Artemis BJJ (Longwell Green), Dónal Carmody, Bristol, UK - 06/05/2014
I was still a bit jetlagged after flying in from Florida yesterday, but I was also excited. That's because as of today, the Artemis BJJ timetable has five new classes, because we've started up at our Longwell Green location (full details here). There will be sessions on Tuesdays and Thursday from 19:00-20:15, as well as a kid's class on Thursday from 18:00-19:00, plus an open mat on Sundays from 12:00-14:00. Most exciting of all is that I'll be kicking off the women's class (which is FREE! Hooray!) on Sunday, from 11:00-12:00. So, if you are (or you know) a woman in Bristol interested in trying BJJ, please come down! :D
Mark has made some further improvements to Hit Fit, so the venue is looking really nice. I'd forgotten that the door has a code on it, but you can also just press the button to buzz in. Parking your bike under the stairs is a possibility, though I'll probably put my folding bike round the back for ease. There was a kids MMA class going on when I arrived, which consisted entirely of games: I can see Mark is a good kids teacher.
Position of the month (I haven't written the post yet) for May is closed guard. Dónal decided to take a look at the triangle for tonight's session. He sets it up by grabbing just above their elbow on the hand they have gripping by your hip (with your thumb pointing down), then with your other hand grasping their same side collar. Simultaneously open your legs, raising your hips as your shove their hand back with your near-elbow grip and pull them down with your collar grip.
From here, it's the classic Ryan Hall style attack, underhooking their arm to spin perpendicular, making sure you maintain head control to stop them posturing up. Grab your shin and pull that right to their neck, bringing your other leg over that ankle. Hide their shoulder to maximise pressure on the carotid arteries and squeeze for the tap.
If they try to hide their trapped arm by reaching underneath you and linking their hands, raise your hips and reach your arm inside their grip. Grab their bicep and pry their grip off by pushing down with that grip and you lever up with your elbow. You can turn this into a kimura, or if they wriggle out of that, trap the arm by your head and go for a pressing armbar. If you don't land either of those, there is still the triangle.
In specific sparring, I was with a powerful blue belt, which made for an interesting roll. Whenever I'm with somebody really strong, I make a conscious effort to relax even more than usual, because I already know there is no point trying to match strength. It also tends to mean the pace eases off a little, once they realise you aren't offering as much resistance as they're expecting, or at least that's my intention.
I got swept a couple of times and also got caught in a basic cross choke. That was a good reminder that I can't be complacent defending those: I wove my arm inside, but he was strong enough to simply crush straight through that. It's a poor defence on my part, especially as I didn't maintain good posture. Later on, I made sure to posture up in the same situation, which seemed to do the trick.
When I was underneath, I briefly locked in a triangle, but failed to keep control of the head. I was almost able to switch to an omoplata, but this time didn't control their roll by reaching over the back. That meant he could roll through, eventually adjusting to come on top in side control. I need to practice that basic transition from triangles to omoplatas and armbars more.
In free sparring, I was in the opposite situation, partnered with somebody smaller than me. I therefore tried to keep things light but tight, avoiding strength as much as I could but still keeping up some pressure. There are two things to avoid here: going too hard on somebody smaller and less experienced, or going too light and being patronising. Difficult balance to strike, but good to practice doing it.