Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 26/01/2013
First off, congrats to my old training partner Pippa for her gold at the Europeans! She was the first person I ever met in BJJ, seeing as she was behind the desk when I initially walked into the Roger Gracie Academy back in 2006. Also be sure to check out Jen Flannery's play-by-play for the first day of the female black belt division. :)
Today is normally advertised as a review of the week's techniques followed by live training. The idea is that from 10:30-11:15, it is techniques and drilling, following by sparring until 12pm. Or at least that's what the text messages I get say: the last time I went to a Saturday class, it was just sparring. I decided to throw in some side control drilling to start with, specifically the continuous drill where you're both escaping to your knees, followed by the Saulo guard recovery swing versus knee on belly.
Taking inspiration from Dónal, I then had everybody drill their favourite escape from that week, followed by some progressive resistance. I considered putting in some material from Andre Galvao's drilling book too, but decided against it. However, I did get something useful out of reading it before class. He has a drill on p122 where the person on top puts one hand behind their back and the other in their belt, while the person underneath pushes them up and away, shrimping out. I wasn't too keen on emphasising pushing with your arms (though I'm sure there is a good reason for the drill), but I did like what Galvao and his co-author Kevin Howell said in the notes:
This is a mutually beneficial drill, as the bottom player gets to work on his escape movements without having to deal with the anchoring arms of his opponent. The top player gets to feel how his weight is manipulated and gets to keep the top position without the luxury of hands
I therefore turned it into a sparring drill where you're sparring from side control, but with one importance difference. Neither person is allowed to use their hands or arms. In the next round, the person on the bottom can use their arms, but the person on top still can't. It seemed to work well, especially as people were also smiling and laughing, which is always a good sign (after all, jiu jitsu should be fun! ;D). I'll do it again on Thursday, as it's useful for working top control too.
There were odd numbers today, so I was very tempted to jump in and join the sparring. I resisted the temptation, as I'm still not confident my injury is up to it. I was able to do some drilling earlier, but that's currently as far as I wanted to push it. I'm looking to pop down to a class next week, so that will be another chance to test out how the injury is doing. As higher belts have been allowed back into the fundamentals classes (for the moment), that should be a good opportunity for lighter training.
Teaching Notes: I didn't specify exactly how people should keep their arms out of the way for the 'no arms' drill, so a few people were being naughty on top and still bringing their elbows into play. Next time, I'll specify hands behind the back, as that way they'll be forced to rely on weight and hip movement. :)
Somebody bled on my gi while doing the progressive resistance, so hopefully that comes out ok. I went the salt and cold water route, which reduced the stain but didn't remove it completely. Hopefully the washing machine will do the rest: seemed to work ok for my trousers in Texas, as those got bled on too. Although that would have been due to Georgette's powerful washing machine and her skilled washing routine. ;)
The 'form two lines' method for dividing up the sparring has been working fairly well, having used it on Thursday and today so far. However, not so good with odd numbers, as it means somebody has to sit out (although if I wasn't injured, that wouldn't be a problem. Frustrating groin injuries! Grr). It did give people the chance to rest if they wanted to, but that also meant that not everybody had a chance to do all the drills, so I'd prefer to avoid that if possible.