Roy Dean's Blue Belt Requirements

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

First off, the honesty, Roy Dean is a stand up guy and sent me a copy of his latest 2 disc DVD to review. Roy Dean's Blue Belt Requirements

These DVDs brought me back to a few years back when all things grappling and BJJ were foreign to me. I can recall many frustrated evenings trying desperately to remember some hand placement, foot position, or trying not to panic as guys twice my size with ample skill to boot got me in a submission hold.

There were plenty of nights when the only thing I really remembered was a not so pleasant sounding Brazilian accented "Posture!" shouted again and again from what seemed like start to finish.

At that time I can remember searching the web trying to find a good "basics" or "starter" or "what the heck please help me remember these techniques" videos. It's too bad Roy hadn't released this back then, I'd have been a whole lot better off.

Essentially what Roy has done is outline the pure basics that any blue belt worth their snuff should know (as well as a few more advanced things that I didn't learn until long after I had my blue...) and presented them in a methodical and easy to follow process.

Roy mentions he received his Black Belt by Roy Harris, so in my mind that alone qualifies him for potential DVD creation prowess. It's remarkable how Harris, Kesting, and now Dean have such a straight line analytical style that translates well to video.

Not everyone can do this, just watch a few BJJ instructionals and I'm sure you'll agree.

Now, let's get to the meat of the DVDs.

Production quality is high. The audio levels are very clean, as is the video. At no point did I have to jump up to turn up or down the volume and risk waking up the baby, nor squint to see the techniques.

Roy has broken the DVDs into the following sections:

DVD #1

Welcome

Here we learn Roy's feelings on BJJ. Having never met Roy nor attended any of his seminars I found it very interesting to get his views and opinions on BJJ. In fact, I wish more BJJ Instructionals provided this sort of "behind the roll" information, sure it isn't technique or drills, but sometimes you learn something valuable just by getting a different perspective.

Escapes

Very much "bread and butter" style escapes, Roy shows Mount, Side Mount, and Sweeps. Nothing on here that a blue belt shouldn't know, use, or at least seen before. While not all of them follow my personal preferences, they are all useful techniques.

Submissions

This section surprised me as it included Arm Locks, Chokes, and Leg Locks? Wow, that's interesting, every school is different, however many schools don't show any leg locks until after blue. My first school followed that logic, which is both good and bad. The good was the lower percentage risk of injury and increased emphasis on guard passing, the bad? I got leg locked often when I moved to the new school. So perhaps Roy's on to something by teaching a few of these techniques earlier in the "bell curve" of BJJ education.

Guard Passing

Roy appears to be a proponent of more seated style guard passes, however he does blend his techniques well so it's difficult to tell. Again, solid material here, if you don't know this material you'll want to stop thinking leg locks and start working on your guard passing game.

DVD #2

Ukemi

Ahh breakfalls, I'll be honest I had no idea what Ukemi was when I popped in the DVD, so I jumped straight to that section, alas, breakfalls while an important portion of the game just aren't that interesting. I will however use this as an opportunity to mention that Roy's training center as well as all the backgrounds used in this DVD appear to have a significant Japanese inspired decor. Reminds me of a very traditional martial arts "dojo", very nice, clean, and non-distracting.

Takedowns

Your standard Judo/BJJ takedowns, again, while nothing here should be new to a more seasoned player, you should use this material as a re-enforcement and/or refresher.

BJJ Guidelines

Very smart addition. Much like the "Welcome" section, Roy provides some very good "general rules of thumb" advice about BJJ. My favorite.. "Slow down". Lord almighty, did I hear that a lot in my early days, and he's right, my cardio didn't really improve so much as my patience and conservation of effort. So, my advice, don't skip this section, it has some valuable "tips" that the earlier you learn the better off you'll be.

Demonstrations

In the grand tradition of Roy Harris and Stefan Kesting, Roy Dean includes "competition footage" and demonstrations. This is one of my favorite parts of any truly good instructional, sure it's great to see techniques with a compliant drilling partner, but it's so much more fun to watch them in real-time against an unwilling "and motivated" opponent.

Before I wrap up, the DVDs aren't perfect (Is there even such a thing?), however my complaint is rather minor.

For some reason my DVD player would not "play all" and I was forced to return to the menu at the conclusion of each segment. Yes, not a big deal, and may have nothing to do with Roy's DVDs, my player is from the late 90s, but it is something I figured my readers would want to know.

Bottom line, if you are a white belt or 1st year player (particularly Gi based) these videos are a great way to reinforce basic (yet very important) techniques. They do this in a clean, well thought out and organized presentation that is enjoyable and easy to follow.

Enjoy!

-hz


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2 comments:

Bart said...

Yeah, I agree - its weird to see leg attacks as blue belt requirements, but it's nice to give an exposure to those techniques early.

hazmat said...

You bet, I can remember my first exposure to leg locks, it was at the business end of a knee bar!

I've learned a good bit sense then, mostly thanks to Grapplearts, but it would have been great to have Roy's "crib notes" earlier in the growth process.

hz