Roger Gracie Seminar Review

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by Uchi Mata, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. Uchi Mata

    Uchi Mata Preaching the gospel of heel hooks and left kicks

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    Last night I had the pleasure of going to a seminar with Roger Gracie, and if you ever get the chance to do so, I highly recommend it. He showed 5 techniques, all of which he uses in competition. A very neat variation on the armbar from closed guard, and entry into the side guard that he used to sweep Comprido, two ways to take mount from side control, and his famous cross choke.

    The technique was great, as expected the small details he added were game changing. And because the stuff he showed was pretty 'basic', it would fit into anyone's game right away. I literally can see myself using all of what he showed right away without changing any aspects of my meta-game. This is a great seminar for advanced players to attend, because he's not showing something fancy that you may or may not use, he's showing you how to do things you already do better.

    Roger was also extremely gracious in terms of taking pictures with everyone, and when some of the upper belts went out to dinner with him afterwards he was very patient and open in terms of answering questions about technique and old matches of his. He seems like a very soft spoken, quiet guy, but he navigates his (small community) celebrity gracefully. He was very generous with his time and attention, unlike some other high level black belts I've talked to who were basically mentally checked out except when they were teaching.

    So, cool guy, very down to earth, and showed exactly the kind of stuff you'd hope if you know his game. The details on taking mount from side control alone were worth the price of admission for me. Highly recommended, maybe the best I've been to in terms of adding to my game.
     
  2. HelloJapan

    HelloJapan Talking loud and saying nothing. Platinum Member

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    I'am very jealous...
     
  3. Burke72

    Burke72 White Belt

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    Was that Denver BJJ Seminars thing? Jealous man, I regret not going.
     
  4. anaconda

    anaconda Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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    :( Man that seminar would be so perfect for me right now. Color me jealous as well.

    Could you share any of the tips about the side guard entry or the cross collar choke?
     
  5. Uchi Mata

    Uchi Mata Preaching the gospel of heel hooks and left kicks

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    It was. Ray does good work for the BJJ community in Denver.
     
  6. Burke72

    Burke72 White Belt

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    Yeah I'll definitely make it up to a seminar soon. I wish I could afford to make more of then, as its not a far drive from the springs for me.
     
  7. Uchi Mata

    Uchi Mata Preaching the gospel of heel hooks and left kicks

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    Funnily, those were actually the two least helpful techniques for me, as I already play side guard a lot (my coach is an expert in it), and I've studied his cross choke so much there wasn't too much new. For the side guard, he's taking a cross grip on the sleeve, bringing his other wrist under to frame, breaking the grip up, pulling the sleeve to prevent the re-grip, grabbing behind the triceps with the other hand, and then just dragging to the side. Probably the one detail that was new for me was that to start towards the back he was keeping his hips tight but arching his back slightly creating space to get up on his elbow. He said once you're on the elbow you basically have the back.

    On the cross choke, I think the most valuable things were maintaining the mount. He always keeps his feet on his opponent, never on the mat, and he never even tries to start choking until he gets high mount (he did mention that if someone is keeping his elbows tight to keep you low you can push his shoulders down to force his elbows up and then come high). He said he rarely forces a hand in, he usually just waits for people to escape and that no one is ever patient enough to just sit there and defend. He showed a couple of ways to get the first hand in that were cool but very hard to describe. Once he has the first hand in, he posts with his other hand and leans forward. He said you can't keep your weight back after the first hand goes in or you'll get rolled. To get the second hand in, he's really just posting his elbow by the head and rotating his forearm down to get a thumb in right behind the ear. He didn't emphasize moving the head, but he said if you do need to force the head to the side don't drag your sleeve across the face, just put your forearm against the side of the head and move it sideways to expose the neck, and then circle your arm in to get the thumb grip. He heavily emphasized using wrist pressure to finish the choke rather than using you back to pull the collars. He was really just using the collar grips as fulcrums to push the sides of his wrists into the carotid. I didn't get to feel it unfortunately, we finished late so he didn't roll. But we did get to go eat and like I mentioned in the OP he was very patient about answering questions. I asked him why he never seemed to get caught in DLR, spider, etc. (modern open guards) and he told me that his whole goal in passing is to get low and stack and pressure as hard as possible, so he basically never has to deal with those guards because he never gives anyone any space to get them started. He said he initiated all his passing from both knees, all the time. I found that very useful as a meta-game insight.
     
  8. anaconda

    anaconda Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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    Thanks man! Very interesting and helpful. It's also encouraging for me what he said about his passing. I spend way too much time passing from my knees so I'm going to have to re-look at his guard passing again to see how he transitions to avoid all the different open guards.

    I'm really curious how he would deal with the lapel guard, if someone were able to get a hold of his lapel.
     
  9. Solidus Snake

    Solidus Snake Purple Belt

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    I was at a seminar of Roger around 3 years ago and I had the same exact impressions as you. He was really friendly and helpful.. the kind of character you hope every champion has when around fans-students.

    I also still use an half guard pass he teached at the time :D.
     
  10. Waldorf

    Waldorf Blue Belt

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    Thanks for the write up
     

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