I agree that training with resistance is essential, but "sparring" as most people define it isn't, at least at this stage.
Originally Posted by David Koresh Jr.
As I've pointed out in other posts in this thread, Gracie Combatives is not intended to trained without resistance, just the opposite. In the DVDs Rener and Ryron are constantly stressing how important it is help your partner test his technique and give clear instructions on how to do so.
If you training as instructed, and your technique is poor, it will not succeed. You then go back to the DVD and find out what you were doing wrong and try again, until no amount of resistance your partner can provide is enough to stop the technique. Do that repeatedly and you can have pretty good idea you have it down.
As an instructor I can also understand how difficult it can be to evaluate someone visually. It is entirely conceivable to me that a purple belt may need to roll with someone to evaluate how good their grappling really is. Why is it so inconceivable that a BJJ Black Belt could evaluate if someone has the skill for the first belt ranking visually?
If you don't train with resistance, it's bullshit you're not learning. It boils down a lack of aliveness.
Originally Posted by Punisher
Don't pull the whole, I can understand a purple belt can't tell. I'm stating nobody can, because they have no context from which to draw from. They don't know the training partner's skill. I can make 4 stripe white belts look like first day white belts when I go hard and just counter and smash them. Does that mean they suck or don't know Jiu Jitsu? No it means nothing without the knowledge of my skill and theirs.
Punisher I'm not sure why you're so invested that in the fact that this is somehow a valid training method that produces applicable skill. Beginners working with other beginners can't teach themselves through videos. **** it's hard enough to get them to do it right when they have an actual teacher there helping them.
You seem to have a reading comprehension problem. No one, is talking about training without resistance or aliveness. That is a critical part of any training, and is a big part of the Gracie Combatives program. They talk about it on the DVDs in every lesson. Your job as a training partner is to help your training partners get better, by testing their technique through resistance. They give you step by step instructions on how to be a proper "bad guy", which include the most common things and uneducated grappler is likely to do to try and counter each technique.
Originally Posted by David Koresh Jr.
As far as evaluating grappling skill, in Gracie Combatives the skill level of the opponent for the rank of Blue Belt is strictly defined, someone who doesn't know BJJ. That is exactly why they can evaluate visually. Against an untrained opponent, if your technique is good, it will work no matter how hard he resists. He shouldn't be able to power or muscle out of it.
I feel this is a valid training method, because it has worked for me when a number of other methods haven't. I probably summarized my BJJ training experiences at least half a dozen times during this thread but here it is in a nutshell.
I was guy with 20 years of karate experience who wanted to try something new and add some functional grappling to my game so I signed up at a local BJJ school run by a Rickson Gracie Black Belt. I trained there for almost a year, and was very disappointed. There were several things I didn't like about my BJJ experience at that school. Number one, the instructors were good a BJJ but not good at communicating and transferring that knowledge to others. Also I was primarily interested in self defense, and this school was sports focused. Everything was done in the gi, we almost always started on the ground, and defending against things like strikes were never discussed. At the end of that time I didn't really feel I was a better grappler than when I started and didn't feel I could use grappling to defend myself against even an untrained opponent.
I tried training at other area BJJ schools, but didn't have any better luck. Every school I went to was sports focused and most had what I felt we substandard instructional practices. No school seemed to had set curriculum, and no one could tell me what was the most important things for me to work on. I eventually gave up on group classes and approached several instructors for private lessons, explaining to them that I wanted to learn BJJ for self defense that I could integrate with my karate training. Most very unwilling to even train me, a couple tried, but I wasn't satisfied with the results. Since no one was willing or able to teach me what I wanted to learn in a way I could actually learn it, I eventually gave up. Then Gracie Combatives came along.
I was skeptical at first, but I have a lot of shitty training videos and honestly I don't think very highly of the Gracies personally. But I have to give them credit, they but a lot of thought and work into this program. The technical instruction is the best I've ever seen on any DVD and better yet they don't just show you the moves, they show you how to train, which most DVD products don't even talk about.
The techniques are presented in a logical sequence, each building on the next, something I never got at brick and mortar BJJ school. Most schools I went to just taught whatever they felt like that day, although one did separate techniques by days of the week Monday is arm lock day, Tuesday is choke day, etc.
