Lucas Lepri Championship Guard Passing (my review)

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by SuperSuperRambo, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. SuperSuperRambo

    SuperSuperRambo Senior Moderator Senior Moderator

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    I got my copy from Digitsu (who sent my my DVD set right away), and as promised, if not a bit late, here is my review.

    First, about myself. I'm a purple belt, have been training BJJ for over 6 years, some times much less frequently than others due to injuries and personal reasons. And before that I wrestled. So I've been around grappling for a long time, and that's the perspective I have on this DVD set. I was interested in this one in particular because I felt that my guard passing was not very technical for certain types of guards, and I wanted to diversify my passing game and learn some new approaches.

    General observations: So this is a 2 DVD set. You get about 3 hours total content. The DVD is straight-forward, you get a title menu where you can play the whole thing, or go to individual "chapters" aka techniques, which are in turn grouped by the type of guard that he's teaching the pass for. Lucas' English is fine, and you can understand what he's communicating. The camera work is a single camera, usually stationary but sometimes moves to show an angle of the technique that you can't see from where the cameraman is standing. Sometimes the also do a dual screen to show two angles simultaneously, which I liked. It doesn't have that super high tech feel of Caio Terra's set, but I really don't care about all those frills. So it's very much a no frills DVD set.

    Technical content: The techniques themselves are solid. I've had a chance to drill a few of them, and it feels like they would work. A few of the passes I don't think would work with my particular game, but that's just me. Lucas demonstrates and walks you through the technique 2-3 times, and after that they show about 4 replays, each from different angles, first in regular speed and then slow motion. It can be a bit tedious, but I feel that the multiple angles were a big benefit, and the repetition helped me with "mental drilling" so that I don't forget it. Each technique/chapter is about 7 minutes, half of which is instruction and half of which is replays.

    The techniques are broken down by guard type. Lucas shows a few passes for each guard (I'd guess there are about 25 overall passes on the DVD), but he spends the most time on DLR, which accounts for probably 7-8 of the passes he shows. He even has one specifically for the Berimbolo. Other guards he covers include butterfly, spider, x-guard, RDLR, deep half, and he even has a closed guard pass.

    His passing style is nothing too fancy imo, and is probably useful if you're blue belt or up. I think some of the movements might throw off a raw beginner. He seems to be big on pressure, and a lot of the passes have more of an old school feel, but I mean that in a good way. He's not rolling or flipping or using speed to finish the passes. He breaks the opponent's grips, shuts down their means of using that particular guard, and passes. Solid stuff overall. I'm a lightweight but I think the techniques will work for me.

    Criticisms: The thing that jumps out at you is that the techniques tend to be very gi-centric. A couple can be done no gi, and maybe some others can be modified for no gi, as far as the grips, but I'm not sure how. For example his DLR passing relies a lot of gripping the pants. So if you're considering getting this, just know that this is pretty much just a gi guard passing DVD.

    Another thing that some people might not like is his teaching style, although I was fine with it. I've heard a lot of talk about Ryan Hall's DVD's and how he talks about concepts and principles for certain things he's doing, and I've seen some others like that. Lucas doesn't teach that way. You're literally getting a bunch of techniques, there's no common thread or concepts that he focuses on, aside from maybe proper gripping since he always emphasizes the grips when he's teaching. So it's not like "whenever you're in DLR, you want to be sure to ____." It's more like "Okay I'm in DLR, I'm going to do X Y and Z and then I pass." So you're getting effective techniques, but if you're looking for more of that conceptual or strategic approach, you're not getting that. And maybe that's a consequence of the format. He's teaching passes for all different types of guards, so he can't really hone in on one area and focus on strategies. It's a generalist's DVD.

    My last criticism is also not a big one, but it's one of the reasons I don't suggest this for raw beginners. At times, it seems like Lucas just assumes you know certain details that he's doing, such as proper posture, or little things like how to do a proper knee slide pass. I would say you need to have some basic competence in the basic passes in order to get the most out of this DVD. He provided plenty of detail for me, but I'm a more experienced practitioner.

    My overall impression: I liked it. I'm not a big buyer of DVD instructionals, although I get a lot from Youtube, so I can't really compare it to other sets. I think the techniques are useful, and the presentation is fine. I did have some criticisms, but overall I think this DVD will help my passing game improve. The techniques he showed definitely will fill in some gaps in my passing game, and will definitely give me some new approaches to guards that I was already comfortable passing.

    Who might benefit from this set?: Anyone who feels there are guards they have trouble passing, or who feels their passing game is stale. I would say that it's good for blue belts, purple belts, and maybe more advanced white belts. Maybe even brown belts can benefit, but I don't know, since I'm not a brown belt. I'd say that less experienced white belts probably wouldn't benefit much from this. Also if you are someone who needs themes or concepts to make things work, this wouldn't be for you. But if you want a solid collection of guard passes for all different types of guards, this DVD set might be of some use for you. So read about my complaints, and if those aren't issues for you, and you feel you can benefit from the things that I described, I would say this set is worth a look.


    I'd be happy to respond to any questions.
     
  2. SuperAzn812

    SuperAzn812 Green Belt

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    Thank you, for the excellent review! I was debating if I should get this DVD. But I'm still a white belt that has to work on concepts such as posture and establishing proper grips before passing.

    This review determined that I'm not getting it until, I can get those concepts down first.
     
  3. SuperSuperRambo

    SuperSuperRambo Senior Moderator Senior Moderator

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    I wouldn't say you need to master those concepts, but understand them. What I would add to my review above, as to which white belts might benefit, is this. If you're a white belt who is planning to become a regular competitor, this might benefit you more than a recreational white belt.
     
  4. DVD review guy

    DVD review guy Green Belt

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    Nice review. I posted a review a couple of weeks ago, although, it did not show up in the fourm?

