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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

18 September 2011

18/09/2011 - Teaching (Open Mat)

Teaching #020
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 18/09/2011

There are two reasons I'm very excited about next week. The first is of course the ADCC, coming to Nottingham here in the UK on the 24th and 25th September (if you're not in the UK, Budovideos are streaming it here). A group of us are heading up from Gracie Barra Bristol. Judging by the ticket sales, most of UK BJJ is turning out to see this: it will be cool to catch up with some old friends, and perhaps make some new ones. If anybody wants to say hi, I'll be the weedy guy with big sideburns wearing a Gracie Barra Bristol hoody, and/or an assortment of BJJ related t-shirts (that's me failing to smile and in need of a shave on the left).

The second reason, which for me will be even more exciting, is that I'm cashing in my 30th birthday present. That means my girlfriend will be attending my class on Thursday, along with a female friend of hers. I think there are several other women coming along too, so hopefully that could mean a significant jump in the female membership at GB Bristol (presuming I don't scare them all off). At best, it will at least mean I can ask my gf and her friend what they did and didn't like, so I can get an idea of how best to encourage more women to join. If you're a woman in Bristol who fancies trying out BJJ, then Thursday should be a good time to do it. :D

Geeza is off competing, meaning that Miles ran the class on Friday, while Oli and I had the Sunday covered. I ran through the usual warm-up, then started pairing people up for sparring. There were quite a few beginners there, with one group who I think were from UWE (though they've been before, as I recognised the faces from GB Bristol Facebook pics ), along with a couple of Steve's friends from Bristol Uni. They were all willing to roll, so I made sure to pair them up with blue belts, both to help them with advice and to keep sparring fairly calm.

I got the chance to get in a few rolls myself, which was nice. As I'm currently teaching back mount, I was looking to get to the back. That didn't happen during most of the rounds, but I did at least get to work my guard recovery, which is always useful. I think on my next closed guard teaching cycle I'll focus on armdrags, as that's something I want to get better at myself anyway. Then there's Roger's nifty way of getting to the back, which is slightly different to the orthodox armdrag.

On Sundays, it is split into an hour of gi sparring, then an hour of nogi. I never train nogi unless I'm forced to by circumstance (e.g., if that's the only day I can train in a week), but before I left, I asked if anybody wanted to hang around to do some more gi sparring. Fortunately for me, a few people did, meaning I could get in a bunch more sparring while the nogi session got underway on the far side of the mat.

Rolling with Luke is always good fun, because of the way he stays controlled:hat gives me a chance to work my game. So, I finally managed to get around to the back, stepping a leg over into technical mount while looking to pass the guard, then rolling him over my leg to secure the back. There wasn't much time left, but I was pleased that this time I remembered to first bring a hand through the armpit and grab their collar for control.

It can be difficult to practice back mount in sparring because it is normally a struggle to get there, so we'll see if there is any specific back mount sparring next week (aside from my lesson, of course: if it's odd numbers or enough for king of the hill, I'll get in more practice then).

For my last roll it was working on maintaining the guard again. I still need to come up with a better solution to them putting a knee up when I'm looking to work my spider guard. I did practice some sweeps for exactly that situation a while ago, but I keep forgetting what to do. Possibly something I can focus on for my open guard classes in a few months, as I haven't yet decided exactly which open guard sweeps I want to teach.


  1. Hey dude. I'm up at the ADCC too. If I see you there I'll be sure to say hi. The Leo Seminar was cool btw. And I got my Blue :oD

  2. Cool: will see you there. :)

    Congrats on the blue! I saw Seymour's report, where he mentioned the whipping (fortunately for Seymour and I, that isn't an RGA tradition. Unless you're under Cesar. :p)

  3. Ill be there man, ill be the shaven headed surly looking guy with a bad chin strap beard....wait thats me and 70% of the other attendees

  4. Amish-tastic: should be easy to spot, then. :)