Archive for Ryron Gracie

Gracie Survival Tactics – The Inside Scoop

Posted in Jiujitsu, Martial Arts, REVIEWS, Safety, Self-Defense, Teaching Topic, Training with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2016 by bradvaughn

The Non-Lethal Techniques Every Law Enforcement Officer Should Know

by Brandon T. Vaughn  01/06/16

GST - Group Pic GJJ

Over the years my position/role/career as a martial arts instructor has offered many opportunities and experiences that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. The most recent of which took place last month, November 16th through the 20th, and took me back to California, a place I first had the pleasure of visiting two years ago when I participated in the Gracie Academy Instructor Certification Program in 2013.

My second visit to California would also be connected to the [Gracie] Academy, only instead of Torrance, this time I would be going to Pleasanton, a suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area approximately 25 miles east of Oakland, CA. I decided to take advantage of a formal invitation to all CTC Certified Instructors to assist and participate in any upcoming Gracie Survival Tactics (GST) Instructor Certification Courses. Eager to get an inside look at this program only available to active or retired law enforcement and military personnel, and in desperate need of a vacation (even if it would be a working one) I jumped at the opportunity. I’m glad I did. It was an incredible opportunity to learn the GST curriculum first hand, meet some of my fellow CTC Instructors, and get some “mat time” with Ryron Gracie himself.

 

Adapting To Meet A Changing Climate

GST - Vaughn teaching 2For those of you who aren’t familiar with the program, Gracie Survival Tactics (GST) is the Gracie Academy’s Defensive Tactics Program for Military & Law Enforcement Personnel. Created by the Gracie Academy to meet the ever changing needs of their clients, the GST program is itself an amalgamation of two earlier combative/defensive tactics programs. Gracie Combatives, an intensive course based on the most effective techniques of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu developed for the United States Army, and G.R.A.P.P.L.E (Gracie Resisting Attack Procedures for Law Enforcement), a non-violent and court defensible program developed for police officers. Both of the aforementioned programs were originally developed by Rorion Gracie, eldest son of Gracie Jiu-jitsu founder Helio Gracie, and creative mind behind the UFC.

Since it’s inception Gracie Survival Tactics (GST) has been taught to countless Federal, State and International military and law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the Secret Service and the US Border Patrol. During my five days assisting with the GST Instructor Certification Program I was able to meet men and women from a wide range of agencies and hear many of their first hand accounts of situations that they have found themselves in while on duty. As well as some of their concerns with the level of self-defense training that their agencies currently have in place.

 

The Road To Certified GST Instructor

For law enforcement or military personnel (active or retired) wishing to learn Gracie Survival Tactics (GST) for their own continuing education, the complete 23 lesson course is available on www.GracieUniversity.com via online streaming video. However, if you are an officer wishing to implement the GST program at your department or agency the only way to do so is by completing the GST Instructor Certification (Level 1).

The Gracie Academy teaches anywhere from 5 to 10 of these instructor certification courses a year varying by location. Some are hosted by the Academy itself  at their main location in Torrance, CA while others are hosted by various agencies around the world or by individuals within those organizations. The particular course I volunteered to assist in was hosted by a member of the Pleasanton Police Department with the actual training sessions taking place in the gym of a local high school.

The week long course began at 8am Monday morning and started with Ryron Gracie giving a brief history of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, including its creation, their work with the US Army and the development of Gracie Combatives and how working with the military and law enforcement over the last 20 years led to the creation of the techniques that we would be learning over the next five days. He then moved seamlessly into the first of eight techniques that we would cover that day, setting the pace for the rest of the week. Ryron would teach a technique, using either myself or one of the other four instructors that were there to assist in the course, then when he was sure that everyone understood the technique he would release them to practice the technique with their partner. At this time the assistant instructors would walk around and observe the participants doing the techniques, offering feedback and making any necessary corrections.

Day two and three began with the class reviewing all the techniques that they had learned the day before while. After the review period, which lasted anywhere from 10-15 minutes, we would move on the block of techniques that would be taught that day. The training sessions ended with a series of fight simulation drills in which the participants would combine several techniques from previous sessions with the ones that they had just learned, thus building their muscle memory and making them more familiar with how the individual techniques can be used in any possible combination.