Best yet, they taught what I wanted to learn. Self defense focus, no gi, punches included. Just a couple of weeks into the program I was already seeing results. Right after I finished the first three lessons, I attended a Throwdown and was able to hold my own against other BJJ white belts with just those three moves. I even tapped someone with an Americana for the first time ever.
I have about a year invested into the program, and it has made a world of difference in my ground game and made me a much more complete fighter. Even though BJJ isn't known of its take downs, I am now able to routinely take down, control, and submit other karate black belts I train with, something I couldn't do before.
I admit I may be a little different that most people who attempt to train from the DVDs. Long before starting the program, I was a martial artist and instructor. I already knew how to teach and how to train, so I basically just had to focus on the technical aspects, which as I have already said are presented in the DVDs better than any BJJ instructor I've had in person. The thing is, the other people I train the program with don't have the benefit of years of training and teaching experience, they are true beginners and the program seems to be working for them too.
The biggest thing that gives me confidence in the program is the results our smallest member has been getting with it. GP is a 13 year old kid, who weighs less than 100 lbs. I'm 35, and and weigh close to 200. When GP gets me in mount, I can't use my size and strength to escape, I have to out technique him, which in the GC program is cheating. Since I'm still a BJJ beginner, there are things I never learned to defend, and when were are practicing those techniques if doesn't matter how hard I resist, I get tapped.
The fight simulation drills I've seen in videos are hardly real resistance. I'm glad you enjoy it, and it's awesome you want to learn. I just hope you actually seek out skilled grapplers to participate with you.
I'm not saying the DVD's are bad either, far from it. I disagree with the ability to asses skills not in person, the online belt ranking, and consistent ability to convey skills to beginners without someone who's had training being present. Perhaps your previous experience allows you to learn and help others learn effectively in conjunction with the GU, but honestly I'm skeptical.
Regardless take away the video assessment of belts and make it in person or at the recommendation of a nearby academy then fine whatever. The cringe factor for me is the willingness to lower the standards for rank in the art I love. Perhaps my standards for blue belt are too high, but knowledge of GC hardly a blue belt makes.
I read your post on you're previous experiences and I think that is unfortunate, and I agree you need to know how to do SD, MMA/Vale Tudo, Nogi, and of course spar with takedowns. However , I'd caution you to not let your bad experiences prevent you from looking for an actual school again that meets your needs.
Who says the Gracies are lowering the standards. The official Gracie position is Helio himself said that a blue belt should be awarded to anyone who can use BJJ/GJJ to defeat a physically superior opponent in a real fight. I suppose the Gracies could require people to submit their own Gracie in Action style tape, where they challenge people at karate schools or off the street.
The Gracie definition of a Blue Belt is pretty clear cut to me and easy to understand. The BJJ definition of a Blue Belt is more subjective and usually equates to something like "someone who has been doing BJJ for about two years and can hold his own against other people who also wear blue belts in competiton". The sets up a possibility for even a wider degree of skill variance for the same ranking.
And once again, if I lived near an official GJJ academy I would probably train there, but I don't. Honestly I can't promise I'd train there even if I did, because I don't really like the Gracies personally. I'm not an official Gracie Garage largely because I don't like the requirement that you have to have poster of Helio on display. I'll never be on the Gracie Diet.
I do respect their teaching ability and the program they've put together that has allowed me to learn and train functional grappling for self-defense at a reasonable price. The entire DVD program costs about $100, the same prices I've paid for a month of group BJJ classes or a single hour of private instruction with a BJJ Black Belt.
That variance is still beyond the technical ability required by those from Gracie University. Three month white belts at the schools I've trained at tool brand new stronger people. I think the bar is too low, and I think the intangibles learned from working directly with skilled grapplers is unteachable through video.
Originally Posted by Punisher
Do you plan on training to get your blue, purple, brown, black? Through this system?
I'm not trying to be a dick here, honestly, but you think you know better than Helio Gracie what the standards for individual belt rankings mean, or should mean? Having the skill necessary to defeat a larger, stronger opponent who does not have those skills seems like a perfectly logical criterion for the FIRST ranking in a martial arts system.
Originally Posted by David Koresh Jr.
