15 Feb 2020

I was given access to view BJJ instructional content on a newly launched website called Techniqly.
So far there are four choices:
Death by Arm Triangle by Tom Barlow,
Master of Leglocks by Masakazu Imanari,
Spaghetti DelaRiva by Tommi Pulkkanen,
X-Guard and Leglocks by Tom Halpin.
Each of the titles is offered for video on demand viewing only and priced at £29.99 - although the Imanari one is FREE to those who sign on to the Techniqly newsletter.

Use Tech15 at checkout for a 15% discount.

I pick out highlights from each of the above videos and compare Techniqly to other popular on demand BJJ instructional websites such as BJJ Fanatics, Digitsu and BudoVideos.

Techniqly Website
Overall the website is very clean and easy to navigate. Signing up was straightforward and so far, my inbox isn't cluttered with dozens of spam messages. Currently, there is a choice of just four instructionals but the Imanari one is free and is definitely worth viewing.

All the videos are available to view on demand, but you can't download them. This contrasts with BJJ Fanatics and Digitsu which does allow low-resolution copy for you to download yourself. Budovideos also annoyingly doesn't allow downloads. To be honest, it doesn't take much Google searching to discover easy ways to download VOD content to your computer or phone - a very useful feature because when watching while I am out and about I'm not always in places with decent reception. Having videos downloaded to my phone is, dare I say - a vital feature.

One final word on the navigation, the chapter breakdowns are very useful, I can click and skip straight to the part I want to view without needing to use the forward or rewind button. This facility is also shared with BJJ Fanatics and Digitsu but not Budovideos nor on Tom Barlow's original content from his website...more on that below:

Tom Barlow - Death by Arm Triangle
I've got a few of Tom's instructionals from his own website - TomBarlowOnline - and they've all been excellently taught and very useful for my own game. I've also attended some of his seminars and he's an excellent instructor. One annoying aspect to Tom's downloadable content is that he sends you a whole video and it's a pain to have to skip forward or back as there are no chapter markers. Death by Triangle, however, benefits from chapter markers so I hope he continues to produce new content using the Techniqly platform rather than his own.

Not surprisingly, with Death by Arm Triangle, Tom puts out another stellar instructional. He's such a good communicator and explains things really well without going overboard. Tom covers all the basic set-ups and entries plus a couple of common reactions one can expect from the opponent. For me, I don't use the arm triangle very much so it was refreshing for me to watch and be inspired by Tom's video to add it more into my game - especially now that I've watched Tom's helpful tips on how to sink in a truly effective arm triangle as opposed to just cranking the neck harder.

As an hour-long introduction to the arm triangle, there's more than enough content here to satisfy beginner and intermediate players and even more experienced folk can pick up tips thanks to Tom's extensive experience in competition. If this subject really fascinates you then I can also recommend Ryan Hall's Arm Triangles DVD which takes this topic and adds further layers of detail.

Master of Leglocks by Masakazu Imanari
Imanari is a legend on the combat fighting world and is particularly famed for his devastating leg attacks. In this video, Imanari runs through at rapid pace his favourite heel hook, toe hold and straight ankle techniques. Although he speaks in Japanese, the subtitles are ample enough information to understand what he is saying, mind you, he is not a man of many words, so you could even just skip reading the subtitles and learn by observing. The highlight for me is his eponymous 'Imanari Roll' which he demonstrates from the ground against a standing opponent.
Overall, it's very brief (running time just 15 minutes long) but since it's free (if you sign up) then you can't really complain.

Spaghetti DelaRiva by Tommi Pulkkanen
Since I am predominantly a gi person, I was looking forward to learning from Tommi's video the most and he doesn't disappoint! His instructional's central theme involves using the DLR to take the back. Thre are just 8 different techniques but spread out over 45 minutes, Tommi adds in a lot of detail and explanation so you really get a good sense of how to make them work successfully. The highlight for me is one of my favourite 'surprise' submissions - the Caio Terra footlock. I thought I knew how to do this technique but Tommi adds a few more snippets of information that was new to me and hopefully will help me get an even better success rate with it.

At this stage, it's worth giving a mention to the production quality. I really like how Techniqly uses a handheld camera operator. He gets to walk around, zoom in or out and pan around as and when needed. There are no fancy gimmicks or video effects, it all just works nicely. There isn't much to say in the way of lighting, it looks like it was all filmed in someone's BJJ club so the lighting is just whatever is there - unlike say Caio Terra's Modern Jiu Jitsu videos, which have crazy high-end lighting and production quality...Techniqly's basic lighting doesn't bother me, I can see what is needed to be seen. One huge positive that I like is the audio which is really well captured. I hadn't really thought audio quality was much of a big deal, as long as I could hear the instruction, but the Techniqly videos seem to capture it really well, it feels like you are having a private tutorial and the instructor isn't having to shout to get his voice across.

