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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

17 May 2011

17/05/2011 - GB Bristol

Class #398
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Miles Pearson, Bristol, UK - 17/05/2011

There are two purple belts currently at Gracie Barra Bristol: I'm one, and Miles is the other. We've both been asked to teach by Geeza, with my class on the Thursdays, Miles' class on the Tuesday. I'm obviously interested in what my fellow purple is teaching (although he's a more experienced purple, and a more experienced instructor: he has a background in primary school teaching), so I was keen to pop along for the Tuesday class. It's impressive Miles is teaching at all, as his wife recently gave birth: congrats to both of them. :)

Miles runs a comparatively long warm-up, following up the usual running round the room with various drills, like partner hip lifting, gi pull ups, belt sprints etc. He then moved into the technical portion, which was all going to be based around the 'gift wrap' made famous by Rickson Gracie. It's a bit like Lesson 35 from Gracie Combatives, which Rener calls 'twisting arm control' (except that he has his foot over by their hip, rather than both knees behind their back). The set up Miles showed started in scarf hold.

To transition to the gift wrap (or twisting arm control, if you prefer that term), step the leg nearest their head over their face. That will push their trapped arm across their body. Grab it with the arm you have over their body, also bringing your other hand under their head. You can then feed their wrist to that other hand, pulling it in tight to establish the gift wrap.

There is a chance you might be able to get a wristlock here, if they don't make a fist with their trapped hand. You want to hold their wrist as high as you can, also controlling that arm with your other hand. Bring their arm out slightly, making sure that their fingers are pointing towards their head. Put your sternum on their elbow, then apply pressure for the wristlock.

As that is low percentage, like Miles mentioned, you can also go for a choke. Loosen up their arm enough that you can slip your other arm through, then reach for your shoulder or bicep. Tighten their arm back up: you're looking to block off one side of their neck with their own arm, and the other with your arm. Once you're in position, pull them up slightly towards you, then straighten your arms, pressing forward.

From the same position, you can also switch to an armbar. Again you want your arm through, but this time grab your wrist, to establish a figure four. Bring your knees up, shift your arm over their head, then get one leg over their head as well, dropping back for the armbar. Make sure to also grab their trouser leg, as otherwise they'll be able to turn and use the hitchhiker escape, because you don't have both legs over.

Miles then showed the same gift wrap/twisting arm control from mount. To transition to the gift wrap, move into a high mount. It will be tough to simply shove their arm over, so instead block it with your hand. Move your upper torso to the side, then pressing your side into their elbow, put your whole body into the action. With that weight, you should be able to slide their arm across their neck, then slip your arm under their head to grab their wrist and enter the gift wrap.

You can now shift into s-mount, where you can go for an armbar in the usual fashion. You can also take the back, by getting a figure four grip again, then dropping towards one side. This will end up being your weak side in terms of the choke, so you'll want to push off with your leg to roll them over to the other side. You're now in a strong position to set up your favourite choke from the back.

Miles finished up by having everyone line up against the wall, where he paired people up for free sparring. I started off with Miles, who was taking it relatively easy with me (possibly because he's a fair bit bigger). I was mostly going to the running escape, trying to spin around back to guard, which he largely let me do.

Next was Geeza, who dropped to his back and waited to see how I'd try to pass his guard. As ever, my answer was mainly to stare at him in confusion, vaguely flailing at his legs before getting swept. My guard passing remains really, really bad: I sometimes forget just how bad, because normally I'll mercifully get put on my back somehow, meaning I can then work my guard.

However, being a good instructor, Geeza kept returning to his back after he landed a sweep, meaning I had to keep on attempting (and failing) to pass. Afterwards, he suggested that instead of trying to push forward and drive with my hips, I should move back and push the legs down. I'm small and weedy, so the second option is a better fit for my body type. Something I need to keep in mind for next time.

Finally, I had a roll with Luke. As always when I roll with Luke, he shows an impressive level of calm control, never using strength, meaning sparring with him is always enjoyably technical. I tried for that lasso spider guard sweep, and set it up just right: I had the lasso, he was passing...but I didn't grab the leg and push, leaving it too late. Luke could see what I was trying to do, so had no problem basing out and preventing the sweep.

I did manage to then bring my legs up for the triangle and roll on top, but that was mostly down to flexibility and the light pace of the roll, rather than solid technique on my part. Still, worth trying that kind of thing when I can, as it's a handy thing to spring on people: they aren't normally expecting to be attacked from under side control. At the same time, it's low percentage stuff (on top of side control is a dominant position for a reason, after all), so definitely not something to rely on.

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