Thursday, July 14, 2011

Roy Dean's "Blue Belt Requirements" review

Roy Dean presents a really well-done survey of some basic techniques. I like that some instructors call them "high percentage" -- because sometimes people yearn for "advanced" stuff (aka low percentage) that may not apply in as many situations. The techniques from Mr. Dean here are called "basics" because they have a wide range of appropriate uses and so you will get a lot of mileage out of them. Also, I'm told many BJJ schools don't have belt tests, they just promote students based on their overall consistent performance. This amorphous kind of thing may frustrate or confuse you if you're like me, always wondering just what it is I'm expected to learn and do. This instructional in two DVDs is going to go a long way towards plugging the gaps.

General thoughts:
Echo-y audio/acoustics but still easy to understand everything he says. Contrasting gi colors make it easy to tell who does what, and numerous camera angles are very illuminating.

The DVD covers many of the most common BJJ techniques one would learn at any BJJ Academy. Mr. Dean explains very clearly and slowly what is going on in the technique, step by step, then he does it again at a faster and more realistic speed from four different camera angles.

He really focuses on helping students perceive both the journey from white to blue belt, and getting them into a good mindset to learn BJJ. Mr. Dean explains why he advises doing a technique a specific way (and includes some variants for good measure) instead of just telling you the "what."

Some of the techniques on the DVDs include escapes, sweeps, guard passing, submissions (numerous gi chokes, four different armlocks, and four leglocks), and takedowns. I really appreciated some discussion of basic skillsets (where and how to grab, positioning, etc), along with some discussion on breakfalls and some video demonstrations.

I must say I was afraid that his mount escape was shown with an entry into a heelhook but that might be my own bias against scary leglocks.

I especially liked that Mr. Dean explains that sweeps are more about perfectly conforming your body in the space you've created or your partner has given you, and then waiting for the right timing to be able to effect your technique. He also chains techniques together-- a scissor sweep into a popover choke, for example, or a knee push sweep into an armbar.

I love this set and hope you will too. You can buy it here on his site for $45.


slideyfoot said...

Is your club a belt test place? Can't remember you mentioning it, so I assume not. I prefer the random "here's your new belt" approach, though I agree the lack of standardisation is a drawback.

Blue Belt Requirements is awesome, but I had the same concern as you regarding leglocks. As I've reviewed all of Dean's work, I've noticed he includes them on most of his DVDs, so presumably it's a Roy Harris lineage thing.

Georgette said...

Nah, we also do the "surprise promotion" thing, which I agree, I like it more. I prefer the idea that promotions come from consistently observed execution and merit as opposed to performance on one day.

I have his Best of Roy Harris dvd and plan on watching it as soon as I finish up all these others I promised to review. I will not be surprised to find a healthy dose of leglocks there. I don't have a problem with them per se (I think Stephan Kesting and Erik Paulsen do some phenomenal instructionals on legs) but I just hesitate when I see whitebelts (and yes, bluebelts to some extent) doing heelhooks. I'm a scaredy cat!

Megan said...

I got this one about a year ago...really love it. It was a big help in organizing some of the techniques in my head.