Mastering the fundamentals in any given sport is the best way to get good fast when you are starting it out. In combat sports such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu it is crucial to not only understand the fundamentals but to be proficient because unlike tennis there is much more on the line than just points.
World renowned grappler Renato Migliaccio recently released a course called “Invincible Basics BJJ”. This course is centered on the basic fundamentals of BJJ and is broken down into four separate DVDs. I was afforded the opportunity to check out Renato’s course and I’ll take you through it and give you an idea of what I personally think about it.
DVD 1: Exercises and Throws
The first part of the first DVD is all designed around strength and conditioning for the athlete. I really enjoy how they take a crawl, walk, run technique to explain everything. They also start with the most basic techniques and work the way up to the more advanced. The DVD starts with some of the more basic calisthenics such as push ups, lunges, squats, etc. As the video progresses the calisthenics become more and more challenging. For example one of my favorite exercises they demonstrated are what I call Spiderman pushups. Once they finish with these exercises they move into sport specific motions such as break falls, shrimping, and bridges. These ensure you will be able to move properly for the rest of the moves shown throughout the DVDs.
After the conditioning portion we transition into our throws and takedowns. They are all very basic and easy to chain together but that’s a good thing for a beginner white belt or someone not so familiar with wrestling in judo. Some of the takedowns and throws they show are a single leg takedown, a double leg, a hip throw, shoulder throws, and head throws. I feel this DVD could have been longer and focused more on the nuances to the takedowns and throws instead of the calisthenics.
DVD 2: Escapes and Replacing the Guard
The second DVD is all about escapes and regaining your guard. This is probably the best things to learn when first learning BJJ as it is what the average white belt will be spending most of their time doing. They have some interesting ways to escape submissions that aren’t necessarily the traditional way to escape.
One such example is how he stands up to sit back in a triangle choke. When he sits back he places his feet in the opponents armpits and pushes away hard to break the grip. He also includes standard escapes such as escaping the triangle to double unders or stacking up the opponent in an armbar from guard. The combination of both allows the viewer to pick which ones they like which I really appreciate. He also goes over escapes from bad positions such as back control.
The second part of this DVD covers how to get back to your guard from a bad position. This is a crucial skill to develop for anyone who is interested in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu because you would rather have your opponent in your guard instead of on top of you in positions like side control. I like how it doesn’t show how to just get back to your full guard but it also shows how to improve the current guard you are in if your opponent messes up your positioning. My favorite one is how he shows to get back to a solid butterfly guard after being squashed down by your opponent.
DVD 3: The Guard- Sweeps and Submissions
The third DVD focuses on sweeps and submissions from the bottom. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is famous for fighting off of the back, a skill set not covered in other martial arts. Once again the crawl, walk, run method is used with first showing basic submissions such as kimuras and armbars, then he moves on to more advanced submissions such as omoplatas, and finally he moves onto submission chains which are a more advanced skill set. If you’re a guy who likes triangle chokes then you will love this DVD. He covers multiple triangle set ups and a lot of the chains all end in the triangle choke.
The next part covers sweeps from the bottom. These sweeps will enable you the ability to take top position after being on the bottom. The sweeps are very basic which will help newer grapplers learn the fundamentals of BJJ before diving into more advanced sweeps. Some of the sweeps he covers are the flower sweep, the knee wrap sweep, and the traditional butterfly sweep. He also shows the different options the fighter has if his sweep fails with a lot of them ending in a back take.
DVD 4: Top Position
The fourth and final DVD is all about the top game. Not only is he showing the techniques but also he goes into detail about how weight should be distributed in the positions which will only set you up for success and prevent you from being swept. These little details and nuances are often overlooked in most BJJ training DVDs. He starts off in the top of the closed guard and shows the basic knee in the tailbone escape. He progresses onto how to pass the guard and I particularly liked his set ups for the bull fighter pass and the knee cut pass.
Once you pass the guard he covers how to properly consolidate a strong side control and starts going into some of the finishes such as the straight arm lock. He continues to cover the mount position and covers some basic finishes from the mount like the Ezekiel choke and the arm bar. The Ezekiel choke is one of the best chokes for white belts to learn because not only is it really simple and easy to understand, It also is a high rate submission that can be done from almost every position.
After the mount he goes into the top turtle position and how to take the back. This is the only section in this DVD I didn’t like because I think he could’ve chose different back takes that might be easier to learn, My favorite set up from the back he shows is how to get a finish an armbar. This particular set up is crucial to have in your toolbox because people are so used to defending the choke that they often will give up the arm without realizing it.
Whether it’s your first day on the mats or you’re a seasoned black belt competing in world championships, you can’t go wrong with this course. We often overlook minor details in set ups and Renato’s course can fill in the gaps of our game with those little nuances. Personally I work on my fundamentals almost every day. If you end up purchasing the course let me know what you think about it and how well his techniques work for you!