    Anyway, the DVD set is worth the price. Good techniques, explained well. I like the fact it's only about three hours. He teaches a nice (I have not seen before) closed guard pass. I've been using it well.

    His De la riva passes have worked good for me too!

    I recommend the DVD, one of the best Gi passing DVD's I've seen / own!
     
  5. jaystorm

    jaystorm Yellow Belt

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    Excellent review! I ordered this dvd as well and from watching 3/4 of just the first disc, I feel you 've aptly summarized the dvd content. I was definitely interested in his strategy and concepts but while his "game" is not mentioned on the dvd, more experienced players may be able to "read in between the lines" and extract the common themes such as "pressure" and "strong grip game". I stated in another thread where a preview video was posted, before the set came out, that I thought the recap sequence seemed a bit long. I also found the music during the replays was too loud, had to constantly lower the volume, minor gripe though. That one standing closed guard break was unique to me, never saw that variation before.
    Again, I appreciate your efforts on the review!
     
  6. SuperSuperRambo

    SuperSuperRambo Senior Moderator Senior Moderator

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    I'm with you on the music. It was okay the first time, then it started to get on my nerves. For those who haven't seen it, the music only plays during the replays, not the actual instruction.
     
  7. zomoplata

    zomoplata Green Belt

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    Great review! I just can't buy this set in good conscious until lepri passes lo's guard.

    In all seriousness I would love to watch the set, but it seems like more of a random collection of techniques instead of a "game". But that's just a guess by looking at the tech list.
     
  8. SuperSuperRambo

    SuperSuperRambo Senior Moderator Senior Moderator

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    Well it is definitely a collection of techniques rather than a "game." I wouldn't call it random, they're all good techniques, and I think the idea of the DVD was to present options for passing all the major types of guards you will encounter in competition. The passes are all of a similar style I think, so you might find some common features, but I think the goal was to be comprehensive and give a few options for passing each guard.
     
  9. zomoplata

    zomoplata Green Belt

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    Ah, that's cool than. Thanks for the review.
     
  10. stlrph

    stlrph Orange Belt

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    Great review. I'm going thru it right now and think you're pretty much spot on.
     
  11. BjjStats

    BjjStats Yellow Belt

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    I was personally a bit disappointed in this dvd. Especially since it came out around the same time as Lovato's Pressure passing system. I feel like Lepri is teaching a bunch of moves, whereas Lovato provides an entire gameplan. The Lepri passes are great in a reactive situation (I've found myself in this guard and I need to get out.), but Lovato is showing a proactive way to pass (I'm doing xyz to prevent my opponent from even playing guard.)

    I would have loved to see 15 minutes of Lepri just talking about the basics he uses when he passes. What postures he's looking for, grips, angles, strategy, etc.

    I think it all comes down to personal preference and skill level. I'm not a great guard passer, so I probably need a lot more help on the fundamentals and I'm not as adept at "reading between the lines" of this collection of moves. I need stuff spelled out for me.

    With all that said, I would definitely buy this DVD again. I'm using some of the DLR passes already, and it's I think it's important to have a reference for how to counter specific guards when they give you trouble.
     
  12. Nomad Nemesis**

    Nomad Nemesis** Brown Belt

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    lepri and lovato dvds are completely different.

    yes, lovato is a whole system

    the title of the lepri dvd is championship guard passing, so it is not for the noob. it is what lepri uses to pass in the high level comps he does
     
  13. BjjStats

    BjjStats Yellow Belt

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    I didn't say I was a new, just that my guard passing isn't very strong relative to my belt level. I think I was disappointed by the DVD's because I had extremely high expectations and the instructional turned out to be "just" pretty good. I would still buy the DVD's again. They were definitely worth what I paid.
     
  14. Nomad Nemesis**

    Nomad Nemesis** Brown Belt

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    ^ wasn't saying anything about you. was just giving my opinion on the dvds. but i do not think Lepri would be good for someone just starting out. but i do think the lovato one would be.
     
  15. SuperSuperRambo

    SuperSuperRambo Senior Moderator Senior Moderator

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    Yeah, that's kind of the same thing I was saying about not suggesting this for beginners.

    It's not system for guard passing in general, but it's not supposed to be. If you buy it expecting a philosophy or strategy for passing the guard, you're going to be disappointed. That's kind of the point of a review, so you can know what the product is about and decide whether that's what you need. It's supposed to present different options for passing different types of guards (or at least that's what I assume Lucas was trying to do), and that's pretty much what you get.
     
  16. hakkas

    hakkas Blue Belt

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    I agree with everything you said, especially that Lepri misses out on a lot of important details. For example I can't recall that Lepri mention that he pushes down on his oponents knee with his elbow in DLR. Crucial detail yet I believe a lot of people will miss out on it.
     
  17. BJJ Coffee Drinker

    BJJ Coffee Drinker Amateur Fighter

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    Lovato's dvd have a different system and is also about 4X the price of Lucas's
     
  18. Naja

    Naja Yellow Belt

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    Just took a look at the DVD. The positions are really well explained, and the video quality is great. The camera goes around while Lepri explain the positions, so you can see all the details. The positions seem to be really effective also..
    The only negative side of the DVD is that Lepri just teaches you a bunch of positions. In my opinion he should show a gameplan, if the oponnent does X you react doing Y, etc. Maybe something like Saulo's or Lovato's DVD.
     
  19. Murdoch

    Murdoch Brown Belt

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    We have Lucas on this weeks episode of OpenMatRadio. He talks about his style of passing and the dvd.
     
  20. Armwrap

    Armwrap Orange Belt

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    Going through the set now, cant wait to try/drill the passes tomorrow. The review is spot on. I am enjoying technical guard passing so much lately...
     

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