Sep 08

The Frank Cucci Seminar at Evolve Academy

The Frank Cucci Seminar at Evolve AcademyRecently, my gym expanded to a new location, and one of the events to celebrate the occasion was a seminar by Frank Cucci. He came up to support my coach, Mike Moses, because they have a long history. He’s also one of Mike’s original instructors.

I want share with you a lesson I learned from this seminar. It’s a not technical lesson though. Instead I’m going to focus on some concepts that bound everything together.


In the seminar, there were three sections. The first was self-defense, the second was mount attacks, and the last was Q&A. What stood out to me were the common links between every technique no matter where it was demonstrated.

Each of them followed a very similar conceptual progression. It went like this: Neutralize, Stabilize, Attack. Neutralize what your opponent wants to do, stabilize yourself, and then progress the attack. They all adhered to that pattern, but there was one exception.

Action and Reaction

Generally, when counters are thought of, it’s in the framework of: If my opponent does that, I’ll do this. It’s a reaction, but what if you could create a situation where the most logical course of action for your opponent is the one you want them to make.

Just take a moment and imagine that. Now think about all the techniques that you could improve if you could create those situations. That’s what I’m thinking about right now, and I was inspired by this seminar because I noticed techniques that worked exactly like that.

It was the one deviation from that neutralize, stabilize, and then attack progression, and only one thing changed. Then again, an argument can be made that the only thing that changed was your opponent’s perception.

Let me explain that.

In the seminar, there were several trap techniques. The pattern they followed was: Neutralize your opponent’s options, stabilize in a position that seems unstable to your opponent, and then attack once your opponent makes a choice from the few options you offered them.

In a sense, the goal is to entice them into the trap, and then never let them go. It’s an interesting way to think about Jiu-jitsu, isn’t it? Just imagine the possibilities if you could do the same thing with techniques you already know.