Up here in Edmonds (Washington, just north of Seattle) we were blessed with a visit from Jack Taufer recently. Jack is a blackbelt under Dave Kama (Rickson Gracie's first nonBrazilian blackbelt and one of the original Dirty Dozen.) Jack teaches in Laguna Niguel CA and trains with Rickson couple times a week, when Jack's busy work travels allow. We profited from Jack's visit to Seattle and look forward to him returning. Why?
- Solid foundational high-percentage moves
- All the "invisible jiu jitsu" you want and hope for-- the little tweaks and details which finally make things like the upa escape, the cross collar choke, the scissor sweep work. Those "whitebelt basics" that never seem to work? Now they will.
- He reads his audience very well and gives what the group can absorb. This is a skill that stems from lots of teaching experience... instead of teaching to the highest belts in the room he teaches in layers, so there are takeaways for every level in the class.
- His instruction begins with a useful warmup. I know we all get in ruts as far as the warmup before class, so it's nice to see a new/different take on things (we did a nice self-defense/judo toss/moving warmup drill thing I've never seen before.)
- He's really good about involving everyone in the class as an uke at some point, and allowing everyone to try their "before" version of the technique on him really helps. In our case it was a cross collar choke, and he had everyone in class try to choke him.
- He's also great about walking around and doing the technique with every person in the class. Either you'll do it to him or you'll feel him do it, or often both.
- He teaches one fundamental technique, but then fills in followups for those who are ready to absorb the next link or two in the chain. (For instance, after teaching a better way to maintain posture in the guard, he added a hip-bump counter, and then a back take from there.)
- You don't walk away feeling like you wasted all your previous years in jiu jitsu, because he makes it seem like you just needed a little adjustment instead of a major wipe and overhaul.
- Finally, he's a genuinely nice guy (and a ginger!) whose love of jiu jitsu shines out of his language, demeanor, attitude. He geeks out over details the way I do, he's articulate in his explanations, and always includes the whys and rationales for the specifics.
He appeared on This Week in BJJ:
Here's his thoughts on triangle finishes:
And here, on the day Jack got his blackbelt, some secretly recorded rolling video...
Someone else writes up Jack's teaching style, here.
Lucky us, he'll be back here next weekend, and we can't wait. I hear he's going abroad to teach as well. If you want some elegant Rickson jiu jitsu, get in touch with Jack and fit your school into his travel schedule.