January 31, 2011

Jeff Glover Seminar Review

I love the path of martial arts.  I love going to a seminar or gathering and learning some new tricks and tips to improve my infantile BJJ game.  I love when certain things start to click and come together, and that is exactly what happened this past Saturday in Portland, OR. at the Jeff Glover seminar.

Tom Oberhue hosted Jeff at his beautiful dojo 5 Rings Jiu Jitsu which has a complete fitness area as well as a spacious mat room!  With just a few people short of 50 practitioners we trained two sessions with Jeff, the first being a position I very much like to play; the Deep 1/2 Guard.  The remainder of the day was spent on something I completely suck at; D'arce Chokes and their setups.  Jeff is a genius on both of these topics, as a matter of fact Jeff has probably developed the most sophisticated Deep 1/2 game in the BJJ world.  And apparently the D'arce is one of his favorite submissions.

This was the first time ever meeting Jeff in person though I have heard much about him via my teacher Tim, who has practically watched Jeff from white belt on (has even fought him in competition) to black.  Immediately Jeff's childlike enthusiasm for BJJ was contagious with his energy fueling the room full of participants.  Jeff has a great sense of humor and a very modest approach to how he teaches.  Throughout the day he was candidly honest in what he knew and what he did not know, repeating over and over that he refuses to use the words "always" or "never."

"I developed what I do and what I know from playing.  I hate working out!  I play jiu jitsu." - Glover

And this attitude is the base for his quirky, energetic style of grappling!  Within the first 5 minutes of teaching us the basic sweep from Deep 1/2 I had all 3 of my questions answered and my problems with the sweep solved!  Right their was worth the money!  So the rest of the material of getting into Deep 1/2 from mount, back mount, and side control; plus the various sweeps and combinations were just cherries on top.  The Deep 1/2 sweep drill is money too!

I must admit I suck at most chokes!  Period.  I have a hard time setting them up and visualizing them whether with a gi or without.  So when I heard Jeff mention a D'arce tutorial I was a bit apprehensive.  Unfortunately we could not video tape (a pet peeve of mine in the 21st century), so being reliant on my smoky memory is a gamble sometimes.  I welcomed the opportunity to revisit a choke I am familiar with yet suck at.  In the end I honestly think some things came together for me.

The D'arce and the variants Jeff went over with us (the hilarious bar D'arce / F'arce / Sl'arce / B'arce / M'arce...) is basically the same principle as the triangle with your legs.  Your opponents arm cuts off one carotid artery, while the blade of your arm cuts off the opposite one.   This seminar did not really teach me anything new in terms of HOW to do a D'arce, but seeing it once more from a different perspective allowed something to click in my brain and my body!  Perhaps not knowing what we were going to cover in the seminar was helpful too so I entered with no preconceived notions of what to expect.  The mental aspect of BJJ never ceases to amaze me, just like the mental aspect of life.  Do we create our own experiences by our mental / emotional thoughts?  A rant for another time.

The golden highlight of the seminar wasn't really any of the techniques for me, but rather in getting a birds eye view of Jeff Glover and how he approaches competing and BJJ.   Yet again a very candid, honest look at his competition when asked who was his toughest fight, where he named those who had beaten him, not those whom he has won against!

"I love the spirit of competition.  There is nothing better then building a rivalry with someone whom you beat once, he beat you the second time.... I do not want to win all the time because I want to be challenged.  Dusting yourself off and getting back into the fight after a loss is the most rewarding experience."

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Big thanks to Coach Oberhue for putting this seminar on, and gathering over 6 black belts in one place!  Makes me wonder why we can't get the same support in Seattle here, especially since the majority of the black belts were from the Seattle area!

Jeff is quite humble as he is most likely one of only 2 or 3 American grapplers whom is considered one of the best!  His open approach is an inspiration to all, and his skills are only overshadowed by his sense of humor and smile!  If you get the opportunity, make it a priority to train with Jeff either in California at Paragon BJJ, or at one of his seminars coast to coast.  You will not regret it.

Cheers
Jake

PS Yet again I got mad compliments on the Blackhawks gi... though the majority of the folks did not know the team!  Even Jeff liked it!

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