Sunday, October 19, 2008

Helio Soneca seminar 10/18

Friday night and Saturday morning, I attended a no-gi seminar taught by Helio "Soneca" Moreira at my old kajukenbo school. Friday night was 3 hours of fighting from the top/guard passing and Saturday was 3 hours of fighting from the bottom.

I have to say in all honesty that I was not terribly impressed. I know, I'm a white belt, what do I know? So I preface these comments with a big dose of "your mileage may vary" and an acknowledgment that my opinion is almost certainly colored by my lack of skill, experience, speed, explosiveness etc etc.

That being said:

Pros: I liked Helio's attitude, humor, and focus on detail. His guard is amazingly strong. I liked his focus on the omoplata-to-kimura combination as an alternative to the more commonplace triangle, which seems more suited to stubby-legs like me. I enjoyed getting a chance to play with the omoplata.

Cons: At my level of experience I think I will just get triangled doing the guard passes that he made look easy. It's just that he leaves one arm in and I always get triangled when I do that so there must be a secret I'm not getting.

His triangle setup was not working for me. In his version, from closed guard with double wrist control, you pull on their wrists so they pull back-- give in on one wrist and punch their hand towards their belly. Once you have stuffed their hand, bridge your hips off the ground, open your guard, and use that side leg to swing around and over their shoulder, across the back of their neck.

It didn't work for me for a few reasons: I don't have the upper body strength to stuff a hand that someone doesn't want stuffed; assuming I do succeed, their elbow is angled outside my femur which makes it really hard to clear my leg. Plus, my core strength sucks, and it's hard to shoot my hips up in the air to get under their head.

I found it very interesting that Helio claimed to have been using the Rubber Guard since he was twelve, denying that Eddie Bravo invented it. I don't have an opinion nor do I think it matters, there's nothing new under the sun anyway. Helio's version starts from closed guard with double underhooks, their hands already on the mat.

Anyway... some pictures. That's me, and Ivelin (from Vandry and Gracie) to my left.

Possibly the only way I could RNC someone-- if they're letting me :)

Helio wants me to teach him to salsa dance. He looks like he has dipping down pat already.

1 comment:

slideyfoot said...

I guess its possible he did some kind of rubber guard thing (the usual "there's only so many things you can do with two arms and two legs" argument), but is indeed interesting that he felt it was something important to emphasise.

The whole 'who invented what' debate always seems to float around Bravo's material, but seems a bit unfair, as he does mention numerous times in his books that he got his technique from other places, giving credit where its due (IIRC). E.g., the twister coming from wrestling. Its the way he put it together in such a methodical fashion that is his big contribution, not creating new moves, yet its the latter that people always seem to focus on (sounds like Soneca certainly does).

While I'm not entirely convinced of Bravo's stuff (in terms of it being too advanced for me, rather than the techniques themselves being 'bad'), he definitely knows how to market. Far less annoying than Lloyd Irvin's style (another good grappler better known for business sense).