Hit Fit, (BJJ), Dónal Carmody, Bristol, UK - 24/10/2013
Fantastic news from RGA Bucks, as my old training partner Yaz Wilson has become Roger Gracie's first female black belt on Wednesday! Big congrats to her on an extremely well-deserved promotion: not only is Yaz the current brown belt Mundials champ, she's also one of the top role models for women in BJJ. Congratulations also to all the other new belts (including Kev and Yaz's son Keenan), awarded at the opening ceremony for my instructor Kev Capel's beautiful new gym (if you missed the Open Mat interview with Kev, check it out here) :D
Movember Rollathon from afar. In other words, I will be spending November growing a ridiculous moustache: if you'd enjoy having a laugh at me looking even more stupid than usual, you can drop a few pennies/cents etc here. Should work no matter where you're from, but let me know if you run into any problems. I'm aiming for a full-on Village People stache (should go nicely with the sideburns), but depending how fast my facial fuzz flowers, I may well go for multiple mo options. Maybe even a different set of whiskers each week? ;)
Tonight's class at Hit Fit continued with butterfly guard (that's been the theme for a while, which is cool as my butterfly guard is pants). Class started with the usual series of drills, then moved into a simple method for knocking them off balance when in butterfly. You can either pop up on your side (like you would for a butterfly sweep) or square on. Either way, make sure to curl your toes under their legs for a better grip (as Dónal always puts it, 'like a koala bear').
Holding their collar and elbow, push into the side of their knee and then change direction to shove that knee backwards (just like a push sweep), simultaneously pulling them down next to you. From there, you could take their back, or there are a few submission options. One of those is the guillotine, the topic for tonight's class.
I never go for guillotines, but it's useful learning the application from Dónal. His variation for tonight was a bit nasty as it relies on crushing into the windpipe, rather than a blood choke. Having knocked them to the side, bring your shoulder forward and wrap your same side arm around their neck. Your hand curls back, almost as if you were wristlocking yourself, directly under their throat. Cup your first hand with your second, then twist your hands back towards you while raising up. Also squeeze your arms together. If you need to, continue dropping, bringing your leg over their back for control.
It can be difficult to hit the right spot, but as this is a meaner air choke rather than blood, it isn't quite as hard to do. I prefer 'Marcelotine' style that I learned at the LSG closed guard seminar, though I as I don't use guillotines in sparring it isn't something I've practiced much. Then again, as I'm now making a concerted effort to combine sit-up sweeps with Relson chokes, adding in a guillotine would make sense. I normally have trouble wrapping their head up because they just regain posture: the tips from Dónal today might help with that.
Sparring started off with Mark, the experienced MMA guy who owns Hit Fit. He's a good training partner, as despite his considerable strength advantage, he doesn't force techniques with his athleticism. On top, I was doing the usual knee cut passing as well as switching to the bullfighter a few times: yet again, I get caught on that arm. I got past, I think by rolling over the top, but it wasn't very smooth. I should be using my knee to dig out the arm, but I keep forgetting (or am I off-balance with my leg positioning? Something I should practice at an open mat some time).
Underneath, I was looking to sweep, so that was a good opportunity to work on my shoddy butterfly guard. I wasn't having much luck disrupting Mark's base, or switching to an elevator sweep when he raised his leg. At one point, I was both pleased and surprised when I managed to land the sweep variation from Carlos Machado's Unstoppable DVD, where you press their head down with your arm. I've tried it before in vain, but this time it worked perfectly, flipping him right over. However, I don't know how I landed it, so I suspect it was a combination of surprise and fluke. Hopefully I will be able to land it consciously at some point. ;)
I tried to be more proactive at one point, pushing off my legs from the running escape for the leg swing, but didn't commit properly and timed it badly. That therefore meant I just expended some energy to no effect. This happens a lot when I'm in the running escape against somebody superior, but it's something I've been working on during open mat time. Eventually it will click. :D