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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a purple belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©2004-2016 Can Sönmez

11 May 2011

11/05/2011 - GB Bristol No Gi

Class #396
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Nicolai 'Geeza' Holt, Bristol, UK - 11/05/2011

There are two classes on a Wednesday, each an hour long. This will probably be the first and only time I ever attend the no-gi (as I wanted to chat to Geeza about my lesson tomorrow): I rarely take the gi off for training, as I don't enjoy no-gi.

Almost everybody was in full Gracie Barra no-gi regalia, something which is currently included in Gracie Barra Bristol membership (along with a bunch of other stuff, which is pretty cool if you like to represent your club both inside and outside the school). Most people tend to wear Gracie Barra gis as well, although I don't think that's a requirement: as far as I'm aware, GB clubs in the UK don't tend to have any uniform restrictions.

Geeza brought in an innovative teaching method for no-gi, as he has a large TV set up on the wall, which can connect to his laptop. Geeza is a regular competitor, as demonstrated by the glass cabinet heaving with medals, championship belts and trophies. He also makes sure to video most of his matches, meaning that tonight he was able to not only teach us two techniques, but also show us footage of him using them in competition environment. If you'd like to see him in action, check out his submission-focused YouTube channel, which includes lots of other people doing their thing too.

The first of those techniques was what Geeza called the 'flying angel' sweep, which you might also know as an overhead sweep. The key to this is timing. They're in your guard, and you have control of both their wrists, with your feet pressed into their hips. You're waiting for them to bring their weight forward. As soon as they do, you need to pick the right moment to lift them up by their hips, pushing their hands between their legs, then rolling backwards over your shoulder.

Done right, this will result in you getting to mount. Done wrong, you'll get squashed, or you might end up dropping them to one side. I was generally doing the latter: this is one of those techniques that makes me nervous, as I don't feel like I have much control. That's a problem I have with no-gi in general, which is a large part of the reason I avoid training without the gi. On a safety note, if you're the one being swept, make sure you tuck your head and roll, or you'll get piledrived into the mat.

Geeza then demonstrated a method for taking the back, again running a video of him successfully applying the same technique in competition. This time, the situation is that they have just passed your guard, but they've left an arm loose. You go for a kimura as they pass. Presuming you're able to lock it on, they're either going to have to tap, or roll through in order to avoid wrecking their shoulder.

Maintain your figure four grip and scoot in towards them. You're looking to stay close, so that you end up on your knees near their head, also forcing them to sit up. Loop one arm over their head, still with the kimura grip, then shift them to one side in order to establish your first hook. Move them to the other to get the second, and you've taken their back.

It was then time for sparring, which meant I got to roll with Donal, a blue belt I know from Gracie Barra Birmingham: he's in Bristol studying for the next couple of years. He is also more than capable of kicking my arse, which he proceeded to do tonight. The only thing that saved me from repeated tapping was – and this is frequently the case – Saulo's running escape. As ever I'm still using it to stall too much, though I did try and roll through back to guard a few times.

Donal's guillotine is especially nifty, in which I was very nearly caught numerous times. I also narrowly escaped an armbar and a triangle, probably due to the slipperiness of no-gi rather than any technical expertise on my part. The closest I got to any kind of offence was a vague flailing attempt at deep half guard.

Geeza often does a mini-lecture at the end of class while we're stretching, this time on the topic of no-gi and gi training. He made a comparison that certainly rang true for me, which is that no-gi is pitting your body against somebody else's body. Gi is putting your mind against theirs, which Geeza said he prefers (worth noting here that many of those aforementioned medals he has won are in no-gi, so he's speaking from long experience).

My first session teaching is tomorrow, which I'm looking forward to. Naturally I've planned everything out in advance, with a few things I wanted to test out for the future (mainly in terms of drilling).

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