Daniel Gracie and Victor Estima Visit Pittsburgh BJJ Training and Seminars
We just finished up our informal review session, where we put our minds together and went over techniques from last weekend’s (November 16 & 17th, 2013) Brazilian Jiu Jitsu mega-seminar at Stout Training Pittsburgh / team Renzo Gracie. As I’m summarizing the seminar I will address the question: What is the value of a seminar these days where everything is free on YouTube or at least available via paid sites and online instructional? I’ve included a short YouTube instructional here that Victor Estima taught while visiting for the seminar. Check it out as well as well as other instructionals made at our facility:
We had a limit of 45 participants, which is what we felt was the maximum capacity for the facility to support comfortable training. We split into two groups with based on experience level in BJJ. White belts started in our larger Dollamur mat room. They put on their gi’s and started with Daniel Gracie, then after the first hour and a half was over took them off for of the seminar with Victor.
I started with 2011 IBJJF no-gi world champion Victor Estima in the cage room. Victor was the “No-gi” clinician. He started us warming up with a great leg control and leg drag passing drill. The Jiu Jitsu concept that the drill is meant to reinforce is about feeling the bottom person’s pressure on your hands and using the direction of the pressure to quickly pass. Victor also helped us in using correct grips and shoulder movement when controlling the legs from the top. The technique series Victor Estima taught was based on getting to his reverse or inverted triangle that he and his brother Braulio perfected and have used so effectively in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions. He initiated all of the techniques from a unique step across passing method and found his way into the inverted triangle from there. Most of his techniques where based on creating a reaction from the opponent that can be anticipated. Victor led his opponents into traps. He also showed alternative finishes depending on the reaction of the opponent. Speaking about his style he says he always like to lead his opponent for two reasons. The first is that doing this gets him one step ahead and allows for attack. The second is that if the opponent is defending it is difficult for him to threaten his own attack. The techniques he showed really brought this theme out. I think this is one of the values a well-done seminar can have is that it is a coherent lesson and not just a bunch of possibly unrelated techniques. In this structure format the techniques illustrate and teach by example a theme. In this case the theme was to stay on offense while leading opponents into submission traps. Anyone who watches Victor compete can see this aggressive, submission oriented style in action against the best in the world. YouTube it! Victor watched us training live from the guard passing positions and offered individual advice. He also joined in and trained with us. These things are obvious benefits that you can only get from a live teacher.
Daniel Gracie (high level MMA fighter, ADCC place winner, IBJJF black belt world medalist) decided to open the advanced group gi seminar to questions. This plays on his strength as an instructor. Those members of Team Renzo Gracie Pittsburgh who have trained with Daniel before can probably relate when I say he is amazing at spotting error and tightening up people’s jiu jitsu games on an individual basis. Participant asked him a technique question, or as one person did, mentioned a general problem they where having escaping side control. Daniel showed several techniques based on questions he was asked. Included in the techniques where many small details that make the techniques very effective. This interactive type of teaching can only be done with a live instructor with the abilities gained by years of experience. The technique themselves included a unique side control escape, knee on stomach position (Daniel has the best knee on stomach in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in my opinion), paper cutter choke and baseball choke variations, Renzo’s reverse armbar from the to show in two variations, and some concepts and passing techniques to shut down the berimbolo.
Another reason people come to the seminar is to be inspired by being around people who are champions and legends of BJJ. Victor inspired me by his dedication to making everyone, even relative stranger learn as best they could. His organized and respectful demeanor also created the impression of a jiu jitsu professional. He and Daniel both had to struggle to get to Pittsburgh but made huge efforts to keep their commitments. They both almost missed the seminar due to travel issues but made it happen in spite of problems. One benefit that our review session today brought out is that getting together as a team and learning the same techniques has it’s own benefits for learning. Each individual took away different techniques and ideas that will now be part of our Pittsburgh BJJ group’s shared knowledge. We as a group where able to understand the concepts better than any one could have just learning alone.
In addition to the seminar we had a great party afterwards at the gym with local foods, beer, wine, and deserts. Former members, some friends and family joined the group and got to socialize. Later that night we watch UFC 167 together with Victor and Daniel at a bar. The following day Victor did a great private lesson for our most advanced youth student member Will Dwyer. I helped out as Wills training partner. Daniel worked on the Muay Thai pads with Kru David Reese that afternoon. After the private lesson I got to train with Victor and Daniel. I should say I got beat by Victor and Daniel repeatedly. Victor really is one of the most dynamic practitioners I’ve ever had the pleasure to train with. Daniel gave me some valuable guard passing pointers. For me these training experiences alone are more valuable jiu jitsu learning than I could have gotten on my own on the internet. A little later Daniel did a smaller group (25 participant limit) armbar workshop that was scheduled for an hour but went 2. This shows Daniels passion for teaching and that he cares about Pittsburgh Brazilian Jiu Jitsu students.
I would like to personally thank Victor and Daniel for sharing so much with us and going the extra mile to make the seminar valuable. I feel like this weekend will allow me to progress so much in my jiu jitsu training. We will see you both again in the near future hopefully. I would also like to thank our dedicated members who made the weekend possible by your time, money and passion for jiu jitsu. Thank you all for taking Pittsburgh BJJ Training to a higher level!