I was feeling slightly lethargic today and when Oli text me to say that he wouldn’t be able to train I was looking for an excuse not to train myself. As no excuse was forthcoming I plodded off to BJJ but I’m so glad I did.
Tonight’s warm up and workout were slightly easier than usual but nonetheless we still worked up a really good sweat especially going from knee jumps to sprawls.
We were then shown a couple of techniques by Ricardo which emphasised using your legs to help retain guard.
So with me on my back, knees bent, Uke stands by my feet and then steps with his left leg across to my left side and places his foot by my waist. My reaction to this is to shrimp on my left side and then bring my right leg over and place my right foot on Uke’s left leg and push off of it to regain guard and shrimp to my right where Uke then steps with his right leg and repeats.
After a while Ricardo then showed us an extension to this technique where, after the initial shrimp to my left I grab Uke’s leg with my hands and roll across my shoulders and pull guard. Annoyingly I don’t know if this technique has an exact name so I can’t find any videos of it but if I do I may add them later.
We must have drilled these techniques for about 30 minutes before we lined up. Then six of the senior guys were called on to the mats and we all had to take it in turns to try and pass their guard but we started by holding both of their legs together at the knees. This is a pretty good position to start off with but I was first paired up with a black belt and not just a BJJ black belt but a Judo black belt as well. As you can imagine I was unsuccessful in my attempt but I wasn’t alone. Some of the other seniors eventually had their guard passed but not the Black Belt and neither did Tim, a brown belt.
After ten or so minutes we were given a couple of minutes to take water before we started sparring. I paired up with James who was roughly my size and had been doing BJJ on and off for a couple of years. Although he caught me early on with Sode-guruma-jime for the rest of the roll I was able to defend pretty well and almost caught him at the end with a reverse triangle (San-gaku-jime) so I was pretty pleased with myself.
Ryan was next up and I got subbed with an Americana (Ude-garami) and then later on Ryan got full mount and was working towards an Arm Bar (Juji-gatame) when Ricardo called time. I really need to work on my escapes from the mount as at the moment I only know one and I’m usually not very successful with it.
My final roll was with a guy, whose name escapes me. He was quite small but also practised Japanese Jiu-jitsu. I caught him early on in a triangle (San-gaku-jime) but was not able to finish him as he was keeping his head close to my chest and trying to stack pass me. Also the fact that, for most of the time I had him in the triangle, I had locked my legs the wrong way. By the time I realised this my legs were getting tired and he was trying to pass my guard to my left. Realising that it was inevitable that I was going to have to let go of the triangle and that he was going to immediately end up in side control (mune-gatame) I was preparing to turn in to him and shrimp. I was therefore really pleased when my plan worked and I was able to shrimp back to full guard.
Although I couldn’t finish him with a submission I was really pleased that I was starting to think steps ahead and that my shrimping was improving.
Judo awaits me on Thursday and the continuation of my Yellow belt grading. I can’t wait.