Monday, May 28, 2012

Review: How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent

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I'm experiencing a bit of blogger-amnesia, because I could swear I already posted a review of this...but since it doesn't exist, I guess I dreamt it. I'm probably the last person on the planet to get my review of this DVD done. It worked out for the best though, because I've been able to work on some of the material presented and see how my teammates responded.

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I received How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent back in November and was totally hyped...FINALLY I would have the tools to survive against KimonoMaster (AKA GuywhoIhavenohopeofeverbeatingever). This guy is stronger, faster, heavier and a higher belt. Just trying to move his legs to pass makes my arms feel spindly and weak. He was the one person in particular I had in mind when Stephan put this together. Which brings me to...

Who this DVD is For
Seriously, it's for everybody. Most obviously, it's for the smaller, physically weaker players out there, but it's also for people like me. I come in at just a bit smaller than Stephan (6'2", 215) and as he explains, even at that size, you run into those people who are 250-300lbs and you need to know how to cope. Beyond that, if you care about the growth and frustration levels of your smaller teammates, it's worth a watch. I've been able to give a few tips to some of the tinier women who end up partnered with me and completely overwhelmed.

No reason to put this at the end. Ladybug and I got some time to watch the DVD and play with the drills and grip fighting. She enjoyed the drills, mostly because they offered a different way to look at things we already knew. For me, it completely changed the way I look at grips. It surprised me to hear Kwok say that grips were an afterthought for her until she started training under Marcelo Garcia. I always assume that blackbelts have been working on everything they're good at since day 1 of their training (I know better, but I still think that deep down).

The biggest result? I passed JazzHands' open guard (it's been giving me grief for like a year+ now) precisely because I didn't get stalled by his bear trap grips and subsequent chokes. I've gotten compliments on grip stripping from three higher belts since watching and it's forced me to be more aware of my opponent's hands in general. I still feel like a bit of a jerk with all the snatching though.

The set includes 5 DVDs-3 instructional and 2 bonus: Body Stability with Roy Duquette and Q&A with Emily Kwok (a peak into one of her seminars which is a great addition). I'll be doing one disc at a time since each deserves its own time and focus.

Disc 1: Drills and Grip Fighting
Why you should Drill
Fundamental Drills
Advanced Drills
Partner Drills
Grip Fighting

One of the biggest complaints I've seen about this set is that Kwok talks too much...which is exactly why I love it. I'm a top-down learner and her explanation of the overreaching principles made it all a lot easier for me to digest and apply. She's also a heavy proponent of drilling, which rings true with the piano student in me.

Here's a breakdown of the contents of  each section

Fundamental Drills
Technical Standup
Forward Breakfalls (She has a great way of teaching breakfalls that is 847593845 times less scary than normal)
Backward Breakfalls
Leg Circles
Leg Triangles
Grappler's Lifts

Advanced Drills
Butt Scoot Forward
Butt Scoot Backward
Shrimp Forward
Four Point Rotation
Jumping Lunges (my knees, unfortunately, keep me from doing these)

Partner Drills
Leg Switching on Hips
Wheel Barrow (the bane of my existance in agility class)
Granby Roll
Leap Frogs
Drat at Sleeves
Bear Walk (hate these too, and she does them while dragging your partner)
Butterfly Lifts
Jumping Guard Situps
Hook Walk (love these)
Guard Pop-ups

Grip Fighting (Gi and No-gi)
Four Fingers In
Lapel and Sleeve
Guidelines (little stuff like keeping your gi together to make it harder to grip and staggering your stance)
Stripping Sleeve Grips
Stripping Lapel Grips
Stripping Elbow Grips
Stripping the Over the Shoulder Grip
Stripping Grips on the Ground
Demo & Summary
No Gi

Distance, strategy and leverage should be your focus if you're the smaller or weaker opponent.
Functional drilling maximizes mat time.
Don't concede grips.


Georgette said...

You're not the last person. I am. I am trotting out her techniques against a person 12" taller and 85lbs heavier than I am, twice a week, and dang if they don't work like a charm :) As soon as my buddy Matt Corley finishes the MindMap of her instructionals I'll get my review up too.

Megan said...

Aw man...I wish I had such a test subject. Maybe I can find a stronger dude to be a test dummy.

Can't wait to see that mind map. Love those things.