Monday, September 07, 2009

Review: Royler Gracie-- Throws and Sweeps

This isn't your ordinary instructional-- though it does a great job of explaining how to do these takedowns (mostly judo in feel) and sweeps. I enjoyed it tremendously but don't think my gorgonzola game is ready for everything on here. Fortunately, the material spans a range that includes whitebelt-ready takedowns on up, so I anticipate working the more advanced or tricky stuff later and later in my career.

Each lesson begins with competition footage of Royler executing the technique. It's nice to see that some of the techniques occur when Royler is in suboptimal position (even the gods are mortal it would seem). After you watch it several times, with a nice voiceover explaining what's happening and why, the video shifts to a controlled setting where Royler demonstrates the technique many, many times from different angles. The voiceover (don't have the box handy so I can't tell whose voice it is) methodically covers the setups, the basic elements, and the clever details of each position. Each technique is demonstrated at least 15 times, possibly more like 20, and then you go back and see the competition footage another 4-5 times. I especially liked the emphasis on grip fighting and getting your opponent to balance in the appropriate way to enable your takedown.

Ippon Seoi Nage to Single Leg Far Leg Trip: when your seoi nage fails, how to recover and get the takedown
Ko Ouchi Gari Variation: fighting a heavier, taller opponent; looked like something I could land
Ouchi Gari Variation: again, looked approachable for someone at my level; nice detail with the hand/arm placement
Kosoto Gari Variation: Royler's first attempt fails but the second looks very efficient
Opponent Grabs the Leg to Sumi Gaeshi: beautiful recovery from a single leg and one that makes me want to bait single legs all day just to hope for this treat
Opponent Sits Up and Grabs the Leg: Base and Posture-- more strategy/big picture than a technique, per se
Opponent Controls the Leg- Reversal: more than what I need to know at the moment
Arm Drag to Taking the Back: some very useful details here
Sitting Guard Arm Trap Sweep: again, more than what I need to know just now
Sitting Guard Heel Trip Reversal: again, more than what I need to know just now
Sitting Guard Hook on the Hip Sweep: looks like something I could swing; putting this on my list for playtime

After all the technique chapters, there's a "quick summary" demonstration of each one in turn, to refresh your memory. Not sure how useful this is but I liked watching the elegant, efficient dispatch again.

Then, the "bonus material"-- about 12 minutes of Helio and Royler teaching class (with English subtitles) at Gracie Humaita, followed by some open mat footage from a roomful of blackbelts. Pretty humbling to hear Royler querying his father on some guard pass technique (and to hear Helio reply, at one point, something like "Oh, just get on with it and pass!")

More useful than most instructionals for the live footage aspect-- to see the technique work even against resistance at the highest levels of Mundials Absolute competition is really nice. I also appreciated the high number of reps which saved me from hitting the rewind button on my laptop. I really want to get his Guard/Half guard Passing DVD now!

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