X-Guard and Leglocks by Tom Halpin.
Ireland's Tom Halpin serves up a very tight tutorial focusing on a single themed set-up: x-guard to saddle to leg attack. It's a popular and high percentage 'modern game' combo.
Tom begins the first portion of the set outlining the kneebar and heel-hook finishes that he favours. The main portion then looks at setting up these attacks by getting to the saddle position using x-guard as the entry point. The final portion of the set shows Tom's x-guard set-ups. In some ways the sequence Tom chooses is backwards to how most people teach - he shows the end finish first then works backwards. I've heard some instructors mention that they favour this method rather than a sequence in chronological order. The reason is that students like to know what their objective is first of all and then learn how to achieve that objective. It's an interesting take on teaching methodology that I might try myself (I'm usually the chronological sequence kinda guy).
Overall a great set taught really well by Tom, this would serve as a very good beginner's guide to the submission grappling non-IBJJF style of jiujitsu ruleset.

Final thoughts
Techniqly have made a great start with the launch of four very good instructionals - one of which is free. I'd personally like to have the option of downloadable content, ideally by downloadable by chapter like I can on the Digitsu platform. This might seem trivial to some, but to a London underground traveller like me, there are vast moments during the day where I have zero reception. And I only have time to watch content when I'm travelling, not when I'm home on my desktop. I'd also like some sort of app for my phone - like how Digitsu have an app, Grapplearts (although that's very clunky) or the very excellent Lapel Encyclopedia app, although I guess accessing the website on the mobile is acceptable at this stage.
Other than that, the platform shows great promise for the future as its inventory expands.


Review: Techniqly (Tom Barlow, Masakazu Imanari, Tommi Pulkkanen, Tom Halpin)

I was given access to view BJJ instructional content on a newly launched website called Techniqly . So far there are four choices: Dea...

5 Feb 2020

*** UPDATE 15th March 2020 ***
The Phone case sale was a great success.
During the whole of February 2020 I offered to the public phone cases featuring Meerkatsu artworks. Each phone case sale yielded a profit margin of $13.50.
Total phone case sales = 48
Total funds raised from sales = $648 USD
Estimated payment in GBP (4th March rate = 0.78 pounds to one dollar) £505.74
Payment date will be 15th April. I will pay an advance of £350 from my own money and then pay the remainder on the 15th April.

Other stats:
Most sales by country: USA (22), UK (11), Germany (5), other countries all had one sale per territory including Brunei of all places, yay go team small nations.
Best selling design: shark surfing turtle (14),  Kimura (6), toehold (5), Unicorns (5), Wristlock (4), all other designs 3 or less.

As of 15th March, the total funds raised by all the fundraisers of Artemis Grapplethon 2020 is £2,886.93
(See the JustGiving account page)


Original post...

Once a year I raise funds towards the Artemis BJJ Bristol Grapplethon fundraising event. This year the Grapplethon will be raising funds for the Refugee Women of Bristol. You can read more information about the event here.

Just like last year, I will be offering strictly limited edition artwork as phone case designs.
BUY THESE DESIGNS HERE. The campaign will end 7th March, which coincides with the beginning of the Grapplethon event.

Who are Fine Art America? Fine Art America (FAA) are US based but operate world wide (actually printing is outsourced to a company in your territory). They are probably the biggest print-on-demand company in the world.

What phone models? iPhones: 5c, 5, 5s, 6, 6Plus, 6s, 6sPlus, 7, 7Plus, 8, 8Plus, X, XR, XS, XS Max, 11, 11Pro, 11ProMax, Samsung: Galaxy S4, S5, S6, S7, S8 Sorry other brand phones are not supported by FAA.

What’s the difference between slim and tough? Slim is a nice tight fit but I don't think it'll protect your phone as much as the toughened model when dropped on the floor. The tough model is thicker and bit more chunky. The printing quality appears the same on either version.

Why are they limited? These designs are among my artistic pride and joy. In the past these designs have appeared on rashguards, many of which have long sold out, so they’re rare. Some have also been available as limited edition prints for previous fundraisers. To ensure the exclusive appeal I’m limiting the sale to just one month (ends 7th March).

Why are they so expensive? I have put a £10GBP (approx $13USD) mark up on each phone case. Every penny of this will go towards charity. This does not include the shipping costs.

When will I get mine? Depends on your local set-up but I got mine in about 4 working days.

Can I get last year's designs? Yes, I've included last year's designs too.

Since you don't offer cases for my (Huawei, Pixel, Nokia, One2One, Sony, Motorola etc etc...) can you do stickers instead?
I won't offer stickers unfortunately. I can't justify asking for £25ish ($35ish) for a cheap sticker. This campaign is intended to raise funds for charity but also offer to you a mobile phone case that is a sturdy and robust limited edition product worth paying for.

Buy my limited edition phone case designs here!
The campaign closes 7th March so don't delay and help a good cause out at the same time!

Thank you everyone!



Artemis BJJ Grapplethon 2020

*** UPDATE 15th March 2020 *** The Phone case sale was a great success. During the whole of February 2020 I offered to the public phone ...


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