While the first three days were dedicated to the learning of the GST techniques, day four was dedicated to instructor training, where the participants learned the most effective ways to teach the GST techniques to their colleagues when they return to their individual agencies/departments. The fifth and final day of the course consisted of a final evaluation to test the participants overall comprehension of all the material covered during the previous four days.

The GST Advantage

GST - Vaughn teachingWhat sets Gracie Survival Tactics apart from other defense tactic programs currently being taught to law enforcement and military personnel is it’s lack of reliance on striking techniques (ie. punches and kicks) which may not be effective against an assailant who may be physically larger or stronger or who may be under the influence of a substance that dampens their ability to feel pain. Instead, all the techniques in the GST program are based on leverage, timing, and efficient use of energy. This means the techniques can be employed effectively regardless of gender, size or athletic ability.

With the number of fatal police shootings reported to be nearing 400 nationwide in 2015, and allegations of excessive force at an all time high, GST provides law enforcement officers with a much needed alternative to relying solely on their firearm or secondary tools (ie. baton, stun gun, pepper spray) in situations where the use of deadly force could have possibly been avoided. The GST curriculum also address the high rate of instance where law enforcement officers are shot in the line of duty by an assailant using the officer’s own firearm by including weapon retention techniques in the curriculum as well as a variety of effective techniques that allow an officer to get back to their feet and create distance in the event that they end up on the ground underneath an assailant.

 

A Fear Of Change

With a seemingly endless list of benefits and advantages, it’s hard to imagine that all law enforcement agencies aren’t already taking part in the Gracie Survival Tactics program.

From conversations I had with some of the men and women participating in the GST Level 1 Instructor Certification Course, I learned that one obstacle the newly certified instructors will encounter when trying to implement the program in their own department may be the very officers that they are trying to help.

Whether it stems from an over reliance on the tools they have at their disposal or the lack of continued fitness requirements after they graduate from the academy, some officers seem resistant to any self-defense training outside what is mandated annually by their state. When you consider that 40% of officers that are shot in the line of duty are done so with their own weapon, it would seem that all law enforcement officers would be eager to learn any technique that, would not only teach them how to retain their weapon, but also how to subdue a suspect without the use of their firearm or auxiliary weapons.

Another obstacle that new GST Instructors may have to deal with is a natural resistance to change. Either from the administration or from their department’s defensive tactics instructor, in the event that the GST Instructor doesn’t also serve that role. Strategies on how to address these and other common concerns are included in the support materials that each course participant receives on the final day of training.

GST - Group Pic Sm

 

Final Thoughts

Gracie Survival Tactics is quickly proving itself to be not only a valuable resource for law enforcement officers, but to military personnel as well. As I am writing this article, the United Nations Security Service has become the most recent agency to adopt Gracie Survival Tactics.

My experience at the GST Level 1 Instructor Certification Course in Pleasanton, CA was like nothing I have experienced before and I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to not only assist, but to participate in the training as well. As a martial arts instructor I’ve had the opportunity to teach students of all ages how to defend themselves. Even if learning self-defense was not their primary reason for enrolling, it was still a skill they acquired while working towards whatever their personal goals were. Having said that, I have to admit that there was something exceedly rewarding about working with individuals that will most likely be using the techniques you are teaching them a regular basis.

Brandon Vaughn

Certified GJJ CTC Instructor

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Training Tip | By: Ryron Gracie

Posted in Jiujitsu, Training with tags , , , , , on May 14, 2013 by Combative Corner

Ryron Gracie - Gracie JiuJitsuProblem:

Your favorite submission is not working as often as you would like.

Answer:

  • Most people attack with their best submission first.
  • Most often the submission you attempt first does not work.
  • Start attacking all the submissions that are not your favorite.
  • Your opponent has no idea that you do not like those submissions.
  • Use the submissions that are not your favorite to disguise your favorite.
  • Take the submission your opponent gives you.

Ryron Gracie

GracieAcademy.Com

Happy New Year Everyone!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 31, 2012 by Combative Corner

New Year 2013

CombativeCorner.Com hopes that everyone has enjoyed our articles, interviews and our daily quotes (twitter/facebook).  Please let us know if there is anything you feel that we can improve on.  Our aim continues to be in providing top-notch articles and interviews pertaining to the development of the “complete martial artist.”  Between us, your own personal training and your teachers/instructors, we hope that grown considerably this past year.