I'm a strong believer that martial arts, schools, and even individual instructors should be able to set whatever standards for ranking that they wish, as long as those rankings are clearly defined, however one thing that has always bothered me about BJJ rankings is the apparent need to make it more difficult to achieve BJJ rankings compared to similar colored rankings from other martial arts, if only so they can say "Our Blue Belts are better than your Black Belts".
Even BJJ has started to realize that the belt ranking system as it currently stands, particularly between white and blue belt can have an incredibly large skill difference and technical knowledge for the same rank in the same school, and have started used things like stripes to demark various sub levels between belts.
I don't pretend to speak for them, but my understanding of how the GJJ ranking system is laid out and the skill levels that each major belt represent is a follows:
Blue: Be able to use GJJ to defeat a stronger, larger opponent with no knowledge in grappling in a fight not restricted to just grappling
Purple: Be able to defeat a stronger, larger opponent who has enough skill in grappling to defeat people without such skill. Basically be able to use technique to prevent or counter anything a GJJ Blue Belt would try on you. At this level the practitioner should be proficient in both applying and countering the most commonly used techniques. In other terms a Bachelor's Degree in GJJ.
Brown: Expert in GJJ, able to use techniques and strategy to defeat people knowledgeable in GJJ/BJJ techniques and how to counter them. Basically know how to counter the counters, and set people up by thinking multiple moves head. Similar to a Master's Degree.
Black: Technical mastery of all aspects of GJJ. Basically a PhD. The Gracies are also pretty clear this requires a fair amount of ass kissing and nut huggery to achieve in their system.
I personally don't really care about achieving GJJ/BJJ ranking for myself, I really only want the skill that ranking is meant to represent. My first goal is to obtain sufficient grappling skill to defend myself using grappling against most people that don't know grappling in almost any situation I am likely to find myself in. I'm pretty close to that now. As for what I do next, I don't know.
If I have the skill of a GJJ blue belt, I suppose I wouldn't mind the rank, but the real reason why I would pursue ranking is to gain access to the purple belt material, which currently is only available on-line and to those who have passed the GJJ blue belt test. If they even make that material available to the general public, I will probably just buy the DVDs and continue training the way I am now.
Originally Posted by Punisher
If you want my opinions and those of the Jiu Jitsu community at large concerning what the individual belt ranks should mean create a different thread, and I'd be glad to address those issues. I made the mistake of getting side tracked in this discussion.
Allow me to clearly state why I posted that example (there is a history to why) and what issues I have with it.
1. One of the arguments against Gracie University Online was that the temptation to not train at a regular school even if ones were provided. I provided an example. (Of course there are possible reasons why they aren't training at those gyms, such as you stated. Regardless the example stands that yes people will choose to train for whatever reason, even if there are actual skilled grapplers available.)
2. I'm questioning the repeatability of the transference of applicable skills consistently across the population. Simply put, can anyone and everyone within their respective environments learn through this medium (video) and method.
3. Remove video belting from the equation, and I have no problem with it and would encourage watching Gracie Combatitives. If you do remove it, the issue of quality control become irrelevant.
One of my students bought the DVD's and I checked them out. There was nothing on there that I did not know already but the way they explain the techniques is real good. I don't see anyone having trouble learning from them.
Originally Posted by Punisher
I am fortunate to have learned BJJ from an instructor who had learned BJJ from several different well known Jiu-Jitsu instructors including Carlson Gracie, Alvaro Barreto and Sylvio Behring. I was also able to learn from Barreto and Behring directly when these masters conducted seminars at my instructors school several times.
The training I recieved over the years included all aspects of Jiu-Jitsu not just the sport portion. I know there a lot of sport BJJ schools around and I see what you mean about not learning how to use BJJ in a real fight situation. I will sometimes have students come to me from other schools and tell me that they wanted to learn BJJ to protect themsleves and not enter tournaments. So they will quit their school and join mine.
It is alright to teach sport Jiu-Jistu and I do so at my school but that is not the my main function though. A BJJ program has to be well rounded and include all aspects of Jiu-Jitsu....self defense, Vale-Tudo and competition. Some schools just care about getting gold medals and focus on just the sport instead.
I do have to say that earning belts on line is not the way to go and a lot of old school instructors will agree with me on that. I would never promote anyone to a blue with under two years of hard training. Plus not only do they have know all basic aspects of BJJ but they have to learn some basic boxing skills as well. This is my own doing but I think boxing is perfect skill to go with BJJ