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Oct 1, 2013

Seminar Review: Rener Gracie

Man, I'm just thankful I was able to make it to this seminar. I want to thank Craig Hanaumi for sending me an invite to this amazing event. It was a two day seminar with three focuses. The first day was about the triple threat guard, which I learned some awesome details. The second day part one was focused on arm locks from side control. And the last part was about leg locks. Which I got some really small and crucial details. I also stayed to help out with the kids "Bully Proof" seminar, which was really eye opening to see Rener have such a passion to teach. I can only hope one day I'll be half as good of a teacher as he is.

I was glad I was able to take notes each day because of the amount of knowledge this guy dropped. My mind was numb from trying to take in all the details. The really cool thing is that Rener offered to correct our notes if we emailed them to him. Which I thought was pretty legit. And no, you couldn't email him a blank piece of paper and ask him which details you missed. Haha

I really liked the way he taught. He was full of energy and passion the whole time. You could tell by the way he talked that he loves what he does. He could discuss how paint dries and he would find a way to make it interesting. He focused a lot on the small details that helped make each move successful. For the most part it was all pretty "basic" moves with a good explanation. A lot of the things he showed were off of Gracie University Blue Belt Stripe 1 & 2. Now let's get into the good stuff.

Day One:
This first part of the seminar was on a Friday night. I showed up early because I didn't want to deal with traffic and chance being late. A group of us helped set up the mats for everyone. We started a little after 7, and in total we had about 100 people there. It was awesome seeing so many people from all over the northwest. There was about 5 wrestling mats so we were able to spread out fairly easily. The focus was on the triple threat guard, which was more like the septuplet guard after he showed all the options for it. We started on how to break down your opponent in your guard various ways. He shared a concept of “Catch them while they are rebuilding the house.” So pretty much start attacking them while they try to posture back up. He then showed how to break some bicep control effectively. From there we learned the string of attacks and counters to the defenses.

1.      Breaking Posture (Multiple options)
2.      Breaking Bicep Control
3.      Whizzer to Cross Choke
4.      Counter to Cross Collar
5.      Cross Collar to Arm bar
6.      Arm bar Defense Counter
7.      Arm bar to Triangle
8.      Cross Collar Variation
9.      Whizzer to Omoplata
10.  Counter to Omoplata Defense

Sounds pretty basic right? Well if you can string all these together, it’s a wonderful combination. It would take a while to string them fluently but, with some good drilling it wouldn’t be too hard to add a couple of these attacks to the arsenal. The details Rener gave helped on my knowledge already. He quoted Ryron in saying “Every move works, and every move sucks.” What he meant by that was that no move is perfect. There will always be a counter or a defense to a move, so by learning them in combinations you’ll have better luck catching someone. After the seminar we took some pictures with him and talked among ourselves for a bit. I headed home because I had an early morning drive to get to day two of the seminar.

Day Two:
I don’t even get up for work as early as I did to make it on time to this seminar haha. I got there on time but had a huge fiasco with my belt and car, so I started about 10 minutes late. I hadn’t missed too much thankfully. My friend Chris was there to help fill me in on what I had missed. The first part of day two focused on arm locks, which I always enjoy, who doesn’t? There was a good 70-90 of us again drilling all the moves. A lot of the moves started from knee on belly and moving to side control. He called the control position the rat trap, which was the first I had heard of it.

1.      Knee on Belly to Side Control
2.      KOB to SC to  Rat Trap
3.      Rat Trap to Shoulder Drive to Americana
4.      Americana Tips
5.      Rat Trap to Pulling Opponent up and Spinning to Arm bar
6.      Rat Trap to Shin in Arm Control
7.      Shin Control Variation
8.      Shin Control to Kimura
9.      Kimura Defense Counter
10.  Kimura to Arm bar

All of the moves string together very smoothly just like the previous night. I do a lot of kimuras and the way he presented it will help me land even more. (: While he taught all of us he said some really cool things that stuck out to me. He was talking about the breaking a grip on this quote… “It’s not because I’m stronger, it’s just that you’re weaker that way.” It stuck out because as a smaller guy I don’t get to muscle a lot of people, so I have to rely on technique when breaking grips as most things. For me it makes me want to find weaknesses rather than trying to get stronger/muscle my way through things. He also said that if you were to roll with him and he were to catch you in one of these moves it’s because you hadn’t failed as many times as he has. I can’t even imagine how many times he’s drilled these positions. The next part of the seminar took place after about a 30 minute break.

This part of the seminar was focused towards leg locks. Beautiful. I love leg locks, I just wish I was better at them. Which after the stuff Rener showed it has. In the first class after the seminar I had landed a couple of the set ups, which made me happy. These moves were a little more technical than the earlier seminars. We started with a basic ankle lock, he gave some pretty unique details, and then we moved on to toe holds.

1.      Ankle Lock Details
2.      Basic Ankle Lock
3.      Ankle Lock to Belly Down
4.      Open Guard Top Ankle Lock Set Up
5.      Butterfly to Ankle Lock
6.      Butterfly to Toe Hold
7.      Top Guard Kneeling to Toe Hold
8.      Top Guard Standing to Toe Hold
9.      The Daddy Dragon Roll (Standing to Diving Toe Hold)
10.  Toe Hold Defenses

Now these didn’t all tie in as much as the others but they sure helped my game. They were pretty advanced, which I’m okay with. Even though Toe Holds are not legal for purple belts and under, my academy allows our purple and higher allowed to practice the moves. When showing some of ankle locks he did mention not to “reap the knee” cause if you’re doing sport Jiu Jitsu you’ll get DQ’d. Which with some of the moves there was a lot of rolling and twisting so it was easier to have it happen. After we were done with this part of the seminar there was about an hour and a half break before the Bully Proof seminar.

The kid’s seminar was amazing. Seeing the passion and the way he taught the kids was really something special. He was able to keep the kids happy and engaged the whole time, which isn’t an easy thing to do! The Bully Proof was for the ages of 6-12 before showing off anything he talked and asked questions about bullying to the kids. After that he then showed a ton of awesome and basic moves that the kids were able to pick up. After each technique he made the kids practice with the other kids while the adults helped out. He showed them:

1.      How to Talk to a Bully
2.      Dodge to Takedown to Mount
3.      Mount Control
4.      Side Mount Control
5.      Knee on Belly Control
6.      Guard Control/Defense
7.      How to Stop Bully From Hitting Another Kid

By the end the kids were able to perform the techniques really well and were engaged the whole time. At the end we all played Cops N’ Robbers, haha which was crazy amounts of running around. He made teaching the kids look like an easy thing to do. It was really something to see, talked with a few of the adults who stayed and agreed it was easily one of the best things over the weekend.

Overall, if you get a chance to learn from Rener Gracie, don’t miss out. You will gain so much knowledge and skill from it. He said spending two hours straight on one area will do wonders for your game. Two hours together compared to two hours separately makes a huge difference in your progression. I agree, I feel much more comfortable in all the positions we covered, especially the foot locks. If you do happen to go to a seminar, TAKE NOTES. They are invaluable when you cover so much. I know this was lengthy but, thank you for reading.

Also again thanks to Craig for throwing the event together and thank you to Rener for coming and sharing his knowledge.

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