Friday May 16th, 2014 – Roll Out! Brought to you by FBJJUSA Instructor John T Burns.
Roll Out! Every time Professor Rob Handley comes to Arizona our students grow exponentially and this time was no exception. With his warm demeanor, positive attitude, attention to detail and passion for the martial arts, the students, instructors and professors always look forward to training with the head of Flavio Behring Jiu-Jitsu USA.
We kicked off the weekend of intense Jiu-Jitsu training at Fluid Martial Arts Academy in Tempe, AZ. The first night of our training consisted of an amazing Rolling Session in which 30 individuals showed up to train. Everyone from the newest beginners to the highest ranking black belts were on the mat rolling with each other. With all four FBJJ AZ Schools represented, there was no doubt that this night would be one to remember. For many beginners, it was the first time they ever had an opportunity to roll with individuals from other academies. For the more experienced, it was a great opportunity to share their knowledge and skills with each other.
Professor Handley ran the rolling session in 16 5-minute rounds. The first 8 rounds were like most rolling sessions. Both people would start on their knees for space consideration and we would roll for the allotted time. Once time was up, we took a 40 second break and rotated around the room in a very organized manner. The next 8 rounds were designed to truly challenge us. This time, we were tasked to roll like before, with one exception, the person with the higher rank was required to put his/her hand in their belt while rolling. This element changed the game completely. Not only did it give one person an advantage over the other, but it also forced the higher ranked person to use their Jiu-Jitsu in different ways.
Saturday May 17th, 2014 (Morning Session) – Back to Basics!
The Saturday morning session covered a variety of lapel chokes from the back. To set the tone, we started with a self-defense technique against a forearm choke from behind. Every time Professor Handley comes out to Arizona, he reinforces the “Real” Jiu-jitsu by emphasizing the importance of truly being able to defend yourself; reminding everyone that Jiu-Jitsu is a “fighting” art, not just a sport.
The remainder of the morning session covered the proper application of 7 different lapel chokes from the back. These lapel chokes were taught in a progression that was based upon how someone might defend against them. While each choke led into the next, they were also demonstrated as stand-alone techniques, which allowed students to choose one that might work better for them than others. In addition, Professor Handley demonstrated many details that even the more experienced students were unaware of. While none of the chokes were completely new to them, many of the details were cleared up to allow for more precision within their application.
Saturday May 17th, 2014 (Afternoon Session) – Side Out!
After lunch, much of the team came back to the gym for a brief mat nap followed the afternoon session. We covered escapes from side control and passing the guard of those who are quick to recover. In addition, Professor Handley explained the concept of “Daylight, Flashlight, and Laser Beam” as he demonstrated one of the side escapes. Another concept that was emphasized was that of the high-risk/high-reward techniques. It was really an eye-opening experience for even the most senior students on the mat.
Sunday May 18th, 2014 – Back Again!
The third and final day of training covered back escapes. We started with a deceptively effective takedown that would set the tone for the rest of that day’s training. From there, we covered a variety of different methods of defending chokes from behind while escaping to side control. Once again, Professor Handley’s focus on details and precise movements helped to teach students real, effective ways of using their Jiu-Jitsu. By the end of the training session, everyone was extremely excited about the new details, techniques, concepts, and strategies that Professor Handley had taught over the weekend. They were anxious to get back to their academies, drill what they had learned, and make it their own.
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to train with thousands of black belts in a variety of different martial arts. I have attended seminars, participated in rolling and sparring sessions, had individuals come out and guest teach, taken countless private lessons and attended more group classes than I can count. With that in mind, every time I attend a seminar with Professor Handley, I literally feel like it is the best seminar/training session that I’ve ever been to. Each one seems to build off of the one before and I truly feel that he pays attention to our needs and addresses them accordingly.
Not only is the instruction at the highest level, but the positive influence Professor Handley has on all of those around him helps to promote the art in a way that can’t be explained. With his infectious smile, patience and detailed instruction, students of all levels, white belt to black belt, learn so much every time he is on the mat.
The feedback that I have received from students has been nothing but positive and so many are already talking about the next time they can train with the Professor. Since the seminar, our students have been consistently training and drilling the techniques and concepts that Professor Handley taught, allowing what they have learned to become a part of their own personal “Art of War”.
The seminar has helped to increase the motivation of all of the students and instructors, inspiring them to want to train and spread the art even more. It is that type of inspiration that makes training with FBJJUSA and Professor Handley so amazing.
And as if all of that wasn’t enough, I even got to experience rolling with Professor Handley for the first time. Needless to say, I was blown away…literally and figuratively. It was an experience I will never forget.