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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

22 April 2011

22/04/2011 - Gracie Barra Bristol

Class #389
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Nicolai 'Geeza' Holt, Bristol, UK - 022/04/2011

I was at a friend's barbecue today, who just so happens to live right around the corner from Gracie Barra Bristol. My gf's new house is a few minutes away, and there is yet another friend who has bought a place nearby. Hopefully I'll be able to tempt some of them down, although "come roll with sweaty men" tends to be a difficult sell. But hey, I can hope.

An hour or two into the BBQ, I wandered off to Geeza's academy, where he went through some fairly complex techniques. The position for tonight was half guard, where they are on top and facing your legs. In order to sweep, you need to be careful of your leg position. It is tempting to triangle your legs, because that's the usual way of controlling from half guard.

However, if they're on top and facing your legs, then locking a triangle around their trapped leg will make it easier for them to pull the leg free. Instead, Geeza suggested putting your hooking hook on the outside of their trapped leg, with your knee pointing to the ceiling. Your other shin stays parallel to your first leg, again with the knee pointing straight up. Clamp those knees together for control. It should now be much harder for them to pull their leg free.

Next, your non-hooking foot is going to slip under their trapped heel. You also want to reach over their back and grab a lapel, pulling it out and wrapping it tight behind them. With your free hand, take a grip on their knee. Kick up with the foot behind their heel, while simultaneously pulling on their lapel and pushing their knee. This should spin them to their back, or at least onto their side, meaning you can come up and take side control.

Apparently last lesson, there was a simpler version, for when they are nearer your head. If that happens, you can simply reach over their head, lock your arms, pull them down towards you, then turn and come out on top. I think: Geeza briefly demonstrated it before going into tonight's techniques, so I'm quite possibly missing out some details. There was another one in that quick recap, but I can't remember it.

The last half guard sweep was from the same position as before, but this time they've also inserted their free shin in front of your thigh. That means the previous technique isn't going to work. I got a little confused about which leg goes where, but I think you started by using your inside hooking leg again. Grab their belt or the bottom of their trousers with one of your arms.

Either way, you then turn your body slightly towards the trapped side, with the aim of moving them slightly up and away. Reach under them and grab their lower trouser leg. Push that leg across, so that you can then bring your outside leg over both of their legs. Now all you have to do is come up on your elbow, then swivel around to the top position.

During specific sparring from that position, I didn't have much luck on top to start with: I just ended up getting my back taken. Underneath I got very confused about which leg was supposed to go where, so it wasn't long before I got passed. I had a bit better luck the third time round, on top: I established tight head control by grabbing onto the gi after wrapping my arm under their head.

That seemed to give me enough control to maintain base, then pick my moment to kick my leg free and pass. Then again, people are still going easy on me due to the lingering knee injury (mostly recovered now, but I'm trying not to push it too much).

In free sparring, I started with one of the larger teens, so we had a relatively light roll. I was playing around with various things, like the arm wrap from guard (failed to maintain enough control over the arm), spider guard attacks (didn't pull them forward and break their posture when going for the triangle) and twisting arm control (too loose a grip on the arm: should put my body into it to help trap it).

With one of the blue belts around my size, I obviously had to be more careful. I again tried the lasso spider guard control, but I'm focusing far too heavily on going for that triangle. That meant that because he put his knee in the way, I was basically just getting a grip then staring at him, uncertain of what to do next. I need to revise my options from there, as I know there are plenty of sweeps, but my mind went blank when trying to think of them.

I eventually did release and pop up for the triangle, but as before, I hadn't sufficiently broken down their posture. That meant they could easily just raise up and pass. So, back to the old running escape posture. I've been using that to stall far too often, so I made sure to complete the motion this time, pushing off my leg and swivelling back to guard.

However, I'm doing something wrong, as each time I spun, they just passed straight away. Either I need to block them by pressing into the shoulder and bicep and hip, or possibly something else Saulo does which I'm forgetting. I'll rewatch the video. Still, good to get into the habit of trying to escape rather than just lying there waiting.

Next week I'm off to the Peak District, which means I'll be able to go visit some fellow bloggers. First up is Adam from Conceptual BJJ, although he hasn't posted in a long while (in fact, the blog may be gone entirely now, I'll have to ask): he's a brown belt, in charge of Factory BJJ in Stockport. Then on Wednesday, I'll be heading over to Manchester to check out Liam the Part Time Grappler's class. Should be cool!

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