recently reviewed the free downloadable Braulio Estima lesson offered by Cagefilm. I really liked the video and I liked the way Braulio taught his techniques, so I ordered some more. This is my review of lesson 2:
Lesson 2: SIDE CONTROL AND SUBMISSIONS
This is the next lesson in the series offered by the Cagefilm website. To view this video, you must purchase it online and, once paid, download the file from the ‘Pay Per View Products’ section of the ‘My Account’ page. Be sure to login to the ‘SHOP’ portion of the site, as the main front page of the Cagefilm site requires a different login (this will be corrected in the revamped site I am told.) Be warned, the file is 472MB large and will take 20-40mins even on a fast broadband. It is also only playable on Windows Media Player (due to the security encryption method chosen by Cagefilm), and only on your home network (it checks your unique IP address). The whole episode is 57 minutes long.
Chapter one: Side control concepts
The focus of this chapter is how to control your opponent before attempting submissions. Braulio is partnered in this episode by his brother Victor. The lesson begins by showing the most common method for side control – one arm under your opponent’s head and one arm over his body. Braulio immediately points out the key control areas of this position – hugging under the far elbow and pressuring with your shoulder into the opponent’s jaw to make him face the other way.
However, despite using these strong control points, the common error that Braulio often sees is how the top person is too desperate to maintain this one position - to the point where he inevitably allows the bottom guy to escape. Braulio states that it is important to know when a position is about to be lost, and to follow that up with a suitably timed transition.
And so Braulio follows by demonstrating the side control transitions available when the opponent does manage to lever you away from him. Once again, Braulio states how he uses the far elbow as a reference point. In this case, he switches his position so one arm is in across the head and under elbow, other arm tucking back to control the hip.
By fully controlling the far elbow joint, the options for the opponent to escape are very restricted. This is an interesting point. For some reason, and this may be completely my own failings as a jitsuka, I have always focused solely on the opponent’s hips (and maybe a bit of jaw pressure) when on side control. I don’t think I’ve really paid much attention to the far elbow. It could explain my low percentage of success trying to submit people from side.
So important is the far elbow control that Braulio makes reference to it throughout the entire episode. He uses a metaphor in which you swing from one hanging rope to another (I imagine he means a bit like Tarzan would) – the ‘rope’ in this case being the opponent’s far elbow – you always reach for it whenever transitioning from one side control to another.
One thing I like about Braulio’s instruction is the way he sometimes stops the technical portion and offers some motivational tips. Here, he suggests that when in side control, you should try to expect your opponent to do the worst (ie escape), that way you don’t get caught by surprise. There are many other snippets of personal wisdom dotted throughout the episode.
Braulio shows another transition, from standard side control to one where you turn and face your opponent’s head. No prizes for guessing that in this position, elbow control (this time controlling both arms) is important to maintain this position. Braulio also shows why controlling the hip is important here as it is fairly easy for the opponent to counter. From this version of the side mount, Braulio shows the first submission of the episode – an armbar. Again, Braulio shows all the tiny details – the so called ‘invisible jiu jitsu’ that most of us non-world champions miss when attempting such manoeuvres.
As an aside, something I have noticed is that this instructional series is not really divided into short, neat chapters like say on Saulo's tapes or Marcelo Garcia's. The style of this instructional is designed to be very much like taking a private lesson or a small seminar with Braulio himself where he packs as much into a 30-45min segment as possible without much break. In my review of lesson one, I was amazed at how much verbal instruction Braulio gives. Considering there is only one natural pause or break in the whole episode, this is quite a lot of information to take in one sitting. It also reveals what incredible energy and enthusiasm he has as a teacher. I quite like this format, it forces the viewer to really understand what it is that Braulio is communicating from start to finish.
Back to the tape, Braulio continues to show more transitions in side mount that present attacking options. So far, some submissions are shown but not in great detail since the point so far is to demonstrate the value of the transition and the position being described.
In one side control variation – both arms over and across the opponents body – Braulio reveals how his 60/70 year old instructor in Recife first showed the young Braulio this technique and demonstrated it by pinning Braulio down without using any strength or weight, but simply by locking the hips in and locking the far elbow – that same elbow theme again. But Braulio shows how even when over-committing your weight, elbow control will prevent the bottom buy from turning you over.
What is really cool is sometimes, when Braulio explains a particular position, he will take his body off his brother Victor, and pin down the single exact point where his brother is prevented from escaping (basically in all cases the far elbow) and demonstrates the bare nature of the whole concept. It’s the equivalent of having X-ray vision and a very cool little aspect I thought.
Chapter two: Submissions from the guard
In this section, Braulio concentrates on a couple of favourite submissions. The first actually is a figure four kimura armlock or armbar combination from the north-south position – which is a transition from basic side control and with control of his far elbow. Braulio also shows how to get to this north-south submission from the facing side mount.
I personally have never used north-south in sparring. It’s just something I’ve not been confident with. But I do find I get caught in it a lot. So after watching this tape, it’s given me a little inspiration to try these submissions, assuming I have correctly applied the concepts that Braulio explains in the side control transitions.
Another thing I really like is the way Braulio gets into the mind of your average couple times a week BJJer (like me) and enthuses us to really believe in the concept he is showing. I know I was pretty enthused after watching this video and the mark of a good instructional is that you are dying to try out some of this out at the next class.
I would say the level at which this series is pitched at is the slightly more experienced blue belt and above. The reason is that although the concepts are explained very well and there is nothing complicated or advanced about the techniques, I don’t think they will make much sense to a novice BJJer. For the seasoned blue belt who is figuring ways to improve his side control, this is an excellent tape and I personally have learned quite a lot of tips.
Other Braulio Reviews:
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