I was back for my second BJJ lesson last night and I was accompanied by Oli (Brown belt) from my Judo club. We got there just after 8pm only to find some guys already rolling on the mats. Ricardo the instructor approached us and I introduced him to Oli. Apparently for the next month or so Tuesday nights will basically be sparring sessions, which is why some guys were already on the mats. We were told to warm ourselves up and then to start rolling.
My first roll was therefore with Oli who I have done Newaza with on numerous occasions at Judo. However I think the shackles of being a senior student were lifted here as he was more aggressive than usual and was able to land a couple of submissions on me. After about 10 minutes of rolling I reminded Oli that we had another 2 hours of this left yet so we better conserve our energy but we were quite tired as we had both expended a lot of effort.
My next roll was with a Brown belt who started off sitting back on his arse, remembering what I had been told last week I grabbed the gi of his trousers and tried to control his legs so that I could pass. Of course being a brown belt this was never gonna be easy and so it proved futile but I was at least able to keep him at bay a little longer before he was able to submit me.
One thing I was able to make work was a technique I had learnt from one of the DVD’s that Tony from AV Forums had sent me. This was basically a technique to stop someone from passing your guard but it’s very difficult to explain in words without a supporting video.Anyway I was able to stop the Brown belt from passing my guard using this technique but he was able to move to something else of which I had no answer to. Still it proved it worked.
Next up for me was Ryan (Blue Belt) and again he was being nice but it was whilst rolling with Ryan that I first got cramp in the calf of my left leg. Now I say “first” as throughout the rest of the lesson I kept getting cramp in both calves and then in my hamstrings which were very unpleasant. I’m pretty sure that the 4 mile run that I did in my lunch hour was the cause of my cramps and maybe next week I need to look at my training routine.
Back to Ryan and I was able to sub him with a Kimura and almost a triangle (before the cramp put an end to that) but again he doesn’t appear to be putting too much effort in against me.
After Ryan I was approached by a young lad (Seb), well I say young he was probably 19 or 20 but compared to me he was a young lad. Anyway this was his first lesson and as such he had no gi. We went on to the mat and he asked me what he should so I asked him what he knew already. As he was a fan of MMA he said all he knew was the guard and side control but I told him that was a good start as you need to learn defense before you can learn attack. So I told him to try what he knew so I pulled him in to my guard and he postured up and dug his elbows in to my thighs to pass. I managed to stop him from passing for a while until the pain in my thighs proved too much and he managed to get side control. I was then able to get back to half guard and at that point he said was stuck for ideas and asked me to show him a submission.
I thought the Kimura would be the easiest one to show him and after a few attempts he got the hang of it.
With renewed vigor he was eager to roll again with me so off we went again with me pulling guard. Yet again he was able to eventually pass to side control and then got mount and of course he went straight for the Kimura. I thought I better prove my worth so I reversed him and quickly got side control myself. From here I sunk in a Kimura and slowly cranked it up forcing him to tap.
At this point I mentioned to him how important it was to have control of your submissions and that there was nothing more dangerous than a noob who knew submissions as they were much more likely to crank them on too hard and injure their training partner than a higher grade would. I also told him not to hold on too long before tapping as this is only practice and unless you know a specific escape there was no point.
We continued to roll a couple more times and I was able to submit him a few more times but he was strong and young so it was a good workout nonetheless.
At this point we stopped sparring and Ricardo showed us a couple of armbar techniques which was good for me as this is a technique I’ve not been officially shown yet as an Armbar or Juji-gatame is a green belt technique in Judo.
Armed with my new improved submission we went back to sparring and I again rolled with Oli. Unfortunately I was dogged with cramp again in both thighs so I took some time out to stretch.
I got back on the mat and was paired with the young lad again who, after learning the armbar had another submission to add to his limited arsenal. At this point I was feeling very tired as we had been sparring for about an hour and a half with only a 30 minute break for submissions.
Again I pulled guard on Seb but this time I quickly swept him, passed his guard and caught him first with a kimura, then after we restarted I got him with a technique of which I’m not sure of the name, but I had full mount and from there I put my right arm under his neck and pushed my right shoulder under his chin to get a sort of neck crank. Following that I then subbed him with an arm triangle and finally from my back I was able to land Hiza-gatame.
This roll made me realise that there is a big difference between me and a complete beginner but I also knew that the difference between me and a blue belt was just as vast.
I then had a good tussle with another white belt and although he dominated me he only managed one submission in about 5 minutes. Shortly afterwards Ricardo called time and we stretched out before lining up. Just like last week we were all told to take our belts off as someone was getting a whipping. This time the whipping wasn’t so much a punishment as a good bye gesture to one of the guys who was heading out to Japan to train for 6 weeks and again it was done in good spirit
The morning after I’ve yet again woken up very stiff, covered in bruises (including one under my right eye) and with very sore ribs and chest. I’m sure my old body will eventually get used to this but I might have to look at my training in the week and stop running on the days that I train BJJ.
Hopefully Oli will be back next week as I’m sure I will.