|Christian Graugart in a shiny white belt :)|
|This is a very serious photo.|
Check out Christian's awesome PTGrappler Patch!
I found out that Christian was taking the train from Manchester to Bolton so I hooked up with him and we had a very nice journey. He even paid for my train ticket (what? The machine only took card and I only had cash on me?!). Christian is as sincere and genuine as he comes across in his awesome book and is, as you can imagine, a man of a million stories and very clear opinions on friendship, BJJ politics and what is and what isn't bullshit :).
After we got picked up by Mr Fisher and got to his gym, Christian asked me if I thought he should roll at the seminar and I gave him my frank opinion: You’d be crazy to do it. He had just a couple of days prior got a very very serious eye injury (which forced him to spend his birthday at the eye hospital) where a spider guard player almost took his eye out with his toenail. In fact, Christian was wearing an eye patch to protect his uber light-sensitive eye (due to the eye drops). He still wanted to test the waters so him and I rolled a little bit to warm up and while he did pull me apart like a cooked chicken, we had to keep a very controlled pace which thankfully drove the point across to him that he shouldn't roll just yet.
|He distracts you with the eye patch and the promise of a |
friendly High Five then BOOM... You're staring at the ceiling!
The stuff he covered was absolutely gold but I expected that. What really impressed me throughout was his genuine transparent attitude. He started the seminar by telling us that his goal is to teach as little as possible. He was sick and tired of attending seminars where so many different techniques are shown that you end up leaving with a warm fuzz and a smile but little to show for your time! What he wanted to do instead was show a few fundamental concepts that are very well connected to each other, then teach less than a handful of techniques that express these concepts well. More on that later. Finally, he left us with a ton of excellent drills to help us not just practice the techniques and the concepts they represent, but general body movement and finding your own movement pattern, balance and rhythm.
He taught sweeps from the guard and top control principles that worked from any top position but he showed them from half guard top / passing and finished with a nice breakdown of the Marcelotine choke.
Christian stressed how he’d been working these techniques for a long time, both for himself and thru his many students at CSA.dk so he knew that they worked very well, so I knew with enough searching I could easily find a good video of them on his great blog and I was not disappointed. Here is a very thorough video of him teaching the grips, entry and sweeps from integrating wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu but first let's start with a conceptual question:
In the butterfly guard what's the better instruction: "Head closer than hips" vs "Hips further than head"? What's the difference?
The difference is very subtle, but the consequences are huge!
It was an absolute pleasure to finally meet Christian and I look forward to seeing him again. Hopefully in Denmark! I would like to thank Mr Fisher for arranging the seminar and Mr Graeme Kidd for being my training partner on the day.
|Christian Shivering His Timbers in Manchester|
ZHOO ZHITSU IS FOR EVERYONE!
Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi
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