Grappler's Toolbox Reborn by RMAX

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

This was really an interesting DVD. I don't really know quite where to start. The Internet swirls in negative and positive press on Scott Sonnon and his RMAX materials. There are those that believe his materials and concepts are excellent methods to improve general fitness and martial arts skills, there are others who believe RMAX is simply a marketing engine created to roll out expensive DVDs and training materials.

I'm sorry, but we aren't going to delve into any of that today.

Today we are going to talk about the Grappler's Toolkit Reborn. From the RMAX website..

Coach Sonnon designed these “biomechanical exercises” as a powerful form of specific physical preparedness which: * creates a safety valve for when movements deviate from the expected, like they always do in the chaos of and fighting, so that when you or your opponent move too far, too fast, too hard, you can safely recover and stay on target. * three-dimensionally strengthens connective tissue (the “outer bag” of your fascia and the muscle it contains, and the “inner bag” forming the joint capsules and holding in the precious synovial fluid, ground substance, and of course your cartilage and bones.) * provide a movement model for your nervous system to improve your technique without a partner, like a form of “shadow grappling” - probably the most under-estimated form of practice in modern day gyms.
RMAX International - Grappler's Toolbox (Video Demo)

Production Quality

I'd rate the production quality of this DVD somewhere above average but short of excellent. The visuals are easy to follow, however the audio is substandard, in fact you are going to want to turn up the audio higher than you might like to get all of the commentary. In addition, while the DVD menu shows numerous biomechanical exercises ("BMEs"), they don't organize them. It's a shame, perhaps I'm a bit spoiled, but Whitecollar BJJ readers are known for their lack of free time, the ability to jump straight to a section that would assist guard work, or mount transitions would be a real plus. Also, it would be useful to see subtitles for each exercise. Scott's names are often cryptic and can be difficult to remember, a nice series of subtitles would help a good bit.


While working up this review I found it difficult to really explain the exercises on this DVD. Many of them are very straight forward, you watch Scott perform the movement and can immediately see the practical usage. In fact I often found myself visualizing the movements with a partner or in an actual grappling match and understood their use.

However, just as many times as I felt I understood what he was teaching, I also found myself completely lost looking at a particular exercise. It's hard to describe, however there's a sequence early in the DVD that focuses on Triangle development that best illustrates my confusion. Scott talks about a squat he's developed called the "Shin Roll". Essentially he believes this squat will help your triangle beyond what you could by performing triangles from your back without an opponent.

I'll be honest, I watched this squat/twisting movement 4 times before I was able to duplicate it. Now having performed it a few times I'm still lost as to how this will affect my triangles. However, like all things exercise oriented I'll give it the benefit of the doubt until I've worked it for a few weeks.

Bottom Line

That's really the best way I can summarize this DVD, it's got some very "exotic looking" exercises, it's hard to say how these will benefit your game. However it also has some very bread and butter movements that appear to be directly applicable. All in all, I wish they included footage of the movements in an actual sparring setting (where possible), this would have really driven home the material. Who knows, perhaps they'll be a "Version 3" in the future..

Next step is to incorporate some of these exercises into my training plan and measure the results.

Until then.. Train Smart!


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