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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

26 June 2011

26/06/2011 - Gracie Barra Sparring

Class #406
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Nicolai 'Geeza' Holt, Bristol, UK - 26/06/2011

I had intended to pop along last night, but as my gf was heading off for the weekend and had a tough day at work, she wanted to go out for a meal. Nevertheless, as she was away, that meant I was free to head down to the Sunday sparring session. After the warm-up, Geeza moved into a bit of specific sparring, from guard. On top, I was looking to control the leg, create some distance, then pass over the top. I think I'm getting a bit mixed up on where to put my head and which side to underhook, but at least I'm remembering to try both of those.

As ever, I normally get stuck in half guard when trying to slide through, then work to continue the pass from there. My control of their hips remains poor, which is a key element of passing I've been missing for...well, ever. Most of the time when I do get past, it feels sloppy. Some day, it would be nice to be able to pass the guard crisply and reliably. A good few years off yet, unfortunately.

Underneath, I wanted to attempt the techniques I'm planning to teach on Thursday, which are all basic sweeps from closed guard. None of my partners were sufficiently obliging today, so instead I ended up practicing spider guard and basic sweeps from standing. Still useful, as I'll be showing some fundamental open guard sweeps against a standing opponent in a few weeks time.

My spider guard continues to be mostly a holding position: I'm not doing enough with it. However, I'm pleased that I haven't been forgetting to at least try those basic sweeps from open guard, the tripod and sickle. Working on the set-ups is useful, as is experiencing the typical problems and resistance. Something I'll be looking to incorporate into the lesson. The most useful thing I've learned regarding those sweeps is probably what Kev showed, getting a double grip on one sleeve and clamping your elbows. Seems to be a strong grip.

Class moved into free sparring after that, with Geeza pairing people up. I started off with a white belt, where again I wanted those sweeps, but strangely found myself in Barbosa guard (which is basically a counter to the double underhooks pass, but Abmar Barbosa has a whole series of techniques from there). I reviewed his instructional set a while ago for Jiu Jitsu Style, but discounted it for my own game as too advanced. However, given that I ended up there three or four times today, I'll have to give Barbosa's DVD another look (it was all pretty advanced, but there must be at least one or two things I can try).

With another white belt, I again found I couldn't get into position for those simple sweeps I wanted. My backup plan of the tripod and sickle didn't work either: I was creating plenty of distance by pushing on his hip, but he didn't stand up as I'd expected. A lot of people are also putting their knee up when I go for the spider guard. I did have a sweep to try from there earlier, but I've forgotten the details: time to review my notes!

There was also a more challenging roll, with a big blue belt. I think he said he weighed about 100kg, which is at least 35kg more than me. Nevertheless, he didn't go nuts and stayed fairly relaxed. I looked to work my escapes, particularly the running escape, but I'm not swivelling enough. I keep ending up vaguely going for half guard, but with a very poor position, so I normally get passed in short order. I also gave up my back at some point, getting caught in a bow and arrow choke.

That happened again during my next roll, with a visiting purple belt from Gracie Barra Cardiff, Dan (or it would have done, if time hadn't ran out). I was mostly defensive, trying some random things like wrapping my collar and gi over his hand as he tried to feed it through to complete a choke. That isn't something I've done before, so it may be a vagary of the ripstop gi (though I doubt it's a viable defence: fun to play with, though).

There's a seminar with Mauricio Gomes coming up in early July, which I don't think I'll be able to make as I'm still having to cycle back to my gf's parents. Shame, as it's been a few years since I last trained with Roger's father. It will be good when I don't have that time constraint anymore: still working on the floors in the new house!

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