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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

15 April 2011

15/04/2011 - RGA Aylesbury

Class #388
RGA Aylesbury, (BJJ), Kev Capel, Aylesbury, UK - 15/04/2011

I'm slowly getting back to normal training, as I again did most of the warm-up, except for the breakfalls and shrimping: I'm still not sure my knee is up to that. Tonight we were still working side control, which seems to be something I can mostly do as normal, especially on top (though my favoured step-over triangle is out for the moment, as that could definitely put strain on the knee).

Yas was off competing in the Abu Dhabi Pro today, having won the UK trials: from what I heard at class (though Kev still needs to confirm it), Yas managed to submit a black belt in her first match, then lost to another black belt in her second match. Pretty damn good going, considering that second black belt was already a purple belt Mundials medallist back when Yas had just started training. Hopefully there will be some videos later.

Technique from side control was the counterpoint to Yas' class on Sunday, as this time it was all attacks. Kev began with a kimura from side control, or at least that starts in side control: you generally finish it in north-south. Start in the orthodox side control, with an arm under their head, the other scooping up their far arm.

Remove the arm that was under their head, instead threading it through their far arm. It is important that you go under their wrist: if you somehow manage to get their hand stuck in your armpit or something like that, you're going to struggle to get this technique to function. To secure your grip, feed your gi collar to the threaded hand, cinching it in tight so their arm is stuck.

Next, move around to north-south, sitting on their head. Their trapped arm should be clamped to your shoulder, so that you can pull them up onto their side. Also be sure to slide your knee over their free arm, to stop them being able to create any kind of space. Put your own free hand in place by their wrist, ready to grab it.

However, don't let go yet, or they may wriggle out. Instead, turn your head: this will push your shoulder forward, and therefore also pry their arm forward too. Your hand is already there waiting, so now you can grab their wrist and establish the figure four. Making sure that you keep that arm stuck to your body throughout, apply the kimura by pushing on their wrist and turning.

Alternatively, you can also bring the elbow of your non-clamping arm to their trapped arm side. Turn your body towards their head, then apply the kimura from that lower position. I like to stay upright while sitting on their head, but the second option is equally viable. As Kev said, it comes down to preference.

If you make a mistake while looking to apply the kimura from that upright position, or they simply defend well, you might find that they are able to grab their own belt or gi. This will make it tough to complete the submission. So instead, you can switch to an armbar.

Bring your knee up on their trapped arm side. This will enable you to put your whole body into it when you turn towards their other side, which should break their grip. Make sure you keep that figure four grip, as it is about to prove useful. If possible, you also want to try and slip your foot into the armpit of their free arm, which again is to make it more difficult to stop their escape attempt.

Pinch your knees together to control their arm, in what is sometimes called a 'Japanese armbar' position (I'm not sure why: something from Japan, I guess? Or maybe Pancrase? Leave a comment if you know.) You don't have both your legs over their body, which means that the hitchhiker escape is a possibility. It's called that because they lead with their thumb pointing the way out, turning their body and walking around.

However, because you have that figure-four grip, they can't do that anymore. If they try to turn away, you can just apply the kimura. In order to relieve the pressure, they'll have to turn back. You can then drop back, switching your grip to finish the armbar as normal.

Specific sparring was with one of my fellow purple belts and long-time RGA Bucks training partner, Howard. Feels like a good while since I last sparred him, so it was good to experience his steady pressure game again (which is also the game I attempt to use as well). That means that he is an ideal person to spar when you're injured, because his style is always controlled.

On top, I was looking to stay tight, keeping my movements gradual and small. I was paying close attention to grips, where to shift my hand, and also see if I could isolate the far arm. At the same time, I was hoping to distract him by pressuring my weight on his arm and head, so that I could try and sneak a knee through into mount while he was thinking about that. However, Howard wasn't about to fall for that, so it ended up being a slow, tactical roll. Just the kind of thing I enjoy. :)

Underneath, I was missing the full use of my other leg, so bridging wasn't quite so easy, and I also found my usual efforts to hook and leg into half-guard was a little hampered too. Still, it wouldn't have made all that much difference, as most of the time I slipped into the running escape posture yet again. I need to be more careful of their arm getting through: Saulo does show a way of sitting up and swivelling out of that, but I couldn't remember the exact details.

Instead, I was working on wedging my elbow to remove the arm. That sort of worked, as Howard shifted to knee on belly, where again I wanted to keep driving with the elbow to make space. I should have walked forward more, to knock his knee off my side. I also needed to pop up my hips and swing through, as in the open guard drill we did last week, but I was nervous about my leg.

Another thing I must watch more carefully is when they pull out my gi or theirs in order to set up a choke. I could sense Howard was trying something, but my defence was a bit awkward, as I was mostly just shoving my arms in the way and trying to wriggle free.

Free sparring was similar, as I went with Howard for a further two rounds. Again, I kept getting into that running escape position. I also attempted to go for Braulio's escape a few times, where they have both arms over the far side. I still can't get that arm locked out and their balance disrupted. Chatting to Howard about it afterwards, I think I need to break their posture down more, so that they are not only being driven towards my legs, but also towards the floor. That Braulio video is another one I want to re-watch.

Howard was looking to take my back a few times when I was in the running escape or side control, especially when he managed to get some kind of twisting arm control (I think: can be hard to tell when you're on the receiving end). I made sure to hop over his second hook before he could establish it, though I feel like I'm missing something there. My hop was mostly just delaying things, rather than getting me fully out of danger.

My last roll was a relaxed spar with Stuart, my training partner from last week. That gave me a chance to play around with guard a bit, some practice holding mount and the inevitable chunk of time escaping side control. It is reassuring to know that there are plenty of people at RGA Bucks that can be trusted not to make things worse when you're coming back from an injury.

On a random note, the purple from either my belt or Howard's was running, so got a bit smeared across the bottom of my trousers due to sweat. I threw my gi straight in the washing machine after training (normally I hang it up and let the sweat dry out a bit, putting it in the wash the next day), so hopefully that will be enough to get rid of any smudges. After all, I only wear white gis, definitely not semi-purple ones! ;)

In media news, the second issue of Jiu Jitsu Style magazine is due to be released on the 21st of April. You can either order a print issue through the site, or the digital version on iTunes. That means wherever you are in the world, you can get your copy of JJS. As ever, lots of great stuff in there (I've read an advance copy), with Seymour, Meg and I all contributing pieces again. Cover features are interviews with Kyra Gracie and the mighty Jude Samuel, who happens to be the guy who promoted me to blue belt a few years back. :D

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