Grass'N'Grapple (Acton Green Common), London, UK - 01/07/2017
Ellie and Jai have been down to visit Artemis BJJ before, along with meeting me at the Bournemouth BJJ Globetrotter Camp last year. Since then, Ellie has been sending me regular invites to a cool open mat she started organising back in June, where she brings a load of jigsaw mats to a park in a van. She and friends then lay them out and get rolling, right there in the park. It's a cool idea (like the one I went to a few years back in Austin, Texas), but until now I haven't been able to go. However, this Saturday I was in London for the opening of Mike Cowling's school, meaning I had time to pop down to the Grass N Grapple too.
If you head to Turnham Green tube station, the park in question is right by the station. Turnham Green is one stop down from Hammersmith: normally you can get there all the way, but at the moment you have to change at Hammersmith because a line connection is down. Still, easy to reach from central London. I got there a bit early, so sat on a bench until I noticed Ellie and friends laying out the mats, which I when I wandered over to help out them set up.
I am lazy, therefore I spent a lot of it chatting. Socialising is a big part of BJJ for me, a vibe I have tried to build at my club, Artemis BJJ. It's the same vibe I enjoy at both the GrappleThons and the BJJ Globetrotter Camps. Excellently, the Grass N Grapple has almost managed to foster that atmosphere, making for some lovely chats in the sunshine. My Facebook friends list always balloons after a Globetrotter camp or a GrappleThon, the same was true after the Grass N Grapple. ;)
Still, I did eventually get onto the mat for some rolling. First that was with Ket, who is around my size, probably slightly smaller. I therefore made a point of not muscling anything (not that I have much muscle to add, but when someone is smaller, that's pointless as you won't learn anything). He has a tight game, putting me in plenty of positions I need to work on (like escaping the back). I need to get better at preventing them getting their arms in position for a choke, rather than defending after they've secured it. The 'grab their arms and pull' will kinda work when it's white belts, but you'll get choked against bigger people and higher belts.
Later I went with Antony, who is bigger, so I didn't need to worry about putting in more force. I spent most of this one on top, playing around with my usual love of side control and kimura grips. I am pretty sure he could have caught me in a few leglocks if he wasn't being nice. Next time, he now knows he doesn't need to hold back on those, as I need to work my leglock defence anyway. :D
I will definitely make it along again. Not only was it a great atmosphere with some cool people, the gi fashion was magnificent too. Jai is building up a beautiful line of tie dye gis, I very much approve. ;P