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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a purple belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©2004-2016 Can Sönmez

27 January 2014

27/01/2014 - First Class at Artemis BJJ!

Class #541
Bristol Sports Centre, (Artemis BJJ), Dónal Carmody, Bristol, UK - 27/01/2014

Hooray! After several months of planning, Artemis BJJ has officially opened (I've got all the social media up and running now, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram), with our first location at Bristol Sports Centre in central Bristol (for details on how to find us, check the Locations page on the Artemis BJJ website). Very exciting! There was a pretty good turnout, including purple, blue and white belts. I was particularly pleased that there were three women training as well, so I very much hope that's something we can build on: my goal is a 50/50 gender split. Ambitious, but something to aim for. I'll be starting my regular teaching slot on Wednesday at the same time (19:30-20:30), so I hope to see some of you there! :D

Dónal and I have decided that we're going to stick with one position for a month, as that's something we both really loved about Gracie Barra Birmingham (which incidentally is where I first met Dónal). For this opening month, that's going to be side control. Today's lesson focused on maintaining side control, following Dónal's regular format of several connected drills.

Before you can get to side control, you'll normally need to pass the guard. Therefore the first drill was the classic bullfighter pass motion. Push their knees to the side as you swing your leg back, then step that same leg through to their side, moving into knee on belly.

Progressing to side control, in the next drill they turn towards you after you've passed. Put the hand you have nearest their legs by their near side hip, with your fingers pointing towards them. That's going to be one basing point. With your other hand, push their head towards you, simultaneously stepping your other leg over their head, keeping your weight on them. Squeeze your stepping knee in towards them for further control. As you spin to the other side, bring the elbow of your head-pushing arm inside what was their near hip and is now the far hip. You can also wedge your knee by their upper back, to help hold them in place. Move back into normal side control, then the process starts again.

But what if they manage to make some space and get their knee inside, sliding their shin across your stomach? The next drill had the answer. Grab around their back, then backstep so your hips are pointing towards their legs. This also neatly moves you around their knee, blocking them from recovering their position. Grip their ankle with your hand, then shove outwards: another classic Dónal simile cropped up here, as he described the motion being like 'giving someone a bunch of flowers'. You can then re-establish side control.

Moving into sparring, we did a quick bit of specific sparring where your goal is to get to mount if you're on top or escape if you're on the bottom. I was training with somebody new to the sport, but he had already realised that he could effectively pin my legs in place by grabbing the bottom of my trouser leg and shoving that to the mat. Due to being at the end of the lever, it's a good control: I was able to flip him backwards by hooking his leg, but still, cool that he was catching on to concepts at this early stage. Hopefully he'll become a regular. :)

The class finished off with free sparring. My first roll was with a blue belt, where I finally managed to remember Kev's suggestion of breaking their grip to go for an armdrag from closed guard, then pull that same arm back to my armpit if they resisted and switch to a sit-up sweep/hip bump. From mount, I initially found myself in my usual predicament of being able to hold the position but not progress. Then I realised that shifting into technical mount opened up the possibility of a bow and arrow choke.

That's something I don't try often enough. I'm keen to get better at that choke, firstly because it fits perfectly with the Artemis theme and secondly because my instructor Kev is really good at it (indeed, it helped him win gold at the Europeans this last weekend). I book regular private lessons with Kev, so the bow and arrow will certainly be featuring in one of them. ;)

Finished up with another blue belt, where I was looking for the tripod but that wasn't working too well given he was kneeling and doing a good job of breaking my grips. I need to think more carefully about dealing with that kind of position in open guard, with sweeps that work well against combat base and its variations.

I'll be teaching our next class, at the same time and place on Wednesday (check our Locations page to see exactly where we are). Hopefully I'll see some of you there! ;)