Before the class started Ricardo informed everyone that the club would be moving venues to the Rainbow Centre in Epsom, which is only 5 minutes down the road. The full address is already on his website for those interested.
We went through the normal warm up which lasted approximately 25 minutes before Ricardo went on to show us what would be the only technique of the night, a standing guard pass. We drilled this for about 25-30 minutes, both left and right sides. I like the fact that you really get to drill a technique in BJJ. It means that when you leave the class you don’t forget what you’ve been told and can immediately add it to your repertoire. This is probably the reason that it takes so long to grade in BJJ, with the average time spent between starting and getting your first belt (blue) being somewhere between 1 and 3 years, depending on how often you train.
Techniques aside I think the quickest way of learning is to put things in to practice and roll and that’s what we did next for the last 30 minutes of class.
Being a white belt I know my main aim is survival and my first sparring partner was a purple belt so I was not expecting to do anything but try and survive. I think he must have been working on a particular move and was maybe trying to work on some specific weakness in his game because he didn't submit once in our 3 minute roll. Yes I was being constantly attacked and if it was Judo I would have been pinned on numerous occasions but I was pleased that I was able to come out of it still relatively intact and not gassed.
My next roll was with Ryan, who used to train Judo at DJC but due to personal reasons wasn't able to train anymore. However he has been doing BJJ for a number of years now and is therefore an experienced Blue belt. This roll was quite similar to my last roll. I defended for my life and wasn’t submitted. Perhaps my Newaza doesn’t suck as much as I think it does!
My third roll was against Tim, the orange belt Judoka from Guildford. Tim is fairly small in stature, well compared to me he is, but he put up a hell of a fight. I pulled guard and thought that I should be able to sweep him but he clearly has some ground skills and controlled my legs whilst he tried to pass my guard. I eventually managed to get him in my guard and slapped on a triangle. He did quite well at defending this until I finally managed to get a good tight squeeze and he tapped. When we re-restarted I did manage to take his back and got my hooks in. I was looking for a gi choke but his gi was so baggy that I found it hard to do this and so he hung on in there until the 3 minutes were up.
My last roll was against another blue belt and again it was similar to my other rolls against the BJJ guys where I just tried to not be submitted. Unfortunately this time, with him in the north south position (I think) he managed to secure an Americana and I tapped.
I really enjoyed the class tonight and was pleased that a few of the guys there had read my blog and introduced themselves to me. It was nice to catch up with Ryan again and I may have even talked him in to giving Judo another go if he has the time. Next week I may be incognito as I’m looking at buying a cheap BJJ gi and have my eyes on a couple on eBay. On the one hand it would be nice to just blend in but on the other its nice when guys approach me and ask about Judo, which is generally well thought of here.