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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

08 June 2012

08/06/2012 - Gracie Barra Bristol (Knee-On-Belly Transitions)

Class #458
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Nicolai 'Geeza' Holt, Bristol, UK - 08/06/2012

I've been even more intermittent with training (in terms of being a student, rather than teaching) recently, so it was good to get in at least one session of being taught rather than being the teacher. I love teaching, but it inevitably reduces your drilling and sparring time, so it's important to also get in some time learning from somebody better than you.

Tonight Geeza continued the theme of side control transitions from yesterday, focusing on knee-on-belly. That started off with a nifty drill for knee on belly, which also proved to be a tough workout for the legs. You start off in knee on belly. They turn towards you, whereupon you lift your knee slightly, keeping the instep of that knee curled in close to their body. They then bridge straight up: again, you ride it out. Finally, they turn away forcefully. This is the hardest bit. With the leg you have up, move that right around their head. Keep on going under that leg is by their stomach. Put the knee on belly on that side, so that you other leg is now up instead. Repeat.

Next up was a transition from knee on belly to mount. Begin in side control, then move your hand nearest their legs to their far hip and grip. You other hand is going to grip their far collar, so that your forearm is across their neck. Hop up to knee on belly. Once you've secured the position, switch your hip hand to the outside of their far knee, gripping the gi material of their trousers tightly.

They again try to forcefully turn towards you and bridge you off. Go with the motion, sitting back on your raised leg. Use your trouser grip to shove their knees to the mat, on the side nearest to you. Kick your other leg (so, the one which was on their belly) straight forward, a bit like you were doing a muay thai teep kick over their body. Use your kick to grip their far hip with your heel, then drive through into mount.

Geeza finished off the technical section with a third technique: there was a bit more time tonight, as he merged the beginner and advanced classes, so it ended up being a bit under two hours total. This time, he demonstrated a near side armbar from side control. The grip you start off with is unusual for side control, as you want to reach under their near side armpit with the arm furthest away from that armpit. It is important that their arm then ends up underneath your armpit, so you can clamp it to your body. Keep reaching with your hand, to grab the back of their collar.

It is a weird grip, which takes a bit of set-up because their arm isn't normally in that position. If they are wise to this technique, then it will be even harder to get the grip. However, as Geeza said, you can trick them into giving it to you. Reach under their armpit, then start moving to north-south. That should make them extend their arm, so that you can then clamp it and move back to your original perpendicular alignment.

Either way, once you have that grip, reach over with your free arm to grab their far sleeve. Pull it towards you to roll them up on their side, passing it across your body, bringing your leg over their head. Make sure your armpit and collar hold stays tight on the first arm. Bring your other leg over their body as well, sliding your grip up from their collar towards their elbow. Their arm should still be firmly clamped, enabling you to lean back and put pressure on their elbow for the tap.

I haven't done an extended session of sparring in a while: it was good to get back to it tonight. We did a good forty minutes. I started off with two relatively light rolls, with a white belt and an orange belt respectively. Given I'm pretty weeny, the orange belt is actually bigger than me, but still young, so I had a strength and experience advantage. That meant I could practice my transitions, trying to use what Geeza had just shown us about knee on belly and that grip set up. The white belt has a lot of experience in judo, so it was interesting trying to attack her back. The natural judo reaction is to turn flat to the floor on your stomach, which is quite different to the typical BJJ scenario.

That was followed by a completely different kind of roll, as next up I went with Geeza, who is both much bigger and much better than me. I therefore took it as an opportunity to work my defence, trying to dig my way out of his side and back control using my elbows and knees, spinning and squirming whenever I could find some space. I'm ending up with my back taken far too often, possibly because of my instinctive reliance on the running escape. Rolling with Miles was similar, as he is also bigger and better than me, so I did pretty much exactly the same thing.

By this point I was knackered, so my final roll with a smaller blue belt was very lazy. I fought to get on top of half guard, then settled into my usual control: elbow pressed in the back of the head grabbing the back of their gi, while the other arm reaches under their armpit and clamps tight. We stayed there for a long time with me trying to catch my breath from the previous rolls. Eventually he was able to put me in guard, where I switched to first using my legs to try and keep him away, then going to a very defensive closed guard for the last few moments of the spar.

Capoeira classes being launched at the academy, which could be interesting. I haven't been to a class of that since my second year as an undergraduate back in 2001/2002, so I may well pop down on Sunday to check it out.

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