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

11 May 2014

11/05/2014 - Artemis BJJ Open Mat

Class #568
Artemis BJJ (Longwell Green), Open Mat, Bristol, UK - 11/05/2014

The open mat marked the end of our first week at the new Longwell Green location, preceded by the first Artemis BJJ women's class (and possibly the last at Longwell Green, as unfortunately the venue has decided against continuing them at the present time. However, that just means I need to find a new venue for the women's BJJ class, which will hopefully be in place by next week :D). On Sundays the mat is shared with the local MMA fighters, but that's still plenty of space to get in some drilling and sparring.

I had a play around with the collar drag/sit up/loop choke series Josh suggested last week in Florida. Collar dragging from closed guard is difficult: generally, you need to open the guard so you can move past them. My preference would be to keep it closed, as that's low risk, so I'll keep playing around with it. Even if it isn't possible to get a full collar drag that way, if I can create a reaction that leads into a choke or sweep, that's fine too. On the loop choke, I need to remember gripping a little lower. :)

I also continued to play with the options against combat base, also shown to me by Josh last week. I'm liking that simple hook and pull on the raised leg, easy to do and easy to remember. The shin-on-shin entry to deep half is a bit more complex, but that seems to work fairly well too. I tried it a number of times when sparring later: the trick is to get their weight balanced right. If I try to dive in too early, they have a lot of weight and base. That means I end up just lying in front of them. I need to get them moving, so will have to pay close attention to the timing on this one.

It was also cool to be able to show Dónal some stuff he hadn't seen before: that crucifix material from the Dave Jacobs seminar has been a brilliant source of "let me show you something". I've also been able to use it in sparring ever since, though part of that might be because people aren't as familiar with the position and entries. It's changed my approach to attacking the turtle, which previously consisted mostly of me staring at them wondering how to open them up.

After class, I had a great chat with Dónal about teaching. When I started teaching back in 2011, I immediately began asking for feedback. I rarely got it: there were one or two people who felt comfortable enough giving criticism, but most understandably either said nothing or just said "yep, all good." Dónal went into much more depth, which was really helpful. We're going to make these chats a regular thing: I'm looking forward to putting these changes in place and seeing what impact that makes. :D

1. Streamline my teaching. I tend to put in a lot of variations and have always wondered if I put in too much detail. It's time I tried the more concise approach, just sticking with the way I prefer for the main demonstration. I can have the other variations in mind, keeping them in reserve for when I wander around during drilling. It could be a variation will work great for somebody who finds my way less effective, meaning I can mention it to them at that point.

2. Use the extra time to bump up drills. The classes at Longwell Green are fifteen minutes longer and I've been wondering how best to use that additional time. I still want to continue with my plan of functional BJJ drills, but I'm going to try chopping them into component parts. So, instead of the full side control escape to knees, I could do it in three stages. There are loads of other useful drills I can bring in, like passing etc.

3. Refine my music playlist. I have a load of trip hop and slower stuff on there, which I like but it is perhaps a bit too slow for BJJ class. I'll therefore pick out some funk, breakbeat and hip hop into a separate playlist and see how that works out.


  1. BJJ soundtrack: Crush me ;)

  2. I'll see your Go Periscope and raise you Seal's 'Let Me Roll'. ;)