Bristol Sports Centre, (Artemis BJJ), Open Mat, Bristol, UK - 02/04/2014
It was a small class of all purple belts tonight, so we went with an open mat format rather than the class I was planning. That turned out to be useful for me: it's cool to have a chance to compare notes with Dónal every now and then. I'm very much looking forward to having regular open mats at the second location, once that starts up (shouldn't be long now).
Dónal was playing with various complex looking sweeps he's been watching in Keenan Cornelius' competition game recently. I took on the role of training dummy, such as trying to stay heavy and low as Dónal attempted to practice lifting my weight off the floor, using some kind of spider guard variation I didn't fully understand.
In my case, I wanted to practice the spider guard sweeps from Kev's private back in February. The main one I've been trying is getting the lasso grip, then when they stand up, hooking the foot of your lasso under their leg on the same side. Your other leg goes in front of their ankle, while you're also grabbing their collar with your free hand.
Since I learned that from Kev, I've got to the position a few times but had some trouble finishing it off. Dónal highlighted a little tweak, to do with my finishing turn into their leg. Previously, my ability to turn was hampered by my own elbow. Pulling my elbow underneath me immediately increased that turning range, making the sweep much easier.
I then also attempted the other sweeps where you get them to stand up by pushing into their arm. I was forgetting a few steps, whereupon Dónal suggested giving the most simple option another go. That's when you have the lasso on one side and your foot pushing into their arm on the other. Simply push up into the bicep arm while pulling on the lasso, steering them over until you can knock them onto the ground.
Again, Dónal has two small tweaks to help increase your range. First, push into their arm with the lower part of your foot, towards the heel rather than your toes. That seems to knock them more off balance. The second thing is to twist slightly, looking over your shoulder. For whatever reason, the sweep felt more fluid when I added in those two details. To untangle your lassoed leg, do a sort of knee slide to move into side control.
We did a bit of specific sparring, where I was being careful of Donal's foot, but sparring pretty much as normal. Dónal very quickly got me in a tight triangle, capitalising on my over-focus on staying back to stay safe as I was looking to pass. Normally I feel like I some space to escape, but this felt super tight, so I tapped straight away, there was nowhere to go.
I have been playing with the gi lapels a lot recently. Tonight I grabbed the jacket and used that as a sort of shield against his leg. Basically I was pissing around, but that's fun to do sometimes. It sort of helped, but I doubt there's much in it. ;)
Something else I need to be careful of is escaping omoplatas. I was almost caught in one and jumped through, but if it had been anyone but Dónal, I may have mashed up my shoulder. Next time I should play it more safe. I find it tough to do my usual running man escapes with Dónal, as he always feels super tight with his arms in that position. I think I did roll through at one point, but mainly because we were right near the wall.