25 Aug 2014

Review - DVD: Beyond Technique, Concept-Focused BJJ




Summary
Short 55 minute journey examining jiu jitsu techniques from a conceptual viewpoint. The DVD features two renowned instructors, Kit Dale and Nicolas Gregoriades, who alternate on the video teaching concepts that help with improving all areas of ones jiu jitsu game. Although there are techniques shown, these are used merely to illustrate the concept being discussed. The theory being, that understanding concepts will allow the student to apply these to a much wider array of techniques.

Available
In DVD format ($59.99) or digital download ($49.99) at: http://www.gobeyondtechnique.com/
Length: 55 mins 44 seconds

Disclosures
I have trained with Nic Gregoriades and known Kit Dale online for past few years. I have had no personal involvement with this project. This review is based solely on my own opinions.




Introduction
Kit Dale is an Australian black belt and Nic Gregoriades is originally from South Africa. Both individuals have had competitive success but they are probably more known for their popular social media internet content. Nic is known by his brand Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood and Kit is known for his humorous online videos. This duo have paired up to share their thoughts behind how they think jiu jitsu should be trained.

To launch the video, the pair embarked on a series of online debates surrounding the notion of concept based jiu jitsu learning versus repetitive drilling. Here is Kit Dale talking about why he doesn't really drill techniques:




And here, Kit writes in words the same argument as he describes above. It is clear Nic shares the same belief.

It is not a view shared by some others. Noted black belt competitor Gianni Grippo for example has written here about why he loves drilling and why it is essential.

This debate is not necessarily new, but with the release of this DVD, it has all hit the internet in a big flurry of media storm up until recently. It's clear the debate will rage on, but at least with the testimony of Kit Dale above, it sets the tone for what to expect with this video.


Opening introduction
This DVD is not a long instructional. At a touch over 55 minutes it feels more like attending a seminar. Actually it feels more like a lecture (in a good way) - the kind of lecture you actually took interest in at college and was fascinated to observe and take notes.



Kit and Nic open proceedings by explaining the video is not a technical instructional but more a guideline that will allow the viewer to express jiu jitsu in their own way. They do show techniques - but these are used to serve as an illustration behind the concept in discussion. In fact the pair urge viewers to find techniques of their own that will utilise the same concepts.


Chapters-Concepts

  • Transitional pressure - Nic explains moving from one position to another
  • The Fisherman - Kit explains using a fishing reel analogy
  • The Quadrant - Nic explains opponent's four quarters of stability
  • Post, Posture and Leverage - Kit explains the concepts behind a sweep
  • The Porcupine - Nic demonstrates using hard bony parts of your body
  • Nullifying the guard pull - Kit shows this useful trick against guard pullers
  • The Corkscrew - Nic explains the pushing and pulling concept of arm movements
  • Weight distribution - Kit explains how correct weight distribution makes for more successful guard passing.
  • Collapsing and inserting structures - Nic uses his own body to create a structure only for him to remove it to his advantage against the opponent.
  • Double-barrel shotgun - Kit explains his concept to maintain the guard
  • Open and closed chain - Nic thinks of his limbs as chains
  • Removing leverage - Kit shows how you can feel much heavier on an opponent
  • Spinal torque - Nic explains how manipulating spinal structure, specifically twisting, can affect technique 
  • Size specific strategy - Kit explains how to deal with different body sizes especially if you are shorter than your opponent
  • Border patrol - Nic explains a handy metaphor to use when attacking or defending 
  • Loading the spring - Kit shows a way to execute technique without telegraphing your intention
  • The Pendulum - Nic demonstrates how to use one part of your body to drive the momentum for a bigger movement
  • Take down postures - Kit reveals the basic principles he uses for takedowns
  • Hip-centric movement - Nic explains to focus on your hip movement when scrambling
  • Misdirection - Kit shows tips for getting good grips first

In total, there are 20 concepts shown with approx 40 technical examples. Note how the titles for each concept evoke easy to remember visuals for simple recall. Often, Nic or Kit will refer to a previous concept that the other has taught.



Video production and quality
The video is all filmed in a well lit black matted training room. Nic or Kit talk directly to the camera and then proceed to demonstrate a technique to illustrate that concept, often talking while enacting the technique. Techniques are not repeated, slowed down or re-examined and there is little changing of camera angles. The pair simply illustrate each concept with two example techniques and then move on to the next concept.
Audio is perfectly clear and there is subtle use of editing - zooming in and cut aways when necessary, but nothing like the ultra slick use of filming gimmicks on the Caio Terra Modern Jiu jitsu set.




Conclusions
For most grapplers studying at a regular BJJ academy, it soon becomes evident that concepts lie behind the heart of alll techniques. One of the key aspects to jiu jitsu to begin with is the concept of leverage and technique over strength - which are usually introduced to practitioners from a very early stage. But, inevitably, most students progress by learning (and drilling) techniques by rote - which is perfectly natural and normal in any given learning environment.

In most videos, the instructor shows a technique and explains the concept behind the technique. Here, the Nic and Kit reverse the process by explaining a concept and then showing a technique. With this method, arguably, it opens to doors for the student to improve on not just the techniques being shown, but on an almost limitless number of others by thinking conceptually.

Beyond Technique feels like being at a lecture. The content is fascinating and helps to open the mind. At 55 minutes it isn't as long as many instructional DVDs out on the market and in many respects, it feels like a supplement DVD, a bookend to something much more substantial. At $59 however, it is good value - there are 20 concepts explored and for most, there are two techniques shown for each concept; that's a rough total of 40 techniques (once again, I should stress, actual technical instruction is not the point of this DVD). I actually prefer shorter length DVDs - more quality, less filler. Some box set 4 disc instructionals can seem daunting to wade through in my opinion.

To conclude, I would recommend this DVD as a useful tool for any rank jiu jitsu practitioner. The example techniques are never too weird or exotic, in most cases they are basic positions and
serve as excellent starting points for the viewer to experiment utilising the concepts for their own favourite moves. This disc forms a nice complement to more weighty instructionals, such as those by Caio Terra or Ryan Hall and even on its own, will help you look at your game in a fresh light. I personally enjoyed watching the disc and took away a number of conceptual tools that I think will improve aspect of my game considerably.






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About the Author

Meerkatsu

Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.

3 comments:

kev41 said...

Thanks for reviewing this. I have finished watching the dvd this past weekend and feel the same as you. I was not sure to buy at first but I decided to give it a try.

Raimy Mohamad said...

This DVD sounds quite interesting. Once you understand the ideas behind things, all the steps within a certain technique would just make sense. Instead of simply memorizing, you are learning to think critically.

Thanks for the review!

Kenneth Brown said...

Beyond Technique is a step in a good direction, and for me personally, I found it easier to sit down and watch the whole thing than any other instructional I've seen.

 

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