BJJ Privates: Learning BJJ fron Royler Gracie Black Belt Mr Eddie Kone

Where's my money man? Where's my money?!

I recently went to London on a trip organized by my lovely wife in celebration of my 33rd birthday. Not only had she baked me one of her famous cakes, booked train tickets and a hotel, she had also arranged for several hours of BJJ privates with Royler Gracie black belt and head of EKBJJ Mr Eddie Kone at his London headquarters (and a couple more activities!!).

I humbly borrow this awesome image from Seymour "Meerkatsu" Yang

I resisted the temptation to go submission-mad and asked Eddie to focus on the following areas instead:

Stand-up BJJ
Open guard recovery and maintenance and
Side control escapes.

Not the most exciting of topics, but I knew these were the areas I need the most help at the moment. I wanted to pick Eddie’s brains about BJJ stand-up because, while we have a strong wrestling background @The Labs, I am not a wrestler, I’m a BJJ player. He did not let me down! Similarly with regards to guard recovery and side control escapes (which obviously interrelated BJJ topics) the techniques we covered were excellent and immediately usable. He moved my arms and legs a few inches here and there and fixed many BJJ problems at once!

The reason I wanted Eddie’s particular perspective, aside from his excellent knowledge in BJJ and MMA and great sense of humour, was his physical frame. Eddie is slightly shorter than me and about 23kg (50.6lb) lighter and I knew whatever he used to escape side control had to be good and 100% technique- and leverage-based. I walked in at his EKBJJ headquarters in North London expecting that, as the BJJ techniques he had learnt came directly from people like Royler Gracie or even Helio Gracie. When we rolled at the end of the sessions, Eddie deliberately started grappling from bad positions and in every case ended on top with a choke or an armbar. True Jiu Jitsu is very humbling indeed.

The other reason I wanted to learn these aspects from Eddie was because I wanted to learn HOW HE TAUGHT them. Previously, I had attended Eddie’s academy classes and one of his seminars. His delivery and methodology is very similar to what you get from the Saulo DVDs. Again, Saulo Ribeiro and Eddie Kone both share the Royler Gracie lineage and Eddie had spent time learning from and with Xande and Rafael Lovato Jr so no surprises there, but it is important to remember that Eddie Kone, Royler Gracie and Helio Gracie weigh much less than Saulo Ribeiro, Xande Ribeiro and Rafael Lovato Jr and their interpretation of the principles will differ.

Transmitting the knowledge thru pain
Do you feel that your own instructor’s physical frame (and possibly lineage) affects the way they teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Do they know how to adapt it to smaller / bigger / less athletic / more flexible etc. students? Or do they teach a one size fits all BJJ?

What I found with Eddie was that he taught the same techniques but with a much higher focus on:

Combining / connecting levers: Why use one lever against the neck and another against their hips when you can connect the two to create one huge arm of leverage?

Pushing the positions: Saulo touches on this in Revolution 1 but it never really sunk until I trained BJJ 1-on-1 with Eddie Kone. In a nutshell, always push the position you already have! If they are in your guard, work to submit them. If they are under your side control, work to submit them. Previously, I had always worked all the way to the mount, sometimes bypassing many opportunities along the way. This is something I will be working on for the coming months.

When I watched the video and pics on the train ride home, I realized Eddie had been pulling faces throughout the whole session!

Many thanks to Eddie (and his crew at EKBJJ) for taking such great care of me every time I visit one of their academies and of course, a million thanks to my wonderful wife. I am a very lucky man.

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A.D. McClish said...

Woooow! You have an awesome wife. I can't say with any authority, but I would guess that an instructor's body type has a lot to do with the type of game that they play and therefore are experts on and would teach. But a good instructor should be able to help people find and capitalize off of their unique body types and skill sets.

A.D. McClish said...

Also, I think lineage has a huge impact on how someone will teach a class and what they will focus on. I know that tradition is a big part of our gym.

The Part Time Grappler said...

She really is Allie. She's a typical libra too, everytime I ask her which wonderful things I should choose between in life, she always says "well if they are both wonderful, have/do both! Easy"

As for body types, learning from Eddie opened my eyes to how truly awesome good jiu jitsu is. He was using principles I knew and had seen before, but he was expressing them with his WHOLE body! I will try to write about how he CONNECTED certain levers, none of them were brand new to me, but I never thought to connect them like he did!

As for lineage, I have a theory. Great teachers make great teachers. IT's not necessarily a case of great practitioners make great practitioners (or teachers for that matter). Great teachers not only convey ideas well, but also help their students re-convey that info. I just came back (1.5 hrs ago) from a long seminar with Mr John B Will and WOW his style of delivery would make any teaching institution proud!! I can only imagine that BJJ coaches raised under him to teach in a similar manner.