Igor Kurinnoy – Seminar Review

Igor Kurinnoy visited Seattle, WA. for the first time this past weekend (July 24-25th 2010) and offered a weekend chock full of Sambo techniques and strategies for both throws and ground grappling.  Igor’s list of accomplishments is WAY too long to re-type here (check out this list list): accomplishments.  Basically if you are remotely interested in any style of grappling you should have a solid idea of the name Igor Kurinnoy.  Sambo champ, Judo champ, Sumo champ, freestyle wrestler… the guy’s bio reads like a never ending list of grappling styles and tournaments he has won!

Hosted by Aaron Fields and Gregg Humphrie’s (great to meet you Gregg and Serge…. no, no, the other Serge;) at Aaron’s gym (quietly dubbed the sweat box!), Saturdays attendance was just short of 40 people, and Sunday had about 10 fewer!  People from Iowa, Oregon, Cali, and of course locally converged to get the opportunity to train Sambo with one of the best ever!  Greg even said that it was one of the largest turnouts he has ever seen for Igor, and that we trained harder then most out there!  Quite a compliment coming from Miletich’s grappling coach!

Igor spent the majority of Sat. showing throwing techniques mixed with a few ground techniques, and exactly the opposite on Sunday where we spent the day working ground techniques with a couple of stand up throws.  This was a great mix for the people in attendance who were mostly Sambo stylists, but we had everything from BJJ cat’s to western martial artists in the house!  It is always interesting for me to see how someone approaches certain techniques and training, and Sambo has many varied grips and setups for throws and sweeps that are simply not seen in other systems.  This is due in part to their uniform as well as the rule set for Sambo (freestyle / sport / combat).  Remember the only differentiating factors when it comes to various “styles” or “systems” are: 1 – rule set & 2 – uniform.

“The Death Star / Igor Kurinnoy / Chickenwing

Igor showed us some basic drills to practice foot sweeps on each other both as a warm up, but the functionality was inherit within the practice.  He then progressed to show how certain techniques like Uchi Mata and leg blocking (knee seizing) are applications of the same principles.  What was good about Saturday was that it was nothing I had not seen / done before, but I picked up subtle cues that were making my techniques flawless.

In regards to the ground work the majority of it focused on your opponent either turtled up, in bottom four quarter, or totally sprawled out (think spread eagle face down).  For those of us in BJJ this was a little confusing, but keep in mind that Sambo has time limits on the ground; and some people will splay out in an effort to stall and get the match back to the feet.  So the majority of techniques were addressing this exact issue.  Igor even taught us his trademark rolling shoulder lock!

Overall the weekend was… hot and wet!!  And not the way you would want it to be!  I bet it was easily 100 degree’s in Aaron’s club, with humidity right up there alongside it.  I easily lost 6 pounds water weight Saturday.  Hopefully Aaron will be in a much more drafty location next seminar.

But seriously the seminar was good.  Nice to see that kind of support for a relatively unknown art here in the US.  Igor is the epitome of “speak softly and carry a bag full of ass whoopin’ for any poor sap stupid enough to ask for it!”  Very soft spoken.  Extremely gentle, that is until he showed some throws on Aaron, Serge and a couple others.  I honestly thought he killed Aaron with one take down.  Igor can explode with such velocity that it is easy to see why he has won the world Sambo cup 3 times!  Igor’s English is much better then my Russian and he did quite well, but I cannot help but think how much more detail we could have retained if a translator was present.  Igor is extremely technical, and has a PHD in Combat Sports Conditioning, so I am very sure their is more detail to the content he could have shared if language was not a barrier.

On that same note I was REALLY looking forward to being warmed up with some of his grappling specific techniques and what not, but those were not a factor.  Perhaps next visit their will be more organization and direction as far as theme’s go.

I want to thank Aaron, Gregg, and all the participants for making it such a great weekend.  And lastly I want to thank Igor for opening my eyes to the great potential of Sambo and for unabashedly sharing his passion and love for the grappling community.

Have fun in Iowa boys!

For more on Igor click here!