I just recently got three new instructionals from Takedowns101.com
. Make sure to check the site out because it has free techniques and videos. The three instructionals are The Single Leg, The Open Guard Game, and Closed Guard. I plan on doing a three part review series.
I jumped into The Single Leg first because like many BJJ guys my wrestling is pretty weak. The information is presented by Ken Primola so it makes sense that I get started by giving a little background on Ken. I think background on the presenter gives some insight into how he presents the material and what qualifies him as a good teacher.
When I learned that Ken was a BJJ World Champion (Masters) I was very intrigued. To be a Mundial Champion at any level is huge. I decided to interview him as part of the review. I pictured him telling me stories of his training and matches down in Brazil that led to the title. But instead I couldn’t get him to talk about most people’s favorite subject, themselves. He mostly wanted to talk about an open learning environment mutually beneficial to all who participate and the technical development of the sport.
Ken vision is to start with a value added product at a reasonable price. His ground up approach will lead to profits and from those profits he will sponsor people in BJJ. The biggest benefit, according to Ken, in making the instructionals is a technical one. He referenced what Marcelo Garcia said about his own instructionals. Marcelo said something like: When you share people ask you about what you shared and those questions force you to look at your own techniques from a different perspective.
One of the first things I noticed was how well the information was organized. The sequence of techniques just made sense and each DVD comes with its own handbook. Each move is described in the handbook and there is a space for notes at the bottom of each page. This made perfect sense when I found out that Ken also had a law degree. His academic side helped him break the material down and present it in this manner.
He also understands that less is more sometimes. In each technique he has given a few key details that make the technique work. Through studying wrestling and being a D1 college wrestler he is well versed in what makes the single leg work or not work. He eliminates the noise and delivers the content. He also attributes this to his high school wrestling coaching experience.
During the instructional he builds the single leg from the ground up. Starting with the proper wrestling stance, flowing well into how to penetrate, and how to get the leg and execute the single leg once you have penetrated. Then he goes into three variations of the single leg once you have the leg. The DVD finishes with some “mat finish” variations.
During the stance portion he goes over the proper stance in detail. He covers offensive and defensive stances. Every detail on how to make your stance fundamentally perfect from how to hold your hands to how to walk is shown.
When Ken takes the single instead of straight on he likes a version where you round the corner and base off the hands near the foot of the leg you are attacking. I like his reason for doing it this way even more. Right or wrong, at least he has an opinion of why this single leg is better than others. He put thought into it and analyzed the technique. He believes it is one of the most fundamentally solid ways to take the single.
Setups are the hardest for me personally. He gives three of them. He talks about watching the opponent to pick your opportunity and using timing and rhythm. Strategy is an important part of setups which he talks about.
Once somebody gets my leg I like to do what I call the Dave Camarillo defense. Dave Camarillo probably credits it to BJ Penn. I put my leg to the outside. My approach to the single offensively is to keep my opponents leg on the inside. Ken shows 3 techniques to finish when your opponents leg is on the inside, 2 when it is in the middle, and 4 when it is on the outside. In many instances each subsequent offensive move are a counter to a defensive move. This section flows within itself really well. It flows on a micro level while the DVD as a whole flows on the macro level.
Finally he has “mat finishes”. This section really makes sense to me. While learning the single leg or any other takedowns it would probably be safe to assume that you will get sprawled on. And chances are you will end up in turtle while rolling. This section deals with finishing the single from a turtle like position.
I always try to add some sort of objective element when reviewing an instructional. This instructional is 44 minutes and has 17 techniques. It cost 29.99. That is about $1.75 per move. He doesn’t talk too much and the instructional doesn’t drag. I don’t need to see the same move 5 times with no added detail each time. More importantly each and every move has critical details to making the move work.
Ken’s philosophy brought him to a point where he is willing to share his nuggets of wisdom. His background from law school to D1 wrestling to high school wrestling coach enabled him to articulate his techniques in a concise and clear format. And hopefully his dedication will lead to more instructionals in the future.takedowns101.com