Artemis BJJ (PHNX Fitness), Open Mat, Bristol, UK - 31/01/2015
With about five weeks left until we hit the mats to roll for Equality Now, we're getting close to a fundraising milestone. With another five pounds, we'll reach the £500 mark on our GrappleThon team total. Are there any readers who want to help us there? One step closer to the £4,000 target! Donate here and support the important work done by Equality Now. :D
In other exciting news, a new sponsor has stepped up to support the GrappleThon. GIMONO are a gi company from New Zealand, who use an innovative material in creating their martial arts equipment. It's made of merino wool and polyster, which sounds like a bizarre combination, but after almost three years of use, it's still my favourite gi (I reviewed the BJJ model back in 2012, just before my first trip out to the States). Now you have a chance to win one in your choice of colour, cut (they do several) and size. All you need to do is join the GrappleThon fundraising team and raise more money than anybody else (I'm excluding myself from the comp, of course ;D).
Good luck and let me know if you need any help: there is a full guide to setting up a fundraising page here, but I'm happy to answer any questions you might have. :)
This Saturday featured one of the biggest turnouts we've had so far, coinciding with the brightest jiu jitsu trousers I've ever worn, having dyed some Fenom trousers Flamingo Pink a few days ago. I've clearly moved away from my previous "plain white gi only" stance, something that's been gradually breaking down ever since I brought back a blue The Green Gi jacket from Virginia last May. My nogi wardrobe was already pretty colourful, so thanks to Dylon, my gi wardrobe will eventually be just as fabulous. ;)
We had a visitor from London today, Bevan, which is always really cool. He's probably going to go train with Seymour at Mill Hill, as since his old gym closed down, I think that's the closest. It would great to get in some rolls with him, as that gave me a chance to practice all sorts of random techniques (e.g., pull his gi tail out over his back, switch hands by the neck, then do a sort of loop choke motion. Not sure that would normally work, but hey, fun!). I had a chance to show him a few techniques too, like some basic mount escapes and my favourite choke from side control (as he's only been training two months, there are of course still some gaps. I've been training for almost nine years now and have LOTS of gaps ;D).
I also got some drilling time with Tracey, whose armbars and triangles are really coming along. There's a noticeable solidity when she locks in that armbar now, which wasn't there before. I'm sure it won't be long until she's regularly hitting that technique in sparring: as a teacher, there's nothing better than watching your students improve. The growing number of women at Artemis BJJ (there are now four officially on the books, with several others popping in every now and then) is especially awesome. Just need to reach that critical mass, then hopefully I'll be getting close to the ambitious 50/50 gender split I'm aiming for.
There was a particularly cool, chilled out atmosphere today, something I always try to build. I honestly think that was at least partly down to my pink pants. They are so ridiculous that it immediately made it easier for everyone to be a bit more silly and relaxed, having fun with jiu jitsu rather than getting all serious and grr. Yay for fabulous Flamingo Pink! ;D
The main thing I wanted to drill was something called the 'unstoppable sweep', mentioned by Seymour over on his blog recently. He went to a Mike Fowler seminar, who is the guy known for this technique. If I understand it right, you get on your side in open guard, bringing your lower leg in front of the bottom of their shin. Your other leg goes just above their knee, when you also lock your feet together. Grab their same side sleeve with your lower arm and their same side collar with your upper arm.
You can then tweak their leg outwards by pulling with your lower leg on their shin and pushing with your other leg behind their knee. Maintain your grips and knee position, as this should hopefully put you directly into a knee cut with a deep collar grip, meaning you could also switch right into a choke. Great technique, judging by the drilling I did. Although I hardly ever go to de la Riva (I worry about my knees, as there was a Fightworks Podcast episode where a veteran BJJ medic commented on long-term knee damage from competitors that used a lot of DLR), I could see this potentially fitting in to my tripod/sickle sweep game.
Trying it in sparring, I wasn't finding myself in position for it, as the sweep appears to require them to be standing. However, I'll keep playing with it: could be there is a way to fit it into some kind of half guard game too, which would be handy as Feburary at Artemis BJJ is going to be half guard month. I'll also be testing out the new Estima InAction site, so hopefully Braulio has a load of cool half guard stuf on there. :)
Here's a video of Fowler's unstoppable sweep (which Seymour linked to):