Whilst waiting for the juniors to leave the matted area so we could start our lesson I noticed someone wearing a strange faded black gi top with white trousers. I quickly realised that the gi was a BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) gi so I approached him and asked his name. Ryan trains BJJ at Nova Forca in Epsom which funnily enough is a place I have trained at before many years ago but due to work commitments I had to give it up after only two lessons. Anyway Ryan said he had trained there for 3 years so I couldn’t wait to Newaza with him.
Ryan was introduced to the rest of the class and apparently his daughter has just enrolled in the junior’s which is why he has decided to give Judo a go as he liked the look of it.
After a quick warm up we went straight to Newaza and I was paired with Ryan. He quickly pulled guard but before I could settle he reversed and almost got full mount but I managed to hip escape in to half guard, he then passed to side control and was setting up a submission when he was interrupted by Gill who told him that as he had side control he should go for the pin or hold known as Mune-gatame. I can imagine that for a BJJ guy this would seem quite an alien thing for him to do as even for me, an avid watcher of all things MMA I still give up holds to go for subs.
Regardless I had seen enough of Ryan to know that his ground game was streets ahead of mine and I can definitely learn something from him as I’m sure even the more senior grades can. After reading some Judo forums I sense some animosity from some Judoka towards BJJ guys but that couldn’t be further from the truth as far as I was concerned. Firstly Ryan represented someone new and different to train with and secondly he has some skills from which I can learn from.
We changed partners shortly after Gill’s interruption and I paired up with Oli and then eventually big Stuart. I had a good tussle with big Stuart and nearly caught him twice, first in a San-Gaku-jime and then with Juji-gatame but he eventually escaped and after several attempts at passing my guard he got full mount and was I’m sure just about to go for a sub when Graeme called matte.
We spent some time going over Kesa-gatame and Mune-gatame and the various escapes and I was paired again with Ryan. Kesa-gatame was new to Ryan which really surprised me. I know they don’t use pins per say in BJJ but I thought they would use them to transition. He was having some difficulty with the escape from Mune-gatame so we broke down the escape without the use of a partner by lying on our backs and bridging to each shoulder, then adding the pushing movements with our arms followed by turning on and over our shoulder so that we are laying on our fronts. Done with a partner you end up lying on their chest, hopefully performing Mune-gatame on them.
We then went on to some stand up and practiced Osoto-otoshi and Osoto-gari. To the untrained eye both throws are very similar, the only difference being that with otoshi you place your sweeping leg on the floor behind uke and straighten it up whereas with gari you totally sweep uke’s leg which generally makes for a harder through for uke. This is where Ryan’s general lack of throwing experience showed but he was getting to grips with them by the end.
I hope Ryan comes back next week as he seems like a nice guy and he will offer something different to the club. Who knows, maybe some of us can pay a visit to his BJJ club some time to polish up our ground work and maybe extend an invitation to them to come train some Judo to help with their standup.