Drop us a line anytime – here or in our Facebook Group and let us know how we’ve helped.

Have fun tonight, STAY SAFE… and gear up for an exciting New Year in 2013!

Sincerely,

The CombativeCorner Crew

Above Image Courtesy of: VideoHive.Com

If you haven’t already, check out some of the amazing interviews we’ve done in 2012: Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming, Megumi Fujii, and Ryron Gracie (to name a few!)

 

Sport Jiu-Jitsu, Combat Jiu-Jitsu and Attitude

Posted in Discussion Question, Jiujitsu, Miscellaneous, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2012 by chencenter

There was a lot said and a lot of opinions expressed after the 20 minute long jiu-jitsu match between Andre Galvao and Ryron Gracie.  One of the best quotes came via Rener Gracie’s tweet/instagram:

“I don’t know why Andre was so upset… I can’t tap Ryron either and I’ve been trying for 28 years.”

The fact is: There are different types of jiu-jitsu being played.  Players of jiu-jitsu have different motivations for taking up the martial art… And there are also different approaches to the art.  When jiu-jitsu becomes a spectator sport, is there or should there be one kind?  Some say yes.  I certainly say, no.

Watching Ryron (in the match above) reminded me of boxer Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker in his prime.  Whitaker was a masterful, defensive boxer that many fans disliked watching.  Those that knew boxing saw genius and couldn’t look away.  There is an obvious genius in Ryron’s game, mixing outstanding defensive maneuvering and thoughtful attack.

After the allotted time was over, Andre spoke with commentator Rener Gracie and spoke his mind.  Many were disappointed over his lack of humility, and although I didn’t care for it, I found it understandable.  Andre is a person whose drive is competition and he was up against someone whose drive is to “Keep it Playful.”  Even though Ryron had it in him to win (submission only), his nature, training and goal was to show HIS jiu-jitsu – that is to say, his family’s jiu-jitsu.

Andre said (wanting to set up a rematch), “…I could set up a fight on my rules and see who wins.”  And although “the rules” are unclear, the fact remains that a submission was never achieved (which reminds me of the famous Helio quote, “If you don’t lose, you win.”).  But my personal thought is this, “Everyone has their arena.”  Those that want tournament style can join or watch the tournaments.  Those who want to test their might in the arena of fighting can join the UFC.  But if you want to test your jiu-jitsu – the way YOU play jiu-jitsu – this event was such a platform and I am looking forward to watching more.

I can’t wait.

I’d like to leave you with the words of my friend and jiu-jitsu extraordinaire, Ari Bolden who said (in regard to this event),

“Jiu Jitsu isn’t some philosophical concept that is to be debated over and over on Internet forums (like that means anything at all). You DO it. You live it. It makes you a better person.”

Michael Joyce

Golden Thread Workshops, NC

RELATED POST:

Keith Owen’s Blog: From The Ground Up: Metamorphis

10 Questions with Ryron Gracie

Posted in 10 Questions, Jiujitsu, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2012 by Combative Corner

The CombativeCorner got to talk with @GracieBrother, Ryron the other day and answer our questions (and yours!)

If you don’t know Ryron by now (We won’t ask you where you’ve been), but please take a listen to this interview.  In it, Ryron answers such questions as:

  • Is there a secret to being “un-submittable?”  [7:35]
  • What is Ryron’s Top 5 Techniques?  [12:41]
  • Starting Jiu-Jitsu Late in Life? [27:12]
  • Who would You Fight? Bonus Q [31:42]

Also, let us know who you’d like us to interview in the future, and what questions you have for him or her.

For our Master List, go here.

Ryron and Rener can be reached via GracieAcademy.Com, on their YouTube Channel or on Twitter @GracieBrothers

For more from The CombativeCorner, click the links below.

