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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

06 December 2011

06/12/2011 - Carlos Lemos Jr at Gracie Barra Bristol

Class #436
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Carlos Lemos Jr, Bristol, UK - 06/12/2011

Carlos Lemos Jr originally started Gracie Barra Bristol back in around 2004/2005. He hasn't lost touch with the club, which was later restarted by Geeza, as Lemos regularly returns to the UK to hold seminars (especially as his black belt student, Salvatore Pace, heads up nearby Gracie Barra Bath). Having held one of those seminars on Monday, he was due to fly back this morning.

However, it would appear forces more powerful that air travel conspired to keep him here, as that flight was cancelled. So instead, we got to benefit from his experience during the Tuesday class, which is normally run by Donal. That was also particularly good for me, as Lemos generously gave me thirty minutes of his time at the end to do an interview.

There aren't many people better suited to interviews: Lemos loves to talk. A large proportion of the class was taken up by Lemos' words of wisdom, talking about his history in sport, drawing analogies to MMA and fleshing out the principles and theory behind what he was teaching. It's an interesting instructional style, which reminds me of Saulo Ribeiro's approach in his DVDs. I can imagine Lemos would be a good choice to write an instructional book as a result, perhaps on escapes, given that's his specialty.

Lemos' nickname is 'Escorrega', which means 'slippery' in Portuguese. It's a reference to his ability to escape, part of which he shared with us tonight. That began with an Americana escape, which functions in much the same way whether it is applied from mount, side control or top half guard. It was also fairly simple, as you just straighten your arm to remove the angle they need.

You're still at risk of being armbarred, as they can just adjust their grip, then press your wrist down, hyperextending your elbow due to the position of their arm under yours. To avoid that follow-up, the solution again is simple: point your thumb down. Having avoided the initial attack, twist your thumb up and down, gradually wriggling your elbow back, until you can free your arm.

Next up was escaping the kimura from side control after they've stepped over your head. This proved slightly more complex. Start by immediately grabbing your belt or gi, to buy yourself some time. Next, swing your legs side to side, to generate momentum. Put your free hand on their thigh, then using that momentum from you legs, swivel and get your head free.

You can now face them square on and use your legs to recover guard. A more advanced option is to clamp the elbow of your trapped arm to your body, which in turn traps their arm. If you then swivel as before, you can move straight into an armbar, as you already have their arm secured.

I felt ok after drilling, so decided I should be alright for sparring. Of course, although the flu appears to have mostly gone, my neck is still dodgy. That meant Geeza put me with smaller people and children, which was helpful. I'm continuing to work that top half guard that doesn't require me to use my head for control, but as before I still need to take the next step and attack.

The main option would seem to be doing something with their arm, as I have that deep grip on their armpit, but then I would have to remove my other arm to attack it properly. So instead, I was trying to flatten them out and then go for the arm: this would be much easier if I could use my head as normal, as then I can press into the arm with my forehead and trap it on the mat.

I'm also not being proactive enough from open guard, particularly when they sit down with one knee raised. I know there are several sweeps from there, but I keep forgetting the steps. I'll have to go revise some of the ones I was using previously, or perhaps it would be good to dial it back to something more basic, working to recover full guard then go into the fundamental options like scissor, knee-push, sit-up and elevator.


  1. What a cool nickname. Would love to be able to sit and listen to his stories.:)

  2. Once the interview is published in Jiu Jitsu Style, you'll get that chance. ;)

    Not sure which issue it will be appearing in, though.