Saturday, September 19, 2009

Royce Gracie Jiujitsu/MMA Seminar, Cameron, MO


Rear Naked Choke'd out by Royce Gracie. He said, "this will be a pleasure for me"
(credits: photos by Rita Philip)

Four hours of training in a patriotic rural town with the UFC legend, Royce Gracie, for $100.

What did I learn? Here is as much as I can remember:





Our class
. Royce is pacing up and down in the blue gi



(Note: He did not use any technical terms and so I am using the labels from my class in Overland park which is a training center for Gracie Academy, Torrance, CA. I have only described the 'new stuff' he taught. If you are unfamiliar with the basic moves, you can try a keyword search for the technique on youtube).

  • Takedown. Both vie for position, pushing each other facing at 45 degrees. One knee drops, hooks inside of farthest leg. Grab inside of other knee with other hand and push to takedown.
  • Americana.
  • Kimura. trap his other leg.
  • Guillotine choke (pull guard variation) and Guillotine defense. In this defense against the pull guard version, arm around BG's neck holding BG's head "like he is your friend" and when you are on the ground, post off your toes with a wide base, and push your shoulder to his throat.



Guillotine choke. Also, my sparring partner can be seen. I am in the white gi with my back to the camera.
I discovered while practising during the session, what I felt was a possible counter to the Guillotine defense (which irritated Royce who insisted it wasn't valid, "who is teaching you? you are learning wrong" - however, I disagree) Use the non-choking arm to wrap your arm around BG's defense arm - now he can't put it around your neck. You can still continue the choke by grabbing the wrist of the choking arm. So if your right arm forms the 'V', use your left arm to wrap around BG's right arm and then hold your right wrist and close the 'V' and inhale to exert pressure. Since BG's right arm is trapped, he cannot loop it around your neck.

Also, in the curriculum taught by Rener, Ryron and Rorion Gracie, the guillotine is an artery choke, not an airway choke. So we learned to form a V using our forearm with the BGs chin in the valley. Royce insisted that this was wrong. He taught the wrist is kept horizontal and raised upwards. He got annoyed, "Who is teaching you this? It is completely wrong. You can tell them in the class to [unprintable] out of here". Discretion prevented me from saying, "It was your nephews who taught me this, Sir".


  • Swinging to different sides of BG to do arm lock from the guard on each side.
  • Turning a failed Kimura into a mount. If BG pulls his hand out, support yourself with the hand you used to grab his wrist, and assuming your leg on the same side is bent, drive forward with your hips, knocking him off balance. You can now get into the mount.
  • punch block 2 (PB2). grab his biceps. No space between your forearm and knee. feet on BG's hips.

Submission Variations from PB2:

  1. In PB2, let BG's arm in. move 'around the world' to do the triangle.
  2. In PB2, let BG's arm in, grabbing his elbow. drive your legs up his body and twist your hips, pushing his body to the side forming a triangle with corners of your knee, your foot, your knee, and your groin. This traps him. From here, do the kimura with your hand. see photos below.
  3. Kimura variation using your legs only! As above in 2), but move your leg around his head, so you are sitting next to him. grab his waist. Now rotate your legs to sit sideways.


Royce watches Master Johnson's technique

Master Johnson demonstrates the technique
  • Twisting arm control. use your chest to roll him in. Then do RNC. variation: take the back.



with Jonathan... and David :)





with pretty woman ;)


After he autographed my white belt, I said, "God bless you". (I wasn't feeling very spiritual this week, and said no more).
The tough old warrior was visibly touched. He reached out and patted my arm.






follow up: Ryron Gracie addressed the contradiction in the versions of the Guillotine choke - Lesson 23. (I asked this question on their website forum).
Both variations of the guillotine choke are valid. We learned it the same way that Royce taught you. Our father has taught us that way and you will see it taught that way on the Rorion/Royce video series. Our version, approved by the Grandmaster and our father, achieves the same purpose, but can be even more effective as it is tighter and more quickly causes unconsciousness due to lack of blood flow. If you can't wrap the arm deeply enough to achieve this effect, then the painful version is a valid, time-tested alternative. - Gracie Academy 1

Monday, September 14, 2009

Life and Death


Dream Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park. Sept 11, 2009

Vibrant strong tall trees, green and healthy, reaching for the skies.
Dead rotting corpses in their watery grave, their bodies releasing back to the soil, air - and trees above.
From