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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

13 July 2011

13/07/2011 - Gracie Barra Bristol

Class #408
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Nicolai 'Geeza' Holt, Bristol, UK - 13/07/2011

I came down with some kind of cold or flu a couple of weeks ago, which I'm only just starting to shake off now. Annoyingly, that meant I was out of training properly for a while (although I did still teach, so not completely away from BJJ). I'm still a little sniffly, but finally made it back to class.

As I've mentioned before, Geeza handily sends out a text message to all club members before each class, saying what is going to be taught that night. I was intrigued by the message today, which described it as 'Terra guard'. I guessed that was something from Caio Terra, but had no idea what.

It turned out to be an open guard, which was essentially a variation on de la Riva. The first sweep started in de la Riva, where they are either standing, or have one knee up. Your leg goes behind their knee, then the foot of that leg wraps around their opposite hip (to put it another way, under then over, from the outside). You're also grabbing a sleeve on the hip side, while your other hand grabs their same side heel.

To switch to what Geeza called Terra guard (googling that, I see it isn't just him), take your hand off their sleeve and instead reach underneath your hooking leg. Thread your arm through, so that it not only goes under your leg, but also over their shin, until your can grab the bottom of your gi trousers. Their heel should now be in the crook of your elbow.

Kick your other leg out away from them, so they can't attack it for a footlock. With your free hand, reach over to grab their other leg. You're then going to roll over your shoulder, moving sideways (this is a motion Geeza refers to as the 'grandma roll', which we drilled during the warm-up). The aim is to bring the knee of your non-wrapped leg between their legs.

This should enable you to establish x-guard. As you do, bring your ankle-wrapping arm up towards your shoulder, so that you will also knock their leg onto your shoulder. From there, you can execute the classic x-guard sweep, where you push them away with one foot, then do a technical stand up to put them on their back.

The next open guard sweep was from a similar position. This time, you're in de la Riva the opposite way. Now your foot is going behind their leg, but from the inside, then hooking around the same side hip or thigh. From here, you again establish Terra guard by reaching under your leg, over their shin, then grabbing the bottom of your gi pants.

Grab their opposite sleeve or gi lapel with your same side hand. You can use that to help you swivel, again in a grandma roll type motion over your shoulders. With the leg you have hooked around theirs, kick them forward. Use their motion to scoot behind them, then readjust to grab their belt and move your feet to hook behind both knees. From here, you can kick into both knees and pull on their belt, then take the back.

After a bit of progressive resistance to play with the position, it was time for free sparring. I was mainly looking to work open guard, as that is what I'll be teaching for the next few weeks, but I did manage to fit in a few attempts at Terra guard. I found that I wasn't necessarily getting the right position, but it nevertheless encouraged me to use that swivelling motion more often, which is beneficial.

Most of the time, we were ending up in half guard: either I was trying to pass, or I was moving into the position from the bottom. Refreshingly I wasn't getting stuck underneath in a long stalemate. Instead, I was twice able to move from half guard to the back, as there was an exposed neck for me to attack. Normally I struggle to get past their chin on the rear naked choke, as that blocks the submission.

That wasn't the issue on this occasion, as I was able to fully lock in the first arm. Unfortunately, I couldn't maintain the second arm, as they were able to reach back and dislodge it. Same thing was happening the second time just as the bell went for the end of the round and the end of class.

Next time, I'll be looking to use my head and chest more to take away their space to escape, and also be more careful of them reaching back to remove my arms. Alternatively, I could move into something else: I was vaguely looking at the Ezequiel from the back and armbar, but couldn't switch into either of them effectively.

The visiting black belt turned up again at the end of class, ready for nogi. I never stay for that class (and at the moment can't anyway, as I still have to cycle back to Downend), but hopefully I'll get a chance to train with him again either later in the week or next week, if he's still there. Out of interest I popped 'Paul' 'black belt' and 'Traven' into google, which brought up a picture of him working his day job at Fight! magazine, in case you're wondering who he is. :)

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