Sometimes we don’t always get what we want. But every once in a while we get what we need.
I went to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Cincinnati wanting a good roll. Wanting to get some decent instruction. Wanting to find a place in Ohio that was as good as a place in California. I think Helio smiled down on me from heaven. I not only got what I wanted but what I needed. Australian Black Belt David Hart from Dominance Mixed Martial Arts was in town to teach a seminar, and since he was a friend of CinCin’s Head Instructor James Kelly, who was out-of-town teaching at a different school, he was filling in. And guess who got there the day before he left – that’s right, this guy!!
What I found impressive, right off the bat, is David Hart’s passion for intensity in training Jiu-Jitsu. He threw the clock out the window. “This is an hour class? Shut up and train. Don’t stare at me. Drill! Why are you getting water? I’ll give you a break. Get back and train!” Awesome. I loved it! Shut up and train! He wasn’t afraid to be curt with the students, which is needed sometimes. The Marine in me was at home.
I would say that David is probably the best technical instructor I’ve ever met. He broke down an armbar for 20 minutes. That’s 20 minutes of teaching. Not 3 minutes of “Hey, here’s an armbar, drill it” and 15 minutes of drilling. I mean, he spent 20 minutes of teaching how to do an armbar. We started in the guard, just uncrossing our legs and shrimping our hips out. We then added onto that, swinging our inside leg over and biting our uki’s head. He explained to us the basics of driving our opponents head into the ground as opposed to trying to seal it in while being stacked. Everything with the legs. You don’t touch the arm until the bite is on and the hips are up. Otherwise the bad guy will pull the arm out and then you’re stuck. Nothing fancy or tricky or new. Just an armbar broken down. He even had us do it by the numbers. 1. Uncross your legs. 2. raise your left leg and lower your right leg. 3. etc.. You get the idea.
After the armbar we spent some time working a half-guard pass. He explained the 3 responsibilities of each person in the half-guard. On top, you have to tuck your trapped foot to prevent the trap, flatten out your opponent, and work for underhooks. When you’re on the bottom, you got to get the bite in and trap that leg, sit up and get off your back, and get your hooks in. We started by the opponent shooting in to take half-guard from a seated position. Your first objective is to curl the trapped leg in and under you and sit on it. Then drive forward and flatten out your opponent on the ground while working for a underhook. Once you have the underhook in drive your head into their chin, turning and smashing their face into the mat. Be mean with it. Once their face is pinned pop up onto your toes and continue to drive forward and replace the top of your head with your shoulder. From there you have 3 different options for the pass. Pull your knee out and take the mount, pull your knee through and slide into side-mount or a scarf hold, or pull through into a side base and then step over into mount.
After that we spent time pairing up. Sweep or submit was the game. I was fortunate enough that the class was about 20 students large, with half of them being blue and purple belts. I can’t say this enough, you can easily judge a Jiu-Jitsu school by its students. Roll with a 3 or 4 stripe white belt from any school and you’ll know instantly how technical the instruction is, or how non-technical it is for that matter. Cincy Gracie’s students knew their stuff.
One final personal observation – Ciny Gracie was a proponent of the Gracie Combatives system. They have their posters hanging in their locker room and the Gracie Bullyproof posters hanging in the open area. It’s nice to see the system that I’m a fan of being promoted so well, even in a school with a different affiliation.
If you’re in Cincinnati and not training at this school, you’re wrong! Go check them out at www.cincinnatijiujitsu.com and get some quality, technical training that can’t be beat.