31/01/2008 – BJJ (No-Gi)Posted: 31/01/2008
Roger Gracie Academy (BJJ), Jude Samuel, London, UK – 31/01/2008 – No-Gi
Unfortunately, my arm did indeed seize up the next morning after my last class. I think it was something muscular, as when I tried to raise my elbow I got a sharp stabbing pain along the outside of my upper arm. Training when feeling slightly under the weather is one thing, but there is no way I’m going to risk training with an injury.
That meant that I couldn’t train last Saturday, which was unfortunate as I’d arranged my advance ticket to Bristol around the beginner training session at 14:00. Not being able train left me waiting at home, after which I then got to Paddington early anyway because my lift was heading to London for around 2pm. Still, got some reading in before my 16:37 train, which is always good. No doubt if I had booked the train earlier, I wouldn’t have got injured and would now be complaining that I wish I’d left time to make the Saturday class. Sod’s law. 😉
Also had a play with Google Documents (which allows you to upload Word/Excel etc files), meaning you can get a sample of just how geekily I track my training here. Makes for an easy – if rather excessively detailed – answer to “what’s your training background?” The main file on my laptop is even worse. ;p
Finally made it back to an advanced class tonight, and was also hoping to double up, something I haven’t done since October. Still not sure whether I prefer to wear grappling shorts or gi trousers, but as I wanted to double tonight, that made the decision for me: makes for quicker change of clothes before training the second class if you’ve already got the bottom half on.
There was somebody taking an intro class I couldn’t recognise at first because I wasn’t wearing my glasses, but turned out it we’d met before, at the second Birmingham Throwdown. She’s thinking of joining up at RGA, which would be cool (as I frequently mention in this blog, I much prefer training with women, due to their size normally being close to mine, mature attitude and controlled approach to sparring), although as she mentioned she’s soon to go off to Thailand for a few months, I’m guessing that’s going to be delayed.
Tonight was heavily focused on the guillotine, with lots of variations. In fact, Jude was unusually varied in technical instruction, as normally we’ll just cover one or two, three at most: I think we went through at least five this time round. First was the basic guillotine from guard, which for no-gi, you grab the head, pull it down, then bring the other arm around the neck. Bring your legs up on their back to lock their upper body down. Grab your wrist, pulling the forearm into their neck. Finally, twist towards your knee, as if you were trying to touch it with your elbow.
If they happen to go for a single leg takedown but leave their neck exposed, you can again go for a guillotine variation. Get the guillotine grip on their neck (so one hand under, then grabbing your wrist to secure your forearm into their neck. I presume the one I’m more familiar with, where you grab your bicep and wrap them up, would work too. Or perhaps that’s not so effective in no-gi?). Fall back, bringing one instep into their hip (your knee of that leg therefore should be on the same side as their head, so your have to work it under their body). You other leg should come over the top, locking them into place. Then squeeze and twist your body as before.
Should they attempt to escape that by pressing their weight down and walking round, you can try to catch them in a brabo choke. I got a bit confused on this one, so will need to double check: IIRC, from the guillotine position above, push on their elbow and bring your hand right through. Grab your bicep, using your free hand to hold their side, then squeeze. I found it impossible to work my hand through, however, and tended to end up moving my partner over me and onto their back before I could secure it, which wasn’t the idea.
I then got to see another choke which was entirely new to me. Still from the single leg defence, cup their chin with your hand. Bring your other hand on top, and pull their head to the centre of your body. Press your chest into the back of their head, then sit-up, digging the edge of your hands into their neck. Combined with your chest, this should end up choking them. Will still work if they stand up, as you can simply follow them up and continue the squeeze.
Jude moved on to again work from defending the single leg, this time ending with a brabo choke variation. When they go for the single, sprawl back. Knock their elbow towards their other arm with your elbow, then with the same arm, reach up past their armpit. Spin to your back, then with that arm reach for your other bicep, getting into position for a brabo. You then roll them over your body, which should end up tightening the choke with their own body weight.
Again, I had trouble with this, and kept either knocking the wrong elbow, trying to grab my bicep too soon, not spinning to my back properly, ending up with my head on the wrong side, etc. I think I’ve been shown this before, back when Chris was still my regular no-gi training partner, so will have a look back through the blog to see if that sheds any light.
Technique over, it was time for sparring. My first partner was Jude, which is always great as he is (as you’d expect) very controlled, and offers lots of tips. He walked me through a guillotine, reminding me to walk my legs up a bit higher: apparently, in my closed guard I’ve been holding it too low. I also found myself frequently going to my back and trying to move into guard, which is something I’m a little too ready to do, as Oli mentioned last time we rolled. That tendency to want to go to my back often leads to people mounting or getting side control on me, especially in nogi where I haven’t got any handles to cling to.
Connor would do exactly that in my next spar. After fiddling about with open guard, failing to isolate a leg, get a foot into a knee and secure an ankle with my hand (I managed them separately, but not all at once, which led to a sloppy open guard on my part as they had a leg free), I soon found myself under Connor’s side control. That’s pretty much where I stayed, until Connor eventually worked his way to an arm triangle. I’m still not swimming my arm under and going to my knees, a side control escape I absolutely have to stop neglecting. I keep finding myself going for that same move to half-guard by trapping a leg, then getting kinda stuck when it doesn’t work. Must shift between several escapes instead of getting preoccupied with one.
Finally, I had a spar with Tran. He dropped to his back, meaning I had to try and go for the top position. As my top game is non-existent, that soon led to a reversal, though I managed to salvage half-guard (I think). Not that it meant anything: while normally I feel I at least have some space in half-guard, against Tran there was no room at all. He steadily progressed to mount, sucking up any space. His mount was completely solid, so it felt rather like fighting a cliff face as he inexorably moved to high mount. I kept bucking and trying to keep my arms in, eventually attempting to pop out the back by twisting to the side near his legs, but to no avail. I shoved an arm out at some point (my body now crammed up against Tran’s knees), falling straight into Tran’s armbar.
Still, was good to have such an unshakeable mount to work against, as after all, I want to work my escapes. Nothing like solid resistance to sharpen up your technique, even if its only small improvements.