RGA Aylesbury, (BJJ), Kev Capel, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, UK - 24/10/2015
Kev started with taking the back against turtle. Open up their collar with one arm, feeding that to the other, making sure you don't reach it so far that they can hook your elbow. Move around to the opposite side of your gripping arm and roll them into the back. You can move straight into a choke from here, where for some reason I got confused about which hand goes where. I think it was the same thing Kev was showing during that private last month, where you do the collar choke on the weak side (i.e., on the side you have your arm under their armpit), switching to a RNC with the arm by the neck if you can't get that.
Next was an escape, as Kev often likes to show both sides of a position when he teaches. For this back escape, grab their arm and pull it over your head, locking it by your shoulder with one arm. Move away from that arm with your legs, clearing their foot off your hip and walking over it. Once you have cleared that leg, grab their remaining leg, to prevent them swinging over into mount. Pushing off your feet, get your weight onto them, walk your feet around to side control, then finish by turning towards their legs.
The last technique looked perfect, as it was a knee cut counter. I get stuck there all the time. Kev did it from de la Riva, but I think it works from other places (e.g., IIRC, Bruno Matias did it from half guard at the BJJ Globetrotter Summer Camp a few months ago). It also comes with a flowery name, 'kiss of the dragon': Kev has the same view of fancy terminology for techniques as me, so said that with a wry smile. It certainly wouldn't be his choice of name, nor mine. ;)
Anyway, from de la Riva, switch hands to grab their ankle with your other hand (i.e., switch from your same side hand to opposite hand). That means you can pull their heel against your bum and lock their foot facing outwards. This should make it tough for them to turn their leg in order to do the knee cut. Your knee comes in place to block into their leg, again to hinder their ability to turn their knee in for the pass. Slide your free hand behind their other knee, back of the hand against the back of their knee. Use that as a guide to swivel your body and pop through their legs.
From there, you can just grab their ankles and knock them over. There's a chance you might be able to rotate your legs to the back of theirs, making it possible to flick their legs out and take their back. If not, knocking them into turtle may give you the opening to jump onto their back and lock on a seat belt. At worst, you should at least be able to get into top half guard. All of those are much better than getting your guard passed. :)
Sparring involved lots of guard passing attempts, where it took me most of the round to get past the first person's guard, then I had an americana locked on just as the timer ran out. I think I was underneath too and almost got my back taken at one point, so that was probably from side control. I have a bad habit of leaving my back exposed when escaping from there. Risky! I also missed a chance to try Chelsea's 'crazy dog' pass against a lasso spider guard in the last round, must remember to do that next time.
With a purple belt (who eventually got an americana too), I was trying out the sit-up escape type stuff again, blocking into his shoulder. Sort of worked, but he then got my basing arm and knocked me down, just like Kev warned in his private. Like I said before, I need to rewatch that Ryan Hall set where he talks about that, as I am sure he's got a counter to try. At the end of class, there were a few stripes given out, including one for me. Always nice, especially as it's been a few years. :)
Goya: The Portraits' has come at the perfect time for me, because my head is full of his work after my recent trip to Madrid and the accompanying research I did (for fun: I'm weird that kind of thing makes me happy).
It was a pleasure to see so many of the portraits I'd been reading about spring off the page. Three in particular stood out, 'The Family of the Infante Don Luis' (normally in Parma), 'Self Portrait with Doctor Arrieta' (from the Minneapolis Institute of Art) and best of all, the famous Duchess of Alba where she points at the ground.
She is rightly featured as the poster for the whole exhibition. A number of other sources I've read/watched interpret the fact that she's pointing at the words 'solo Goya' ('only Goya') on the ground as an indication of a romantic connection. The theory goes that it's Goya mooning over a younger woman and trying to 'claim' her in painting, like Rossetti arguably attempted with his endless images of Jane Morris. Another plausible explanation was offered by the audio guide, where the curator Dr Xavier Bray (who also notes it took a decade to get the exhibition sorted, apparently) says it is probably just Goya saying only he could paint the Duchess so well. Her potent presence is usually restricted to the Hispanic Society of America, based in New York, so as the audio guide said, it was awesome to get a chance to see it in person. Well ok, the guide didn't say 'awesome', but that was the gist of it. ;p
It was also really cool to see lots of other paintings that live in the US: the Duchess was just one of them. I've been earmarking various galleries in the States to see the work of my favourite painters, including a number of the Goya portraits that appear in this exhibition (works belonging to Washington and New York especially). Naturally that won't put me off going to the New York and Washington galleries: rather it acted as a delicious taster of what awaits me when I finally do make it out there (should be in 2017, during my next big BJJ trip).
There's a video done by the National Gallery introducing the exhibition embedded below, plus a few more over on the sponsor Credit Suisse's website.