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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

07 December 2010

07/12/2010 - BJJ (Advanced)

Class #367
RGA High Wycombe, (BJJ), Kev Capel, High Wycombe, UK - 07/12/2010

Next up was the running escape itself, although rather than the one I keep trying, this was the version from Saulo's first DVD, where he doesn't take that break in the middle of the technique. When your partner has near side grips, to escape side control, you begin by bumping, then turning to your side and getting your hand past their shoulder. In one motion, step out with your bottom leg, then quickly turn and bring the other leg over the top, spinning to your knees.

Also, don't elbow your partner in the face. I pushed off the shoulder with my hand when drilling this, but smacked him hard in the jaw in the process (sorry Howard). Not clever, and doing that definitely isn't going to endear you to your training partners. Not to mention that watching Kev show it again, he doesn't actually push off the shoulder, but punches his arm straight through instead.

The risk with that technique, as I've always found whenever I've tried to turn, is that there is a chance your partner is going to take the back. Kev showed us how to do this next, using Marcelo Garcia as an example: this is one of Garcia's signature moves. The way Garcia does is to get a sort of harness grip with his arms – 'backpack', I think Kev called it – then gradually work them onto their side. Kev went for a simpler version, without that grip, but the principle is the same.

As soon as they start to turn away from you, slide your leg underneath them to establish your initial hook, then swing over to take the back. The problem here is that it is tempting to immediately try and swing over their body with the far hook, by which point they'll probably have turned too far and escaped already. I kept doing that in drilling: the key is to force yourself to establish that near hook first. Something to work on.

Sparring started from side control, but kept on going after that, so was free rather than specific. With Howard, I was yet again getting into that running escape position: as you can see in the picture on the right, it acts as a sort of stopping point, so you aren't swinging straight through this time. However, for me that seems to mean I passively curl up and wait. I was having difficulty progressing to the next stage, bridging forward off the lower leg and spinning to guard.

On the other hand, I was pleased that at one point, I was able to switch my hips up then roll over and face Howard square on, like Saulo shows in his second DVD series (Kev drilled the same movement last week). Not that it went as smoothly as I planned, because I seemed to end up in half guard, but still, that's the closest I've got to successfully executing the running escape. I also need to watch them getting body control with their arm: Saulo does show a sort of sit up and spin response to that, but I'm going to need more practice to get that right.

With Kev, it was as usual a good steady pace, where he let me work. Due to the way Kev goes light, I often find myself in open guard, which isn't common for me when sparring higher belts: with Howard, I think I spent almost the entire spar defending under side control, which is entirely typical. So although Kev's intention was to see what I'd do, I was basically just staring at him from open guard, switching grips with my arms and legs.

Kev mentioned afterwards that my sparring isn't too bad in terms of guard retention and hip movement, and I'm getting to the right positions. However, I'm not actually doing anything when I get there, so I need to attack more. This has been a long term problem, as I'm pretty much 100% defensive. I'm not sure if that is because I'm lazy and don't want to take risks, I'm not used to being in position to attack, or that I simply don't know what to do from there. Either way, it's a good reminder to make proper use of open guard, instead of just assuming I'm going to get passed at some point anyway.

I did try that reverse De La Riva sweep again, where you push into their knee with both your legs, but as I spun to hook the other leg, I lost the grip with my first hand. Kev suggested that I could try gripping differently, so that my hand wraps around the inside of their ankle and heel, rather than the usual hold around the outside. That could help twist their leg outwards and put them off-balance. At the same time, I'd want to be careful with that, as I don't want to tweak anyone's knee.

He also mentioned I could use sitting guard, which is handy as they taught a lot of that while I was at Gracie Barra Birmingham (it's De La Riva, but when you've sat up by their leg, pressing your foot into the other one). I find it difficult to keep the tension in that pressing leg, but it would combine well with the reverse De La Riva stuff I've been playing with. There is deep half guard too, though I still find that really confusing. Nevertheless, that could work well with the sitting guard sweep where you spin underneath.

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