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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 July 2011

17/07/2011 - Gracie Barra Bristol Sparring

Class #409
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Nicolai 'Geeza' Holt, Bristol, UK - 17/07/2011

My gf and I were out on the town last night, meaning we stayed over at the new house. That meant I could head down to the sparring class on Sunday, while my gf got in a bit more rest (the cider seems to have unsettled both our stomachs: I'm definitely out of practice when it comes to drinking, as I don't do it all that often these days). The house is almost habitable now, as the lounge and dining room floor is finished, the carpets are nearly all back in place and we have some furniture. Once we hook up the washing machine and buy a fridge freezer, we'll be able to move in properly, which means more training! :D

I'm teaching sweeps from open guard for my next class (which will be the Thursday after next, as I'm heading to a wedding this Thursday), so I wanted to try and use them as much as possible in sparring. I managed to get the tripod sweep a couple of times, but I wasn't coming forward enough and thrusting my hips afterwards. It is essential to thrust forward and come up after the sweep, or they will simply recover and you'll be fighting from guard again. Something I'll emphasise during my lesson: I'll include some of those hip thrust drills from the knees too.

Sparring started with guard passage. I went with Dan, a visiting purple from Gracie Barra Cardiff, who repeatedly squashed me with the Tozi pass (which is known by lots of different names: Sao Paulo pass, Chim pass, Wilson Reis pass, etc). I kept thinking I could maybe crawl around to the back, but as my leg was trapped, that didn't get very far. I can remember reading some good threads about this pass after Justin 'Chim Chim' Garcia put up a decent video teaching it, which he is now revamping into a full DVD set. There's a similar variation here.

Another thing I've been attempting to work is standing up to pass. I was doing that a lot when I was on top, as usual without getting anywhere. However, my main aim was to work out the balance and posture, so I could start to isolate where I'm going wrong. I need to watch my foot position, avoiding getting hooked, along with keeping my hip pressure constant. A straighter back might help too, as I think I was leaning too far forward.

At one point, I got into a sort of horse stance, which felt like it should be a strong position, but soon got broken down. I was also trying to get into combat base, but each time ended up getting swept anyway. Clearly I'm doing something wrong with my positioning there, but at least getting into the habit of shoving that knee up when there's space should be useful.

When I rolled again with Dan at the end of class, he was getting to my back (probably because I kept trying the running escape again). I was looking to block his hand and arms, pull my collar tight and also see if I could grab a knee to pop my hips over. That last part is where I tend to have trouble, as I'm never sure what is the right moment to move an arm from defending the neck to removing a hook.

I managed to spin to under mount a few times, then work to half guard from there, before eventually getting caught in a triangle. I forgot the defence I wanted to do, where you bring your knee to your elbow to start: I think I did it on the wrong side, but not sure. I can remember Kev teaching it a while back, so I'll have to go look back at my notes.

Tomorrow I intend to train again in the fundamentals class, though while I'm still not at the house permanently, I'll have to leave at 8pm to cycle back to Downend. On Thursday I leave for the wedding in Louth, getting back after a major meeting on Monday 25th. Scary stuff, as I don't feel as prepared as I'd like (I've mostly just been re-reading my notes), but we'll see how it goes.


  1. Congrats on almost having the house done! :)

  2. Thanks! Just got the internet sorted too, so can finally get online here rather than through my phone. :)