This is another of those experiences that happened shortly before my decision to devote my life to the pursuit of BJJ. I was still a three stripe blue belt (I never did technically get that fourth stripe,as I was surprised by my professor with a purple belt about six months after this seminar) and signed up for this seminar after watching Stuart Copper’s video on Robson (which is STILL one of his best IMHO, and can be seen here).
I showed up for this seminar, held at Ronin training center and,I will admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean, it isn’t everyday that one gets to train with a 5x time Mundial champion! I was, in fact, pretty intimidated. I was worried about what it would be like to be around and train with a competitor of that level! Would he be a BJJ Drill Sergeant?! Honestly, I had been up very late the night before with another obligation ad was tired as hell and was worried that I wouldn’t be up to a “high-intensity” workout!
I could not have been more worried about NOTHING! Robson’s energy is contagious and he is one of the nicest, most low-key guys I have ever had the privilege of training with. This turned out to be one of the most pivotal events in my Jiu-Jitsu development so far. It opened up a new perspective for me and helped me to develop what is becoming a more comprehensive understanding of the gentle art.
Robson started out having us do some movement drills which, while challenging at first, has become a standard movement in my “Skills and Drills” class at The Ohio Combat Sports Academy.They consisted of a standing partner allowing you to shrimp out of an imaginary guard pass, inverting and rolling while simultaneously stepping into and out of your partners legs, ending up on your back on the opposite side of your partner. You would then do it again in the opposite direction. I had a little trouble with it and I was not the only one. A lot of folks were having difficulties completing the inversion / roll.
Just as I was getting the hang of it, but wondering what the useful application of it was, Robson began showing us how it was an integral part of all sorts of movements in BJJ. He showed us leg drag take-downs, passes, armlocks and omoplatas that all had, at least, a small connection to his opening movements. It was a lot to absorb. Fortunatelyfor me, I had already absorbed the most significant part of this seminar – at least for me. It was the importance of movement in BJJ. Not just techniques, but basic movements themselves. So much of the time we focus on learning new techniques, which consist of step 1, step 2, etc… But I realized after this seminar that equally important are some very basic movements that can allow us to transition from one technique to another, to another, etc…
My Jiu-Jitsu game now consists A LOT more of transitioning and movements than learning actual techniques. I find now that I tend to finish with the same basic “techniques” that I have been for the past four years: armlock, rear choke, triangle, omoplata, etc…but now I am learning how to get to those techniques from…well, pretty much anywhere.
There was a time in my training that I would stop and say:”I don’t know what to do from here”. Now, however, I realize the trick is to simply “move” into another position and continue to move from position to position until the opportunity to finish presents itself. The key to being able to do this is understanding some basic (but not necessarily natural) movements that can really bring your flow to a new level.
I have just begun to experiment with this new idea and the search for these basic motions and movements that bring “flow” into my game. This seminar was pivotal in this realization and because of such Robson had become one of my favorite Jiu-Jitsu professors / competitors. I am always looking for the next opportunity to train with him again!
P.S. At the end of the seminar Robson flippantly showed a “guard pass berimbolo” that intrigued me to the point that I have been working on it for six months. Almost got it 🙂 Interestingly enough, Both Master Royler and Theodoro Canal both showed similar variations in seminars since (write ups coming soon)…