Been a while, but I thought I would put in an update.

RazorFoot and I just returned from a seminar at my BJJ school by Royler Gracie. We had an excellent time, and learned a lot, LOL. Royler was very relaxed and personable, with not a hint of arrogance about his style or abilities. Before the seminar even started, he walked around the room and shook hands, introducing himself to every single person there.

We started off by doing some judo-esque warmups. Moving around with collar and elbow grips, we worked a sweep drill, faking with the front foot, and the going to a reap with the back foot. The idea was not to take the opponent down, but to stay light on the feet, and keep moving.

We then went to a shoulder throw, just lifting the opponent off the ground. I completely suck at these, and Royler came over to give some pointers. But fixing those would have taken the entire damn seminar, so he did what he could, LOL. Razor did very well with those, and could have easily flipped me end-over every time.

Royler then showed us some standing guillotine defenses. The first one was when the guy has you in the guillotine, but not really cranking on you yet. Your outside hand grabs the opponent's wrist under your neck, to stop the choke. Royler then had us take our other (inside) hand, and push on the inside of the opponents outside knee (ex: your right hand to his right knee), to stop him from kneeing you in the face. You then slide your hand from the front of his to the back, grabbing. Look up and lean back, holding the opponent's leg, and he will fall, with you rolling over for mount or side control.

The next variation had the opponent cranking the guillotine. Always starting by controlling the choking wrist as above, you take your other arm (which was pushing the knee, above), and throw it over his shoulder (ex: your right arm over his left shoulder). Drop your weight against him, while rotating your body around to the same side as your arm over his shoulder. Your (ex: right) knee should end up behind his (ex: left). Now, simply push him backwards over your knee, and end in side control.

If the guy is too strong for you to get around, simply put one foot on his thigh, and climb! He will be forced to carry your entire weight high on his body, which is not easy, I assure you.

He showed us yet another variation, where your arm is over the opponent's shoulder as above, but your other hand goes under and between his legs. Get close to the opponent, feet under your hips and HEAVE, SOLDIER! Pick him up and slam him down like Rampage Jackson, LOL.

He also showed us a very cool guard-pass sweep. This starts with the opponent in your guard, with you maintaining wrist-control. He stands up, attempting to drive a knee through your guard to pass. As the guy stands up, you simply drop your guard from his hips down to the back of his knees, squeezing your knees so that his knees are squeezed together. It is important the the opponent NOT be sprawling, other wise his legs will be too far away/apart to hold with your legs. Now that he is trapped, Royler had us "bump" the legs towards us, slowly forcing the opponent on top of us, where we could then simply dump him over our head, and take mount, etc. I really like this one!

He showed us a version for if the opponent sprawls or takes a wide stance in his guard pass. This involved getting to a type of guard that I am not familiar with, similar to the X guard, getting a hook with your foot under the opponent's knee, and lifting to throw him forward over you. Hopefully Razor can give a better description of it, sorry.

Royler then showed us a side control escape. Not sure if I can describe it, but I will try. The opponent has you in side control, and he had us start with both of our hands on the same side of the opponent's body, closest to us. You start by swinging your leg (nearest to the opponent's head), up so you can grab it behind the knee (ex: your right leg to your right hand). The hand that is nearest to the opponent's head goes over and behind his head to grab behind the knee. You should end up with your leg trapping the far side of his head, and your forearm against the nearside. Your other hand, which is near his hip, reaches underneath his body, to underhook his far shoulder. The also requires you to move your head towards his hips, and actually under his stomach, to come out on the other side of his body, ending in a north-south kind of position. Keeping your hips VERY TIGHT to his near-side arm (otherwise he can escape), you take the arm that is underhooking his shoulder, and figure-4 with the arm around his neck to set the choke. Press your hips in, and get ready for the tap. This may be a Darce? Or Brabo? Something similar.

He also showed us a super-fast choke from butterfly guard. The opponent is in your butterfly guard (your feet inside of his thighs, hooking). You have cross (ex: your right to his right) collar control with one hand, and the other hand behind the opponent's head or neck. Drag the opponent's head slightly forward and down, and slide the hand you have behind the opponent's head across to your other arm, hooking it through the crook of your arm that is under the opponent's chin. Lift the elbow that is under his chin, as you drop the one behind his head, squeeze, and be ready for the opponent to tap QUICKLY. This is a wind-pipe choke, so it is instantaneous and painful. We were really careful with this one.

I was quite struck by how patient Royler was with everyone. He made it very clear that these techniques will NOT work on everyone, or everytime, and implored us to seek alternative strategies for everything. He took a number of technical questions at the end of the seminar, then patiently stayed for pictures and autographs. Including signing my copy of his book "Brazilian Jujitsu Theory and Techniques", which was given to me by my good friend BrianS. Thanks again buddy!

All in all, a great time and money well spent.
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"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin