Victor Estima seminar at Gracie Barra Southampton (Silverback Submissions).



Testicles! Funny ole things testicles, well they are if you have them. But not funny if you are attempting to armbar the crap out of someone and can't because your crown jewels get stuck in the way. Why mention this? Well, it was one of the questions asked by a student during the q and a portion of the Victor Estima seminar I attended yesterday. The student wanted to know if Victor (Gracie Barra black belt, younger brother of Braulio and himself someone who has placed at all the majors) could offer any tips on avoiding self inflicted nut cracking when performing armbars - to much laughter. Victor of course had an answer, as he had for every other question in this barn-stormingly brilliant seminar that focused on tips for tournament strategy and tactics. More about busting ball busters later...




Silverbacks
In all the years of my jiu-jitsuing I had never met Victor before, but of course had never stopped hearing what an awesome instructor he was. So when Adam Fieldhouse, head instructor at Gracie Barra Southampton (aka Silverback Submissions), invited me down to visit, I jumped at the chance. And I'm so glad I did.


The academy is nestled in the middle of an industrial estate on the outer edges of Southampton town centre, right opposite Ikea. Entering the academy I had one of those Doctor Who Tardis moments. I was completely gobsmacked at the gleaming palace-like interior with its immaculately cleaned and polished white mats that stretched on forever, gorgeous light streaming in from the skylight windows, fitness machines laid out in pristine glory...the dojo was an absolute grapplers paradise! So yeah, you could say I was impressed.



Playing to ones advantages

Victor kicked off the seminar with takedown strategy. He gave us an illustration of a typical opening grip fighting game and a suggestion of what to do when both combatants pull guard at the same time. The example he gave involved a rolling sweep from del la riva guard into half guard and pass. But immediately Victor was keen to stress it was not so much the techniques he was teaching, but the mindset behind the action, ie not losing an advantage whilst you yourself gain both advantages and points. Another theme behind the sequence he demonstrated was the idea of progressing from sweep to half guard to pass using small, tightly controlled step by step movements, rather than the typical over-excited lunging movements - which we all do when pumped with adrenalin and high on the thrill of actually making something work.

Victor continued the theme of high level control with several other half guard passing techniques, in each case, emphasising the best way to exert intense shoulder pressure on the opponent. He advised us that for half guard passing, when grabbing behind the opponent's neck and imparting shoulder pressure - to try to place ones shoulder onto the opponent's upper chest and direct the pressure upwards into the jaw - as opposed to placing the shoulder straight on to the jaw itself. We tried it and dangit, it instantly increased the pain and pressure we could inflict a zillion-fold. Hee hee, I love it when I pick up tiny details that work immediately!



Lockdown breaker
Victor teaches excellently. His many years of residence in the UK means his English is perfect and his youthful exuberant personality really shines through. Amid the technical instruction he brought in anecdotes from his many world class tournament experiences and many other amusing stories too. It is easy to see why his students rave about him.

One of the little tips he showed us was how to unlock ones legs when the opponent uses the Eddie Bravo style 'lockdown' (aka calf crank) from half guard. Victor told us he got caught in this a heck of a lot and whilst it did not stop him from progressing, he did admit it was one of the more annoying techniques anyone could try on him! So after playing around with an escape, he hit upon a very simple way to get rid of the lockdown and carry on escaping the half guard. We all tried it and of course, it worked a treat! Victor joked that he would be releasing a DVD instructional and book on just this very topic.



Balls!
So onto the issue of testicles - or rather how to avoid having ones nuts crushed when armbarring. Victor admitted that he also experienced the problem and offered tips on hip position and options to swap the armbar to another technique. He also proceeded to discuss the pros and cons of the various forms of underwear one wears when training. It was a hilarious interlude and a measure of the great sense of humour and vibe from the whole session. I wonder how many instructors you could name where you can debate the boxer briefs versus tight pants conundrum for a good fifteen minutes!


I have to say I had an absolute blast at GB Southampton. The seminar was very much a different type of seminar - not loaded with techniques but loaded with wisdom. Victor rolled with me at the end and naturally I tried my utmost to do something cool...actually I tried my utmost to do something...anything! It was awesome. I think at one stage he held me in his open guard but I was trapped tight from his thigh pressure alone. Brilliant!

After the roll with Victor I worked a series of set-position rolls which was fun, and random. I worked half guard at one point with a 120kilo chap (I am 59kg), oh yeah, that wasn't the longest roll, hahah.


Ninja Flyin'
Following the end of the seminar, after all the photos and handshakes, a bunch of the guys were chatting to Victor and the next thing I saw, he was cartwheeling, handstanding and flipping around all the place. It was so cool. So naturally I took photos :D


My immense thanks to Adam Fieldhouse who was a brilliant host and a very good technician himself - assisting with our drills and generally offering top advice. My thanks to Victor who kindly stayed around after the seminar for photographs. Thanks finally to all the guys at Silverback, a great enthusiastic crowd, it was a pleasure to meet everyone.

If you are ever visiting Southampton, be sure to check out Silverback Submissions - www.silverbacksubmissions.co.uk/southampton/

Meerkatsu, Victor, Adam


:)

1 comments:

juliajohansen said...

Nice article! That's great that you get invited to those! I can't wait to visit more academies and write about them!