 

 

 

RELATED POSTS:

SECRET TO GRACIE JIU JITSU MASTERY

10 QUESTIONS WITH RENER GRACIE

JOURNEY TO BLUE BELT IN GJJ

 

 

The Gracie’s “Women Empowered” Course

Posted in Products, REVIEWS, Self-Defense, Training with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2011 by chencenter

It arrived the Summer of 2011… and finally the world has a women’s self-defense curriculum that not only is presented in a fun and energetic manner, but one that covers the wide array of violent situations with quality instruction and the attention-to-detail that the Gracies give time-and-time-again.  This review is intended to be “no-holds-barred” and will give the reader not only the strengths but weaknesses of this dvd series from both the viewpoint of a professional self-defense coach and from a beginning student. 

{Michael in off-white, Jenny’s comments in green}

Δ

Before I dive into the meat of the series – and what a succulent morsel it is – let me begin by saying that the roster is beyond exceptional in that they include two wonderful examples of “Women Empowered” in Eve Marie Torres and Sage Gracie.  Their comments are invaluable in both helping the beginner understand the pitfalls and difficulties common when anyone begins a training program and the fact they they are women helps to reinforce the female viewers that the techniques can be done effectively with the natural, inherent strength that all women possess.  Ryron & Rener (and later, Ralek) provide most of the technical advice as well as providing answers to common mistakes & questions from students they’ve had in previous classes.

After popping in the first disc and hearing them welcome you with such openness and sincerity… it’s easy to not only get excited about learning, but excited about DOING… which is (or should be) the most important characteristic of ANY learning series.

Rener Gracie is like the self-defense version of Tony Robbins.  He is so motivating and as he moves and makes some of the most interesting facial expressions, you can’t help but to have more focused energy on the task at-hand –  learning self-defense!

Δ

DISC ONE (BASE, RELEASES, TRAP & ROLL)

DISC ONE really gets the ball rolling by discussing the enemy (strangers/non-strangers) and the “Triangle of Victimization.”  What was a pleasant surprise to me and something I deem a necessity (in teaching self-defense) a strong emphasis on what the Gracies call the “Base Get-Up.”  Balance is crucial in self-defense and nothing rattles/confounds a woman more (initially) knocking her off balance.  (Regarding the “Base Get-Up) In the words of Eve, “It is not the most lady-like, but it IS the safest.”  The most important thing to take (after viewing) is that you shouldn’t expect to have the technique when you need it most if you don’t use it in everyday life.  Learn the “Base Get-Up”, train it and make it an organic part of your movement.

Having the women perform the techniques gives the viewer relatibility and identification in the movements.  In terms of video, every so often the camera would zoom in on a specific body part during the techniques which is extremely helpful for the student viewer.

DISC TWO (CHOKE, SUPER SLAP, GUARD GET-UP)

Again, the Gracies begin at the beginning, and add what many instructionals (books, dvds, etc.) leave out; how to prepare your body for an attack.  In this case, tensing your neck muscles in order to resist the pressure on your windpipe.  There are some pros and cons when it comes to the “Super Slap” (endnote 2.1), however, (as someone who has taught women’s self-defense for over a decade) I can see why they choose this approach.  Regarding the remainder of the disc, you receive what Rener & Ryron consider one of the most important (if not THE most important) technique of the entire series… the Guard Get-Up.  A great deal of fear comes when your assailant has you on the ground.  In this gem of a technique, the Gracie brothers show the viewer not only show an effective and energy efficient escape, but distraction techniques (i.e. Super Slap) and distance builders (as pictured to the left).

The front choke defense and guard get-up feel very practical.  The guard get-up is my favorite because it provides hope when you are in a panic-causing position whereby the predator is between your legs.  When this happens, this technique is very useful.

DISC THREE (FRAME, T & R EXTRAS, GET-UP EXTRAS, TRIANGLE CHOKE)

In this disc, the viewer/practitioner (having 6 lessons under their belt) really begins to learn that what might have worked in one scenario, might not work in another.  In self-protection, variables change and it’s very important that the student knows not only how to remain relaxed/confident in their actions but also how to recognize when something doesn’t work.  Beginning with the Stop-Block-Frame, this disc offers the viewer a sturdy support system for any attacker that encroaches within your personal boundary.    In three distinct “slices”, the Gracies effectively show the student, first, personal defense with the attacker outside of arm’s length.  “Slice 2” covers how to “Brace & Base” when the attacker makes contact, and finally (slice 3) shows “The Frame” technique (for those persistent buggers who won’t take a hint).  *It should be noted (in my opinion) that the Stop-Block-Frame is somewhat flawed (see End Notes).

