Before I start gushing about my Roy Dean DVD, I have to say I noticed something odd about my knees today. While I thought they were always both "crunchy" I noticed that today the right one wasn't and the left one was. Odd.
OK. I've said it before. I'm a top down thinker. This DVD set is great for anyone who likes to know principle before practicing or just likes to have an idea of the road on which they're traveling and not just the destination. If you're used to a more academic approach to learning, it's an amazing set. Even if you're not, I can't see how you couldn't get something (something meaning a lot) from it. I haven't watched all the sections, but I'll talk a little about the ones I have. If you're looking for a complete reivew, that's been well covered in other places online.
Welcome: Most of the set assumes a base level of familiarity with fundamental BJJ positions and terminology. This section however, should be watched by anyone before stepping on the mat, honestly even before deciding on a school. It's basically an introduction into where your mind should be before you get going.
It adresses the potential applications of BJJ (law enforcement, competition, self defense), the wide-reaching nature of BJJ (helps to calm the concerns of people who think they might be physically incapable of learning the art), the level of intensity (I was blind and it took me a bit by surprise...probably a good thing for my situation though), the level of personalization and the incredibly steep and impossibly frustrating learning curve that weeds out so many beginners.
Ukemi: If I've ever been close to tears in BJJ, it was because of these. I found them amazingly frustrating and my fear of falling just made them that much worse. Dean speaks on the fact that, though they're not practiced at many BJJ schoos, they provide benefits to practitioners and in situations in everyday life. Falls happen and they're invaluable in learning how to manage your weight in a fall situation. He says he studied them for six weeks straight in Japan before even starting any technique and I was a little jealous. This last week, I JUST started feeling the "awareness" you're supposed to in the middle of a roll. I still start my forward ukemi from kneeling, but after watching this, I'm thinking about attempting standing again (I injured my shoulder last time I tried). Backward rolls haven't given me issues, but I learned some useful points (like I'm putting way too much weight on my neck...there should be no contact with the mat, let alone weight).
Guidelines: I absolutely loved this section. It's on the second DVD and is easy to dismiss as unimportant, but Dean's explanation of grips from different positions and priciples behind various escapes clarified a lot of grey areas for me. I think it will also keep me from stopping once I end up in someone's guard because I'm not sure where to go next.
I can't say I was exposed to anything that I haven't been in four months of classes, but the DVD presents information in such a way that's not really possible in a group class format.