Saturday, June 30, 2018

Ryron Gracie Seminar Thoughts

Today I attended a Jiu-Jitsu seminar by Professor Ryron Gracie, hosted by Professor Marco Moreno of The Basics Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. I want to share a few thoughts on the seminar for anyone who wants to attend one in the future.

I always enjoy visiting Marco's school. I was last there in February for a seminar by Grandmaster Relson Gracie. Today I was happy to see several of my teammates from Professor Pedro Sauer's school in Herndon.

Ryron offered three sessions for attendees. The first lasted 9-11 am, and focused on self defense. The second last noon - 2 pm and focused on cross chokes. Students who attended both sessions could attend a third session from 2-3 pm, where Ryron would roll with attendees.

I decided to only attend the first session, which cost $70. I believe about 40 people participated. Ryron brought one of his purple belts, Jordan, to assist, although Ryron demonstrated techniques with a wide variety of people. I was surprised early in the seminar when he called me to the front to demonstrate a standing headlock defense! He had just shown how to perform this technique, and it was similar to the technique we practice at my home school with Professor Sauer. I was able to move without embarrassing myself!

Ryron's main theme was "stopping progress." He built on the concepts from his recent video Survival or Submission - What Is the Objective? By stopping progress, Ryron is referring to preventing an adversary's next move. For example, imagine an adversary has you in his guard and manages to secure one grip for a cross choke. Rather than trying to remove that arm, the concept of stopping progress means ensuring the adversary fails to secure a second grip to complete the choke.

Ryron led us through a series of drills demonstrating stopping progress. We started standing up, and dealt with a headlock. We went to the ground, and had an opponent mount us. We used a "heavy head" to prevent the opponent from headlocking us on the ground, and then leveraged the chance of him getting a headlock as an opportunity for a trap and roll sweep.

We then conducted a series of drills designed to frustrate an opponent even further. We worked on hand fighting to prevent being cross-choked when in an adversary's guard. We also worked counters to a triangle choke and an arm bar. The idea was to deny the opponent these techniques, such that he decides to try something different and perhaps becomes tired and frustrated.

Ryron offered an interesting opinion on using these techniques. He said the first set were mainly useful against untrained opponents. The second set were mainly useful against trained opponents. However, consider the case of trying to avoid a triangle choke. An untrained adversary is not likely to try a triangle choke. We as defenders are more likely to try it. An untrained adversary may blunder into a counter to the triangle when thrashing about. Therefore, it is helpful for us to know what those counters look like, because we want to recognize or anticipate how an untrained opponent might frustrate our techniques.

Prior to the seminar Ryron was kind enough to add his signature to my copy of his grandfather's jiu-jitsu book. I know have Relson, Rickson, Royce, Rener, and Ryron.

I very much enjoyed this seminar. Ryron kept a good pace and structure to his class. He was constantly on the move to provide assistance and answer questions. He was respectful and informative. I would attend another seminar with him, without question. I was so glad he was only a few miles away in Leesburg!

Thank you Prof Ryron for visiting northern VA and to Prof Marco for opening his school to visitors!

Have you attended a Ryron Gracie seminar? Let me know here or on Twitter!

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