Sep 26

Notes from Nic Gregoriades’ seminar at first state bjj

If you desire knowledge, you must seek it out.

That is a simple principle, and I believe it. That’s why I spent over five hours driving to and from Nic’s seminar. I gained some knowledge from that experience, and I’m going to share it with you.

First, I’m going to give you an overview of the class structure. Then, I’ll go into each specific piece and share my observations. After that, I’ share some examples where I’ve started applying movements and concepts elsewhere. As a bonus, I’ll also share my non-technical observations.

(Oh, two notes – I’ve created or changed the names to help me remember. These are my notes, after all. Also thanks to First State BJJ for welcoming me. There are some great people there.)

Class Overview

  • Yoga Warmup
  • Ankle Pick with the Overhand Grip
  • 93/Z/Knee Shield Passes
    • Knee Smash
    • Knee Ply
    • Hip Shift
  • Butterfly Pass
    • Leg Wrap

Yoga Warmup

There were three specific movement flows in the warmup. One was known, but two were new. It is those two that I am going to focus on because I like them, and I’m planning to incorporate them in my classes well.

The first was a walking pigeon flow. In essence, it takes the pigeon and turns it into an active stretch instead of a static one. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any videos for it, but I did choose one that just shows the pigeon stretch by itself.

The second was a downward facing dog flow that moved between several standing hip and lower body stretches.

Ankle Pick with the Overhand Grip

  • Possible when your opponent establishes a strong lapel grip first.
  • Grip his sleeve with opposite hand and glue his hand to your chest while reaching over for the over the shoulder power grip with your other hand.
  • Initiate an uchimata attempt by stepping off to the side of your power grip and sweeping your near leg (relative to his body) in to elevate his near leg.
  • Once all of his weight is balanced on one leg, step in with near foot and trap his standing foot behind the ankle as you lower your level for the ankle pick. Use the overhand grip to compromise his posture as your center of gravity drops.

This was relevant to me because I already had this technique with a different gripping initiation. So now I have a new application.

Knee Smash

  • Always try to elevate your trapped knee first to see if his control is loose (Concept in action – control of the knee is a crucial aspect of bottom half).
  • Grip his lapel on your hand on the same side of your trapped leg.
  • Angle your elbow until it makes contact with his top knee as close to the knee as possible (Concept in action – control at the joints).
  • Smash his knees together using your elbow as the hammer and your upper body as the force behind it (Concept in action – the closer your elbow is to your side, the stronger it is).
  • Sprawl heavy and then decide which way you prefer to pass.

This was most interesting to me on the conceptual level.

Knee Ply

  • Shift your body laterally to make easier for you to raise your trapped knee and flatten your opponent out (Concept in action – the angle of the hip dictate the strength of half guard).
  • Establish a lapel grip and bring your elbow inside of his top knee (Concept in action – elbow centric movement can increase the speed and power of grip establishment).
  • Pin the bottom knee with your other hand.
  • Ply the knees apart and knee cut.

The piece that I took from this is the focus on using the elbow first to establish grips in many situations.

Hip Shift

  • Shift your body laterally to raise your trapped knee.
  • Place the hand on the same side as your free leg.
  • Rotate your free knee into their chest. The position is a bait, since it depends on your opponent reacting by switching to a butterfly hook on your trapped leg.
  • If they give you that reaction, hard hip shift the other way to kill their hip and initiate your pass.

The hip shift to deal with the single butterfly hook is fascinating. I’ll tell you later how I found a new application for it already.

Leg Wrap

  • Overhook one of his legs and weave your hand under to establish a grip on his other leg, low on the gi.
  • Overhook his other leg and establish the same grip on his first leg.
  • Stretch your arms out and bring your elbows together to mash his knees together.
  • Sprawl out and use your hips to straighten both of his legs.
  • Choose a side. Your head must go to one side while your legs move to the other.
  • From there, your opponent will still have some mobility, but he will never be able to disengage and you will win the battle because of your domination of his lower body.
  • Release one grip and tightly transition up their body to establish firmer control (Concept in action – climbing the ladder).

I’m going to have to think about this more. I don’t see any clear applications yet, but they may reveal themselves once I start playing with it.

Applications So Far

Last night, after I taught a class at Evolve, I was asked about passing open guard. So I went over general concepts but I also showed a loose pass that I play with often. You can see what it looks like in the video below.

Now one of my training partners has gotten good at shifting his hip and getting a butterfly hook when I backstep. So as I was demonstrating, I had an AH HA moment because it mirrored the hip shift scenario and that movement was directly applicable to a new sequence.

Other Observations

  • Nic incorporated stories in his instruction that focused on how the technique was learned and how it has been applied.
  • He also made an effort to find out and remember the names of everyone.
  • He incorporated conceptual reinforcement into the instruction.
  • He went over the outline of the whole class beforehand.
  • At the end, he went around the circle and asked everyone to recall one specific thing they had learned.

Those are all related to how he taught, and if you teach or desire to teach, that’s interesting. I also had five questions that I wrote down, and I’ll share those with you.

  1. How do you apply the concept of Spinal Torque?
  2. What are some ways that you apply the shrimp movement offensively?
  3. What is your most successful submission, and how do you do it differently?
  4. What do you consider the most important concept white belts should know?
  5. What class structures have you had the most success with?

I ended up only asking two of them, but it was good to create a list of possibilities beforehand.