September 19, 2011

Listening Without Your Ears - A David Meyer Seminar Review

Not sure about anyone else, but between this mornings amazing lessons and ass-kicking, and this weekend's events... my head is swimming in an ocean of Jits!  First and foremost I want to thank our coach Brian Johnson for putting this seminar on and making David available to all of us.  Secondly I want to thank David Meyer (our coaches - coach) for taking the time to come to Seattle, WA. and share his decades of grappling knowledge with all of us.  Few are fortunate enough to train with their teachers, teacher!

David offered two different seminar formats, one was gi, one no gi.  The main difference obviously is the lack of the gi in no gi.  Above and beyond that fundamental aspect I would have to say the over-riding theme was the use of friction, and sticking to our opponent.  Being tactile creatures it seems us humans are WAY too dependent on using our hands for gross body movement, when in fact they should be utilized in the finite detailed workings.  Through a series of drills both standing and on the ground, David led us through the subtle understanding of how to listen with our bodies and how to stick to our opponents.  The majority of this work was emphasized without the use of the hands.

For instance when switch base do not rest your weight on your under-hooking arm, but also do not grab anything with that hand as the tension will nullify your ability to "hear" your opponents subtle movements.  Those who showed up to Monday AM class got to roll with David and actually FEEL what this was like.  He mounted me at least twice without me having an iota of an idea of what he was attempting, or even capable of doing!

Throughout the seminar he included great techniques like arm drags into two on ones (from a nice pummel break), snap arm bars, and a choke here and there.  But the overall message (that I took away anyways) was to listen and use our bodies in a totally different way then we are used to.   Learning to balance and "ride" our opponent like a wave.

Capping off the no-gi session David spoke about back control and how traditionally hooks in was the standard, then this cat called Marcello Garcia came along and showed us that was not necessarily the truth; as long as we get the seat belt grip (over & under)!  By maintaining this grip we offered ourselves more options as we could dish them off into side control and attack arms, neck, legs, etc.  This portion was amazing as some of us long fellows have a heck of a time maintaining control with our hooks in on smaller opponents.  Sometimes seeing something from a different perspective makes all the difference in the world!

I want to send a special thanks to three of my girls from Team Estrogen who showed up to support the no gi session.  Jamie, Bonzai, and Nicky all kicked ass and learned a lot.  Good to see you girls checking out other aspects of the arts, it will only make you better and richer.

Working with the gi this seminar moved a little faster.  If I had to theme it up I suppose I would call it David's trick seminar (teaching them, not turning them... just to clarify!), as he shared some of the ways in which he has "baited" opponents into thinking one thing then attacking from a totally different angle.  The modified Ezikiel from guard is going directly to use!  The crazy thing about this choke is it seems to be of no, or little, threat.... then all of the sudden you are going out!  Reminds me of a similar choke Andre Galvao did in his episode of "Rolled Up" with Budo Jake.  Andre mentioned it takes a bit to sink it in, but when it is in it comes fast because it is a blood choke.  Regardless it is tricky and a perfect fit for my guard game.

David's ability to engage a group, figure out what they need, and introduce it in a succinct manner is second to none.  His sense of humor is excellent even though the jokes are outdated;)  David Meyer should be contacted by anyone who wants to improve their BJJ game, I mean seriously lets take a look at what David brings to the table (and then scratch your head why we did not have 50 people packed in!)

  • One of the Machado's first black belts, which means he saw the old school BJJ and its evolution here in America.
  • He currently trains fighters like Gilbert Melendez / Jake Shields / Diaz Brothers / Cesar Gracie Fight Team, so he sees the MMA aspect.
  • He still competes to this day (one of the most decorated and experienced tournament fighters to come from the US) so he experiences and trains all the latest positions and techniques in competitive grappling
  • The author of the ONLY book on competing in grappling / BJJ.
  • Co-author of the ONLY book on the subject "Triangles" along with Rigan Machado.  A must have for any collector, though it is not too hard to find expect to pay big prices ($100+) because it is out of print.

David can be reached via BJJ America website.

Again thank to all who participated and made it a great weekend (thank Craig Hanumi for the support)!  Thanks again to our amazing coach Brian whose open attitude and love for the art far supersede his already amazing skills on the mat!  David... you are an inspiration to me and have become one of the single greatest influences on the mat... I can never thank you enough for what you have shared.



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