Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Dónal Carmody, Bristol, UK - 26/06/2012
Tonight's class continued with guard, this time a submission. As usual, Dónal ran through loads of drills to start, before progressing into the main technique, setting up the triangle. Grab their same side collar and pull them in towards you to break down their posture. Your other hand should be positioned on their same side forearm, slightly below their elbow. Push their arm backwards, then immediately bring your thigh to their neck. The reason you don't instead push on their wrist is so that they find it more difficult to block your leg with their elbow. Once you have that leg in position, clamp down, keeping your other leg tightly pressed into their side throughout. Don't try and jump both legs up at once, or they may be able to time it so that they have both arms outside and can move straight into a double underhooks pass. Instead, establish the first leg, then bring your other leg over to lock your ankles together. Squeeze your knees, and you're ready to move on to the triangle itself. However, that wasn't going to be covered in this class, as it's only an hour long. Instead, we went into sparring, where again I went with Tony. Like last week, we focused on specifics, even more so than usual. I was playing with side control last week, where I'm fairly comfortable. Today I decided to play with mount. Generally I'm quite comfortable there too, but my main mount is low with grapevines. Due to Tony's knee injury, I instead stuck with high mount. Now, I've been having more success from high mount than before, but I was reminded tonight how much less stable I am there compared to low mount. Tony was able to wriggle his knees in each time, getting to a position where he could brace both his shins inside one of my legs, then use that to make space and escape. It was an interesting test of balance, as well as a good opportunity to experience the kind of way I tend to try and escape mount, as like Tony I'm also a small guy who is used to digging my way free with knees and elbows. ;) After that, Dónal moved into another cool drill, this time for sparring. You may be familiar with flow rolling. There is a step before that, where you take the BJJ chess metaphor to a literal level, sparring move by move. This apparently is something Hélio enjoyed doing, particularly in his later years when his mobility had declined. The idea is to take it in turns to do a technique, then freezing in place while your partner responds. It makes for an interesting experience, providing the opportunity to think carefully about your next move (not often afforded in the midst of sparring) and try out things you might not otherwise attempt. In an ideal world, the warm-up for every class would feature flow rolling. I think it is an invaluable tool, particularly for beginners, as it teaches so many virtues of BJJ: for example, the ability to relax, to flow and to experiment. Christian Graugart did a great video on flow rolling here, which is well worth checking out.