After my last break due to illness I had a brief (thankfully) stomach flu that wiped away another week of BJJ. I was only really (violently) ill for about 8 hours, but it took a few more days to feel close to normal. I tried to go to open mat on the weekend, but at the end of my first roll, even though it was a warm up/light roll, the nausea meter spiked and I didn’t feel much like entertaining the possibility of puking on the mats. Anyway, a few days later and my stomach situation was much more stable and predictable. This was my first prolonged break from BJJ and I have to say; I really missed it. My wife and I have been remarking constantly that we’re still surprised how much we’re enjoying this. Not that we were pessimistic about it, but it is still going better than we could have hoped for.
This class featured more standing self-defense grip breaking and a transition to armbar from closed guard.
We went right into the grip breaking for our warm up, most of which I had seen in my previous class. The basics are the same for each variation (solid base, leverage your forearm, control distance) and get better the more reps you get. We’re still practicing them at a pretty low-level of resistance and I can see this taking more precision and control once the intensity ramps up.
Onto armbar from closed guard, which is part of the progressive guard system. This drill leans more towards the “street” jiujitsu rather than “sport” jiujitsu, which basically boils down to the fact you have to account for the possibility of your opponent striking you. In this drill your partner is in your closed guard with their arm wrapped around your head/neck, like a hugging head lock (note: vocab… still not good). In this position you want to: get their head away from yours and block their free arm from a body or head strike. You wrap you same side arm up and over their shoulder and get your forearm between you heads/faces. With your other arm you connect to their arm (while keeping your elbow in) and protect against it. Then, open your guard, plant one foot and hip escape away and get the hook inside his thigh. Then keep his shoulder locked in, look up, lift stomach and roll him over.
In this variation we didn’t go to mount (which felt like that natural progression), instead going to
s-mount (edit: technical mount); partner on side, your foot in front of him and on the floor, other knee up and behind his neck. Then extend your body away from him to break the head lock. We drilled up to this point for a while, getting used to the preliminary steps before moving onto the armbar. One we started on the armbar, you catch his arm as it slips off your neck and apply a crossface with your other hand. Then, lean into him, move your over-foot up towards his arm, applying your weight to him. Then slowly bring your rear foot around and over his head. This part (for me, anyway) was pretty technical and there seemed to be a lot of ways to screw it up. At this point you basically have him in an armbar already and you can slowly sit back (knees together) and apply pressure to the joint. I would say I’m (conservatively) about 1000 reps shy of feeling comfortable with this technique, as it’s still hit or miss in cooperative drilling.
We also drilled what to do if, at the beginning of the transition your partner tries to back out the head lock. This turned into a shoulder lock where you catch arm before it slips out, hip out and get your knees up to his chest/back and apply downward pressure. I didn’t get many reps with this one, as it was onto sparring. For whatever reason, I felt pretty good sparring, relatively, of course. I felt more aware of opportunities for escapes and other transitions. I’m certainly not “good” yet, but it felt like progress.
On a side note, our gym held it’s second women’s open mat on Sunday. As with the first, it was well organized and attended and my wife really enjoyed it. They’ve got a pretty good thing going and I’m excited for them to keep the momentum going. My wife was super psyched as she got a RNC for a submission during one of her rolls, which puts her in the lead in our house for submissions via RNC!