Carlson Gracie Jr. Seminar Review
Tonight Carlson Grace Jr. and his guys came down to our club and gave a seminar for about 2 hours. I found his style of teaching fit well with my style of learning. He basically ran the seminar like a regular bjj class. Overall I thought it was a great seminar. I'll break down what was covered below. (I'm trying to write my notes now at the same time as I just got home and finished dinner.
First we had a normal bjj class from 6pm to about 7:30. We went lighter than normal and did not spar. We mostly drilled spider guard passes to knee on belly with some submissions added and did cardio and strenght drills. Around 7:30 Carlson Jr. shows up with his guys (I'm sorry but I can't recall their names. One was a black belt and the other was a purple belt). He started by seperating the group into white belts with less than 3 stripes and white belts with more than 3 stripes and any higher belt. Me being a lowly white belt, I was on the white belt side. I am not sure what was taught to the other side as my attention was focused on the matters at hand.
He started showing us basic spider guard passes, mainly showing us not to posture up to escape the grips, but rather to grip lower on the pants near the calf and drive the legs to one side and pass by driving your shoulder into their belly/chest. From there he slowly showed various defenses to this pass and how you can modify this pass in different ways. He demostrated using different grips, using the arm nearest to the guys head to help solidify your position if he pushes on your shoulder and will not allow you to close the space. After each instance we partnered up and drilled the passes and defenses and counters for about 5 minutes.
After this he demostrated passing the spider guard to knee on belly by gripping one leg and one arm and pulling the person upwards to close the space (for use when the person is shrimping away.) He also showed us an alternate way of dealing with this if you can not secure the arm by using just the leg and switching to side control position where your head is facing their feet. He then showed a few quick as to get mount or an armbar from these positions.
Once we were done drilling this he asked if we had anything we would like to work on. One of the students asked about mount escapes. He demonstrated 3 basic mount escapes. Shrimping out from the mount, traping the arm and reversing the position to end up in your opponents guard. And finally a combo of the two (just chaining the two together until you got half guard). I enjoyed the practice because my mount escapes generally suck.
After this was done, something odd happend. At this point Carlson Jr started demonstrating standing wrist locks. Yes that is right. Standing wrist locks. He showed how to use these wrist locks from basic judo style lapel grips to get into single and double leg takedowns and hip and shoulder throws. These moves were very familiar to me from my time in aikido and the few japanese jj classes I have taken. Reguardless of the fact that they were standing wrist locks, I actually found his take on applying them useful and with some mild resistance I was able to leverage the lock from a judo grip fight.
After this we all bowed out, there was no sparing although most of us stayed after to roll (as this is the custom of the gym). I stayed for about 15-20 minutes rolling with a few guys starting from standing and working take downs (and trying wrist locks, yes with full reistance) and general hard sparing. I actually had some luck with the wrist lock he taught (which was similar to ikkyo to nikkyo type movement I learned in aikido, only with a nice hip throw from the lock). I have blood suger problems when I do not eat (and my last meal was at noon) so I was basically on the verge of dying by 9:15-9:20. At this point I was unable to defend myself against my partner and decided it would be a good time to head home. I thanked Carlson Jr. for his time, payed my $30.00 and headed out to get my dinner.
Overall I think it was a great refresher on the basics of passing spider guard and helped my game. Everytime he pointed out a "do not do this" movement, It was basically pointing out exactly what I do wrong in the spider guard. I can't wait for him to come back. My only wish was that he would of spent a little more time on the standup portion as I found it very interesting, and I wish he would of incorporated some sparing into the seminar. But overall I'd give it a 9 out of 10.
Nice write up.
I was going nuts last week trying to break sleeve grips trying to pass spider guard, so the tip about grabbing the pants legs near the calf is something I'll try when spider guard comes up again.
On the lack of sparring during your seminar. If he'd incorporated sparring in the seminar, would the students have rolled too hard to impress him? Just a thought. I think resistance drilling might have been good, but can't tell from your write-up whether you were doing pure drilling or resistance drilling.
I also suffer from low blood sugar if I miss a meal by too much, and usually try to keep a bottle of Gatorade etc. handy at class to sip just in case. Still that will only take me so far. The other strategy I follow is to eat breakfast late on Saturday class day, since Saturday class starts at 11 and ends at 1 (lunch period, essentially). On worknights I try to have lunch a little earlier than usual to allow me to eat a light dinner at my desk before leaving for the commute home and class nearby (bagel and tuna, for example) . This type of minor "meal shifting" seems to help, except for the time I had breakfast so late I thought I was going to lose it in class.
I don't think I would survive even with Gatorade if I had lunch at noon, no dinner, and practiced until 9:00 p.m. So my hat's off to you in that respect.
I took Aikido in college and a combination jj/judo class in junior high, so I have a little experience with wrist locks (at a recent class the person pullling guard was somewhat flailing his arms and kind of invited a wrist lock, but when I tried for a grip he reacted very quickly with good defense, making me think that although I haven't seen any wrist locks to date at our academy, he had and knew to avoid them). I would have loved to see the demonstration for the wrist lock to standing takedown.
The drilling was really left up to us to decide how to drill the technique. He just demostrated the technique and explained how and why it works, then he told us to play with it. He would then travel around correcting problems and answering individual questions.
I agree though that sparing might not of been a good idea. Guys might of tried to impress him. We did get to spar after the seminar though, so that was only a minor issue with me.
I did get myself some vitiman water and drank that during the class, which did help my suger somewhat, but if I could of snuck a snack in before it would of helped me a lot. I'm used to training to about 8pm, then eating dinner. So it was really the extra hour that killed me.
Hey, i was at the seminar and i like the write up. and my mount escapes are about 10x better after his demonstration. of course if helps if your the guy being demonstrated on.