Pedro Bessa Training Camp

Yesterday we finished our 2 day, 4 session Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Training Camp with black belt Pedro Bessa. Pedro cam to us with the assistance of our friends in BJJ Cork, and in conjunction with our friends in Royal Grappling Academy. This was a great opportunity to train with a top Black Belt competitor, particularly with the Irish Open championships just a week away.

Day 1 started with a Gi session in RGC’s venue in Blanchardstown. Pedro took us all through some of the finer points of open and closed guard passing, and pointed out some details on the passing game in general. We finished up with plenty of sparring rounds with Pedro rolling alongside everyone (as he did in every session). After a couple of hours rest, we reconvened in Kyuzo for anther session in the gi. This time, Pedro focused on some simple sweeps from the butterfly position, as well as some great submission finishes. Pedro emphasised the importance of knowing which type of guard to use depending on your opponent’s reaction, something all of the attendees from white to brown belt could appreciate and absorb into their game. More sparring followed and this was a great opportunity for guys from the two teams co-hosting to roll with each other.

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Day 2 started (after a bit of failed democracy on the subject the night before) with a Nogi session. Pedro explained how he prefers to pass guard in nogi by going to the half guard where he can slow his opponent down and apply pressure. We worked on 3 specifics of top half guard. A regular “head down underhook pass” with Pedro’s own observations on it, a high pressure variation for when your opponent regains a shallow underhook, and finally a switch pass when your opponent’s underhook is deeper. The final pass leads into an excellent head/arm choke variation that everyone enjoyed trying. The second session in Kyuzo that night was concerned with attacking from when you have just retained the guard position from when your opponent has attempted to pass. Pedro asked a simple question; “What do you want to do with your guard?”, with the simple answer being “Sweep or submit your opponent”. There is no point in having good guard retention without attacks and counter attacks. For this reason we spent some time working on sweeps from near guard passes and submissions from the same positions. We finsished with rolling and by this stage Marmota and Liam had joined us from BJJ Cork to collect Pedro for the second leg of his Irish visit, and they hopped in to roll too.

This was a fun and valuable experience and a great opportunity to train with someone of Pedro’s experience. Anyone near Cork for the next couple of days should try to make it to the guys there for some great training.

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