Monday, January 22, 2018

Keep Rolling Rolling Rolling

Since starting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu last year at Professor Pedro Sauer's school, I've had to regularly do forward and backward shoulder rolls. Both are part of the KMG curriculum we follow at my Krav Maga school, but we don't practice as often.

I've been trying to improve my backward rolls because they are part of the regular Jiu-Jitsu warmup drills. The instructors and many students can do them slowly, without building momentum. This was my goal, to smoothly roll backward over either shoulder.

Recently I watched a video by Stephan Kesting titled 3 Most Common Backwards Shoulder Roll Mistakes. I paid close attention to his technique and took a series of screen captures. Something clicked when I watched him roll backwards towards the camera.


The breakthrough for me was watching how Stephan twists his whole upper body off the centerline, and then swings his legs along the centerline. For whatever reason, that clicked with me. I tried focusing on those two elements and suddenly I could roll a lot smoother, over either shoulder!

Thank you Stephan for this great video and expert instruction!

How are your backward rolls? Let me know here or on Twitter!

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Monday, January 8, 2018

Professor Sauer on Jiu-Jitsu TV

A year ago I started learning Jiu-Jitsu at Professor Pedro Sauer's school, One Spirit Martial Arts, in Herndon, VA. I don't take the quality of instruction for granted. Having access to so many talented instructors is a blessing. It's particularly special when I can attend a class taught by Prof Sauer himself.

I find myself in a catch-22 situation when Professor teaches. If I'm on the mat, I can try the techniques and concepts he is teaching that night, but I can't really record what he's sharing. If I'm off the mats, usually staying for a few extra minutes before heading home, I can record what he says. However, I'm not in the class, so I don't get to try the lesson.

Thanks to a new set of video instructionals, I have found a way to have recorded access to Professor's wisdom and concepts.

Last month Jiu-Jitsu TV began offering a set of 81 video lessons from Professor's 2017 seminar series in Australia and Singapore. I decided to take advantage of a Christmas special and purchase access to the lessons.

They are so interesting that I decided to write this blog post, after only watching the first two. The "intercepting attacks from the bottom" lesson captured one of the tenets of Professor's approach to Jiu-Jitsu, that I often hear in class but haven't had a chance to capture. Thanks to the video, I can share it here, in his own words:

Don't fight moves against you. Fight moves that are starting against you. 

Let your opponent start, but don't let him finish. 

You don't fight what's been done. You fight what's just starting. 

Don't let him lock a move, and then resist. You intercept it. 

This is a very powerful concept. In a later video that has also been posted on YouTube, Professor explains this idea as setting a mousetrap.

This is one of the secrets of Professor's Jiu-Jitsu. He seals off your attacks, but then opens something. You, as the attacker, think he is making a mistake, so you take what you think he is giving you. However, he is just setting a mousetrap. When you move to exploit the supposed vulnerability, Professor intercepts your attack, and leverages it to finish you.

If you want to learn more about Professor's approach to Jiu-Jitsu, check out his new video series on Jiu-Jitsu TV.