August 5, 2009

Eddie Bravo Seminar Review

Once again grappling icon Eddie Bravo visited the Emerald City to share some of his no gi submission wrestling knowledge. Playing to a crowd of under 20 (which was great for us as we got all sorts of personal attention) Eddie went over some more advanced rubber guard strategies, techniques, and troubleshooting. Big Thanks to Ivan Salaverry who hosted Eddie at his place in South Lake Union.

Several of us from the NW Jiu Jitsu Academy (Johnny Fu, me, Eddie, and Jesse "Doc" Chang in the above pic) went to support the seminar and learn from Eddie. It was my fourth or fifth time training with him, but Johnny and Jesse's first time. Everyone took something great away from the seminar.

For those of you who do not know, or perhaps you are one of his critics, Eddie has an amazingly technical mind, keen eye for detail, and in my opinion is a grappling genius. During his instruction Eddie shares comical stories, the evolution of the given technique including how he failed and worked on certain aspects of the movement, as well as finer details of each and every movement. Bravo is very direct and honest, freely sharing the strengths and weaknesses of his personal game and sharing how we can learn from his mistakes. This attitude shows a level of confidence and comfortability that is rare in a testosterone driven art!

He emphasized the importance of the over hook and spoke about the evolution of the technique via his master Jean Jacques Machado who has no fingers on his left hand, so therefore cannot rely on gripping the gi and has to use the over/under hook as his control position. Eddie offered that this is the reason JJ dominated the early Abu Dhabi's as JJ was very accustomed, and comfortable, with the sweat and grease of wrestling opponents with no shirts on getting his grips via the under hook, or over hook and then working the sweep.

Eddie is also a rare gem in that he actually cares if the students are getting what he is teaching. Always open to questions, he also has people come out and demonstrate what they just learned. Not to put pressure, or to humiliate folks, but rather to teach us (observers) how to watch for each step, and to offer his critical eye to each and every aspect of the technique.

We covered a ton of submissions from rubber guard, as well as transitions into spider web, but the best aspects of the seminar to me were the step by step process in which Eddie led us from breaking down our opponents posture and getting them into rubber guard, then onto jiu claw etc. etc. All too often seminar teachers offer great submissions and what not, but if you never get into a position where you can employ that submission then what good is it!?! Eddie took us right from the top step by step.

Overall it was an intense learning experience that leaves me longing for more opportunities to train with one of grappling's greats. The combination of skill, knowledge, teaching ability, sense of humor, levity, and good training partners makes events like these worth every penny and minute!


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