So How DO YOU defeat a bigger, stronger opponent?! Stephan Kesting teams up with Brandon “Wolverine” Mullins (BJJ world champion) and bring us a great sequel to "How to defeat the bigger, stronger opponent" but this is not any old sequel. These 5 DVDs (4 instructional plus 1 bonus) are a turbo charged BJJ set that should guide any blue belt and above through the treacherous world of surviving (and perhaps defeating) the big grappling bullies.
In the first DVD (1hr 40min) Brandon covers the top game from every position: How to survive in the guard, how to grip fight from standing and (my favourite) how to work with an opponent who has the opposite lead (orthodox vs. south paw!). We are introduced to takedowns; guard passes and mount stabilisation tactics. I was also happy to see that there was no overlap with the brilliant first series which featured Emily Kwok.
The 2nd DVD (2hrs 19min) lays out Brandon’s bottom game: A highly offensive series of positions based off some very innovative grips (most of which were both gi and no gi friendly). Brandon is a warrior and while he did acknowledge that smaller fighters will find themselves on the bottom more often than they perhaps wish to, he did not view the guard game as a stalling or defensive game but a very dangerous place for your opponent to be in where you will score points, improve your position and win you matches.
No offensive game plan in the world will be of any help if you can’t get out of the bad spots and the 3rd DVD (1hr 53min) teaches us just that. Stephan invites Brandon to share his best positional and submission escapes and he, Brandon, says something that echoed a Helio Gracie quote: “Jiu Jitsu is about learning to be comfortable in an uncomfortable situation”. Brandon covers his take on the basic escapes such as the elbow knee escape (with all its variations) and some more innovative ones that only come about when you are that in tune with the game as an advanced player. He shows, for example, how to escape out of the back door and end up behind an opponent who was mounted on you a second ago and he also shows you what could go wrong if you start off wrong. My only gripe is the level of detail on the fundamental escapes. Don’t get me wrong, his performance is excellent, but his narrative on the basic elbow knee escape is not on the same level as expert teachers like Mr Roy Harris or the Gracie brothers on Gracie University.
The 4th DVD (2hrs 2min) is a very nice (and extensive) touch. It’s titled INSTANT BJJ GAME CHANGERS and with good reason: It’s full of technique tweaks. I actually knew a couple of these already but Brandon provided a couple of tips on them that added the tightness you need when you are grappling a bigger stronger opponent. I especially appreciated his counter to the quarter guard. I like the passing game but sometimes from the knee-cross pass I get my foot caught and while I have methods of releasing it, I sometimes get bumped forward with the knee then as I recover my base the guard player comes out or even sweeps me. The way Brandon passes from there is so logical that you can add it into your BJJ passing game immediately. Word of caution: This is a fix-it DVD so it assumes you have some level of “it” to fix in the first place. The tips are, however, extremely useful if you know the techniques he’s fixing so Blue Belts and above will love this DVD.
DVD 5 (1hr 15min) on the other hand is pure bonus. This is Brandon’s game for the nogi submission wrestling world, with a twist. Here, Brandon not only shows us why he can use his jiu jitsu and wrestling to win his World IBJJF No Gi titles (and discusses his philosophy on the Gi vs. NoGi argument) but he answers the questions that have been sent to Stephan Kesting prior to the filming of the project*. We are shown his version of standard techniques (such as the Margarida pass defence, arm triangles and opening the guard nogi) that work against bigger and stronger opponent. I really appreciated his detailed explanation of the fundamentals of wrestling no gi (the proper way to make an underhook, an overhook, hip post…etc.) as I roll mostly in the gi so a thorough introduction to the nogi grips was much welcome.
In conclusion, this is a great BJJ set. I wouldn’t recommend it to brand new beginners as the level of detail on some** of the manoeuvres assumes you know how to move and where to put your weight (for that I always refer people to Saulo’s first series).
Brandon and Stephan are so vastly different in size yet their chemistry and delivery is very natural and clearly highlights every important point. The comic intro to each DVD is well thought out and their use of different gi colours makes the learning process not just audial but also very visual. The game changer DVD is a gold mine of tips that add to the first three which are the core and foundation of Brandon’s game. At the current price, this massive set is a steal.
Where to get:
http://www.grapplearts.com/Blog/bigger-stronger-series-2/ or get the iPhone and iPad versions from iTunes here:
*One of these is my question about training part time and how to supplement your training!
**Mostly, the instruction is very detailed and clear. DVDs 4 and 5 make more assumption than the first three.
ZHOO ZHITSU IS FOR EVERYONE!
Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi
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