BJJ Review: 'How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent' by Stephan Kesting and Emily Kwok

In a recent email from Stephan Kesting he said:

“If you've already purchased 'How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent' then CONGRATULATIONS! You've made a great decision and will be getting a ton of great information that can totally transform your game.”

I tell you what, the man is not lying!

The people behind these BJJ instructional DVDs are highly qualified:

-Stephan Kesting (BJJ black belt under Marcus Soares and the man behind, and a number of great BJJ & grappling educational products)

-Emily Kwok (BJJ world champion, No Gi world & PanAm champion, MMA fighter and currently a student of Marcelo Garcia)

The name of this BJJ instructional set of DVDs is "How to defeat the bigger, stronger opponent" and it stretches over 5 DVDs (3 instructional plus 2 bonus ones)

In the first DVD (1hr 40min) Emily gives us her take on a number of fundamental BJJ and grappling drills (divided into fundamental, advanced and partner drills) such as the hook walk and butterfly lifts (see below). Another part I really cherished here was the grip fighting, the gold dust of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Not only does Emily present excellent grip stripping techniques she learnt from the likes of Marcelo Garcia but she also talks about gripping strategy and how smaller grapplers can ensure longevity in the game, which is somewhat of a running theme throughout this DVD series.

The 2nd DVD (3hrs 20min!!!) is the main course of this BJJ instructional feast of a series. Emily Kwok and Stephan Kesting talk very honestly and without any BS about:

a, compensating for strength,
b, sweeps and
c, transitions and positional escapes.

While the techniques are solid and very functional (check out Emily's take on what Saulo calls the X-pass here below), it is the constant emphasis on how to develop "space management" that makes this DVD a winner, because you can use the same concept everywhere, Make sure you check out the "Come Here Bitch!" technique after guard passing! (on the DVDs!)

Now that we have covered BJJ drills and grips (DVD 1) and looked at technical grappling strategies (DVD 2) it is time for Emily to show us a few examples of these in action and she does that by presenting her top 5 submissions, sweeps and transitions & escapes. They say high level grappling is full of invisible jiu jitsu details. Emily Kwok shares all these in this DVD. Got caught in a really bad pin? Use this style of bridging to get your frames back in:

The three BJJ instructional DVDs alone would have been enough for me to consider this fantastic BJJ instructional, but Stephan Kesting and Emily Kwok threw in a bonus (or rather two!):

DVD 4 (1hr) takes us to the Q&A section of a seminar Emily holds at a BJJ academy. She covers several submissions and positional strategies for the smaller grapplers and shows a technical breakdown of the seat-belt grip from the back the likes of which I have never seen. Feast your eyes on this:

DVD 5 (53min) on the other hand is all Strength &Conditioning, with a twist: To survive and thrive as a smaller, weaker grappler it is important to think “longevity” when training so Emily teams up with the uber-qualified Roy Duquette who, aside from sounding like an oriental Christopher Walken, has helped Emily for over 10 years of grappling. The second bonus DVD is titled "Total Body Stability Series" and it claim to help align our posture and protect our body from the endless strains of grappling all those bigger and stronger opponents. Being a part time grappler, I’m always looking to find the most efficient way to spend my limited time at the gym (supplementary training) so the injury-prevention value of these means I will be testing them very soon.

So that’s the content of these DVDs. How did I feel about the presentation? I loved it.

It really shines through that Emily Kwon and Stephan Kesting are old friends and it shows in the relaxed yet professional delivery. Most segments are presented by Stephan (who’s very tall and wide, dressed in a blue BJJ gi) who then hands over to the star of the show Emily Kwok (who is much, much smaller than Stephan and is dressed in a white BJJ gi). The contrast in both size and outfit means every point is accentuated and clear to see. To be honest, I added a couple of grip fighting strategies to my game immediately, without any additional practice.

In short: Get it while you can. “It can totally transform your game.”

PS. To buy your copy of these awesome DVDs (and to read the full itemised index of all the DVDs in this series) CLICK HERE.

Ps. While all grappling concepts and strategies can be translated into no-gi wrestling, this is a predominantly BJJ set. Emily and Stephan do touch on the subject of NoGi and Emily is a highly decorated NoGi grappler and a student of one of the best NoGi grapplers of all times (Marcelo Garcia) but the brevity of that section meant I wished they had left it out. It felt a little out of place, but with so many hours of material in one BJJ instructional, that’s not really a bad complaint to have.


Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

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1 comment:

Georgette said...

Dangit! I haven't even gotten my copy yet! You're making me want to skip Thanksgiving dinner to make sure I have time to watch it all! :)