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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

24 July 2014

24/07/2014 - Artemis BJJ | Open Guard | Maintaining

Class #581
Artemis BJJ (Impact Gym), Dónal Carmody, Bristol, UK - 24/07/2014

Useful drilling tonight, which gave me something I could add to my maintaining open guard drilling sequences. I normally have them pass, you bring your outside leg over to hook and recover, then with a shrimp, then with either a spin or a running escape. Dónal has another step I can now add, bringing that outside foot all the way over to the opposite hip to push against it. Flare the knee up to make it harder for them to push it down and backstep pass the other way, also hooking the outside of their nearest leg with your other foot to further prevent that backstep.

That was the technique for tonight, with the rest of class dedicated to sparring. As I mentioned last week, it has been super hot (for the UK) this summer, just like last year. I therefore prepared carefully this time, bringing my lightest, most breathable gi (the Gimono) and not wearing my usual spats (I missed the compression, but it was worth it for less heat). I also made a point of conserving my energy in sparring, so no techniques that required lots of running around or straining.

In specific sparring, I was surprised at how effective that bullfighter pass I've been teaching this week proved to be. Essentially just the principle of dropping your shoulder into their hips as soon as you are past their knees meant I was able to pass almost every time, very unusual for me even when it's white and blue belts. It was also low energy: with my usual knee cut, that can take a bit more shoving and pushing. With the bullfighter, I just dropped and flopped, using my hips to shove their knee further out of the way if they were trying to block.

Having said that, against more experienced opponents this would of course be less effective. Everybody was defending the bullfighter by trying to stiff arm me as I passed, but they weren't engaging their legs and hips. That meant I could take my time, control their far hip with my arm (I wasn't bringing my knee into the near hip every time though, so need to remember that), moving comfortably into side control. If they had managed to shrimp away before I could do that, it would have been much tougher. The one time I varied it up with a knee cut, I also got swept right away because I was being lazy and not pressuring down enough, or getting an underhook.

In free sparring I was similarly lazy: I just went to closed guard and locked it up. Rather than looping their head with my arm, I relied on a deep collar grip. As a result, I didn't have any soreness in my bicep and I wasn't all that tired afterwards. I also wasn't doing a whole lot though, so it wasn't proactive enough. I tried the windscreen wiper sweep a few times, but I didn't have the angle. If I'd been less cautious I would have swivelled and opened up a bit, but decided with the heat I was going to be la: opening up means more chance of landing the sweep, but also more chance of getting into a scramble.

My laziness and heat-avoidance also meant I wasn't trying the techniques I'd meant to attempt beforehand, as they also require opening up and energy. But I'll have a play with them at the open mat on Saturday, as long as there is at least one person with a gi willing to drill. :)

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