01 July 2017

01/07/2017 - First Class at Origin BJJ Noak Hill with Mike Cowling

Class #838
Origin BJJ Noak Hill (Noak Hill Sports Complex), Mike Cowling, London, UK - 01/07/2017

Mike has been coming to the Bristol GrappleThons regularly for years, as well as organising his own in connection with one I did. When he invited me to pop down to the opening of his new school Origin BJJ Noak Hill, I was therefore keen to return the favour and support him. It involved getting up a 3am for a Megabus at 4am (which was then delayed an hour, but bleh, that's why they are so cheap), but I don't sleep anyway. ;)

It is worth noting that the Noak Hill Sports Complex is not on Google Maps yet. What you will find is Noak Hill Sports Ground, which is NOT the same place. Fortunately I was on my bike, so it was a six minute detour, rather than however long a walk that would have been. I therefore still made it in time to the sports centre. The room is through the double doors, past the cafe. Mike has some beautifully soft roll-out mats, they feel great quality. Nice and thick, so I'm fairly certain you could use them for judo too. There was space around the mats, meaning there is scope for the school to expand (as I'm sure it will, Mike is an excellent teacher).

As an Origin BJJ student, Mike likes old school jiu jitsu, with practicality being the most important element. He shared the first lesson he ever learned with us, focusing on mount escapes. Interestingly, Mike told me that he still regularly uses the trap and roll, which remains a high percentage escape for him even against other higher belts. I have almost entirely relied on the heel drag for years: it's rare I'll hit the trap and roll.

It may be a fundamental technique most people will learn early on in their jiu jitsu, but Mike's version had some details I hadn't seen before. From mount, bridge up and knock them with your knee. That will make them post on their arms. Unlike most methods I've seen, Mike then brings his elbow back, bringing it over their arm, then clamping in to control that arm, hand on the triceps. Push the bottom of your foot into their same side leg, angling out your knee (again, different from what I've seen before), then punch up with your other arm and roll through.

My fingers were still a bit sore from all the gripping on Thursday when I sparred Sam. That swelling meant it hurt to do the trap and roll on that hand, but not a problem, I just stuck to the other side with my training partner (another Mike, who is another cool guy from Origin BJJ. With excellent beardage, must be those Turkish genes ;D).

The follow up was if they post out with a foot, so you do an elbow escape to recover your guard. Then there's the counter to the cross face. On this one, again Mike had an interesting variation. Rather than doing the 'comb your hair' type method to trap their arm, he grabs their shoulder and pulls (like Gustavo in his escapes instructional I'm reviewing at the moment, from MMA Leech). Mike then also recommends moving your body towards their head, to get underneath them. That makes the trap and roll much easier, a good tip I need to remember.

Mike then moved into talking about the choke. If you've been rolled over, control the head, then insert your first choke grip as they raise their head, go for the cross collar. If your hand gets blocked you can shift to an armbar. I got a little confused as to which hand, because as it turned out, it's your first choking grip your release. That didn't occur to me, as I normally use that to control their posture, but you can still control posture with your other hand and leg. Either way, that hand then pulls their arm across, moving into the armbar.

Good to see a decent turnout, I look forward to Mike's club growing over the next few years. Congrats on a great first class!

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