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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

19 June 2012

19/06/2012 - Please Donate to the Meningitis UK GrappleThon

Class #459
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Dónal Carmody, Bristol, UK - 19/06/2012

On the 22nd September 2012, I've organised a twenty-four hour grappling session at Gracie Barra Bristol. It's an idea I got from some Canadian friends of mine, who ran what they called a 'grapple-a-thon' the day before I got my purple belt. The concept is that between 9am on Saturday until 9am on Sunday, there will be at least one pair sparring. I'll be streaming it live, so if you ever wanted to see me getting extremely tired at a silly time on Sunday morning, now's your chance. ;) The GrappleThon, generously sponsored by Seymour 'Meerkatsu' Yang and Tatami Fightwear, will be in support of a charity, Meningitis UK. The purpose of that charity is to develop vaccinations for all the various strains of meningitis. If you're able to donate anything to help them in their work funding vaccine research, my fundraising page is here. Even if it's only a pound (or a dollar: you can donate via PayPal, so it's international), it all helps. If you're wondering why I want to raise money for Meningitis UK, I can't think of words more powerful than these, where one of the parents I met a few months ago describes how she lost her child.  _______________  Dónal's class tonight was as ever replete with some nifty drills, in particular two partner drills for the guard. Start with them in your open guard. Grab underneath your leg to grab the material on the outside of their same side knee. Rolling onto your shoulder, still on that side, kick your other leg diagonally across. Kicking that leg provides the momentum you need to end up kneeling next to them. You then return to your previous position by dropping your inside shoulder and rolling back in front of them, after which you repeat the motion on the other side.  The next drill added in another detail. It starts the same as before, except that this time your free hand grabs their sleeve (yet again, that's the sleeve on the same side as the knee you're gripping, meaning you're reaching diagonally across). Kick your leg across as you did last time to end up next to them. Due to the sleeve grip, you'll find yourself with an arm between your legs. That means that when you now drop your shoulder to roll back, you can kick your inside leg into the crook of their elbow to bend their arm back, setting you up for either an omoplata or an omoplata sweep (which from what Dónal said is the one Roleta was famous for using). In terms of technique, Dónal ran through a simple but important principle about maintaining guard. If you've seen the awesome closed guard DVD by Andre Anderson, then you'll be familiar with this: like Anderson, Dónal described how lying flat on your back leaves a space between your groin and their hips. With that space, they can immediately start to press back into your crossed ankles, because your ankles are jammed tight against their back.  If you instead wriggle your hips forward, so that there is no gap between your groin and their stomach, the space moves behind them. They now have to work much harder to open the guard, as they'll have to somehow close the distance between their back and your crossed ankles. At this point, Dónal mentioned how you want to adjust the way in which your ankles are crossed depending on their grip. If they have their right arm forward, they will probably press their left arm into your same side leg, so you'll want to shift your ankles to make it harder for them to break them open.  There was enough time left for two rounds of sparring. I went with Tony, who is coming off a serious knee injury. He therefore didn't want to work from guard, asking if I could start on top in side control instead. I'm a big fan of specific sparring, so I was happy to get in some focused practice. I worked on staying tight, attempting to fill any gaps, also maximising my weight through my chest and head by coming up on my toes. I was also looking to sneak an arm underneath his armpit, to attack for the kimura. While I could get a gift wrap grip (reaching around his head to grab his opposite wrist, pulling his arm around his head as a result), I wasn't able to capitalise. Most of that round was spent trying to both maintain the pressure on top and see if I could wriggle my arm past his armpit. My intention was to shift from a kimura into an arm triangle, as per John Will's seminar last month.

The second round was similar, except that I started in knee-on-belly. That's one of my weaker positions. I went for the Braulio version, where you stay low, putting an arm by their far hip to stop them shrimping. As I felt myself losing the position, I circled around to a sort of crouching north-south, grabbing an arm in a figure-four on the way. However, I couldn't separate that arm from the body sufficiently to generate any leverage. Instead, I did a back-step to avoid losing control, thereby ending in the same position as the last round.

This time I moved more quickly to try for the arm triangle, but with much the same results. I couldn't wriggle into the armpit, as Tony was doing an effective job of both keeping his arm really tight along with blocking and wriggling his other arm to maintain a mobile barrier. I think perhaps I should have driven my hand past the armpit and grabbed round the head, in order to move into Will's arm triangle tightening sequence. Then again, I may not have had the space. Either way, something to work on for next time: it's always really cool to get a chance to really hone in on a specific technique. :D

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