July 15, 2013

"Move What You Can. Not What You Want" - A Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Seminar Review of John Will

A seminar by John Will is really more of what I would call an event due to the fact that I always walk away  with so much more then just new ways to choke someone out (though we learned a number of those as well).  Hard to put into words with a hazy head but John's yearly visit to the Emerald City is a refreshing reminder to myself to constantly be looking at the martial arts in the broad spectrum.  How can I apply the principles on the mat in my everyday life?  The monicker "The Coaches Coach" is fitting on many different levels.

We started the seminar off with a lesson on Osoto-gari and several ways to set it up.  Using this as a warm up gave John the chance to discuss the importance of having some fundamental take downs with the gi.  Then we spent the majority of the day working on the crucifix, where John showed us several ways to enter into the crucifix position, and then showed us a handful of submissions depending on where your opponents arm is in conjunction to your body.  This is my... seventh John Will seminar I believe and a common theme is his "Hour Glass" approach to teaching.  That is, working one position (that is the center of the hour glass) with a number of ways to get into into, and then a number of ways to finish/transition out of it (those are the top and bottom of the hour glass respectively). 

As per usual the lessons were awesome!  Peppered with stories of when John was learning crucifix position in the jungles of Brazil with the Machado brothers, Renzo Gracie, and some of the Gracie family, we were taught a number of different submissions and finishes for MMA/BJJ/ or Self Defense.  But what was the real lesson?  For me...

"Jiu Jitsu is like a puzzle that you have to figure out." - John Will.  He spoke about how he believes BJJ is different then other martial arts... it encourages and engages analytical thinking in a physical realm.  "When escaping move what you can, not what you want."  I mean how many different problems in daily life could you apply such advice too?  We get all too focused on one aspect, yet so many other aspects of our life are free and open and positive.  John Will teaches a way of thinking, a method of learning if you will, where the technique that is taught becomes secondary (at least to me) and the way in which to analyze a position... a submission... a technique.  That is the true lesson.  So much to think of with just a few hours on the mat with one of BJJ's sharpest minds!  Many "teach," John Will truly "coaches!" 

And we cannot forget to mention that 4th degree black belt David Meyer is also in attendance helping out where need be.  David and John are friends from before time itself and David always makes it to any event John does to help out.  An added bonus for those of us sticking around after the seminar... rolling with a legend!  What a great day!  Thanks to the 30 in attendance and especially our coach Brian Johnson!


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