn't quite get into the figure-four). However, even that didn't last especially long, as he eventually managed to reverse me, with my legs still locked.

In the following hour of free sparring (though as ever I sat out plenty of times), things started with Drazen again, meaning I was in for another crushing. I think he may have been taking it a little easier, as I was able to work my guard a bit, but most of the roll was spent spinning madly in an attempt to avoid getting choke or my back taken. I was paying particular attention to block hooks with my elbows, which may or may not have helped. Either way, I was knackered after that, so it certainly proved to be a good cardio workout.

Having been beaten up quickly, I then had a chance to get beaten up slowly, by Kev's methodical transitions. Again, I was trying to stay tight and watch my elbows. However, I wasn't being sufficiently proactive when he moved into high mount. Asking him afterwards, he suggested that I should attempt to work back to normal mount. Though I could sit under high mount with my elbows in, if anybody was going harder, they wouldn't have had much trouble separating those elbows. So, in a very bad position, move back to a plain bad position first, then work to escape from there.

Finally, I had a roll with Dan, who I don't think I've rolled with since he got his blue belt. As ever, I was soon under side control, failing to stop his sit-up sweep (my base was clearly dodgy, as he blasted straight through my knees, folding me backwards). Particularly as I was tired, I relied on my defence, which very almost cost me as Dan went for the choke we'd just learned. He nearly landed it, but there was just enough space to get my arms in the way and slip my head free.

All in all, tonight was handy for working my defence, and reminding me my cardio is crap. Not that I'm going to do anything about it, as I'm far too lazy to work cardio stuff outside of class. ;)


  1. Haha, my cardio is crap too. And I am nearly always on defense. But at least we show up to get our butts kicked consistently! ;)

  2. Heh - yep, "keep turning up" remains the most important principle of BJJ. ;)