Lesson 8 & 9, however, is endorsed with the highest enthusiasm.  There are many variations of techniques in the self-defense world, but when an attacker (for example) mounts his victim but is supporting his weight strongly with his arms or (possibly a scarier & more common scenario)… he’s pinned your wrists!  What do you do?  Again, these “Extras” are perfectly placed to optimize peak performance and diminish the “quicksand” that many self-defense professionals call “The Fear Loop.”  The disc ends with a popular jiu-jitsu technique known as the Triangle Choke, which utilizes the strongest asset a woman has (her legs) against the attacker’s neck.  The ability to render your attacker unconscious is bound to empower the female viewer to new heights.


Lessons 7-10 are fun techniques.  What makes this dvd set so thrilling to own is that it provides tools for almost any situation.  (If not exactly, there is something adaptable).  Whether you are in a tight space or in the middle of a parking lot, the teachers will instruct you on how to use the technique according to the scenario and what techniques to use for the different types of attacks.  Once you are successfully “proficient” on all the moves, you will be much more confident about yourself and your ability to defend against an attacker.  (Then, it’s off to Disc 5 where you can earn a Gracie Pink Belt!)

DISC FOUR (HAIR GRAB, GUILLOTINE, ELBOW ESCAPE, REAR ATTACK DEFENSE, WEAPONS)

Just when you though things couldn’t get more interesting, more empowering, the Gracies give you lessons 11-15.  As viewers… we are introduced to another Gracie, Ralek.  In this disk, the student is introduced to many of the “more challenging” situations; specifically the hair grab, attacks from behind, and attacks involving weapons.  In the world of self-protection there are numerous techniques, many of which are too difficult/complex to pull off in a high-pressure situation – NOT SO in the Gracie curriculum.  First and foremost, they present two important statements that every woman must take to heart:

  1. Those who use a weapon, normally will use as intimidation. (Usually to move you to a secondary/more isolated location)
  2. Don’t ever let them take you to a secondary/more isolated location!  (weapon or no weapon)

An important aspect however, that is rarely touched upon in weapon defense is what we should do (or expect to do) if we manage to disarm our opponent [see endnotes].

The guillotine chock happens to be one of my favorite moves.  Perhaps because I am always able to use it when my husband and I practice self-defense and other times when we are play-wrestling.  For some reason, he loves to go head first into me and then that’s when I pull the choke.  All the other moves are also fun, but are not quite as easy to perfect as this one.

DISC FIVE (PINK BELT QUALIFICATION TEST)

In this disc, the Gracies explain that (if you so choose) after reaching a solid foundation regarding the mastery of these techniques, you may want to make a qualifying video of yourself to be evaluated by one of the Gracie instructors themselves.  Not only will you be rewarded a pink belt if pass the test, but (pass or fail) you will be given a review sheet of comments and areas that need more work.  With or without this step, the Gracie family sincerely wants to help keep women safe; and to be evaluated on your performance of the techniques is just one of the ways in which you’ll feel more empowered and capable of handling any future situation that you may (but hopefully may not) confront.

DISC SIX (TOTAL EMPOWERMENT TALKS)

One of the most beneficial aspects of any program resides in connectivity.  The message and depth of knowledge aside, our ability to “connect,” relate and understand what women go through and may have to go through at some point in their life is (not to overuse the word) Empowering – but also comforting and reassuring.  You may listen to these talks at any point in your training and segments of these are offered for free on the Gracie’s YouTube channel.

Links :

Get the Women Empowerment Dvd Course and you’ll also receive two additional talks not found on YouTube entitled, Street Smarts and The College Talk; two very important additions.

DVD SERIES CONCLUSION

There is absolutely nothing like this on the market today (in my opinion).  The presenters are not only young and fun, but have a deep knowledge-base and can communicate their thoughts brilliantly.  Speaking from personal experience as a self-defense coach (and primarily a “Women’s Self-Defense” coach at that), I can say with 100% certainty that the lessons in this dvd series will not only empower you, but will serve as a wonderful foundation for future study in jiu-jitsu or any other martial art you undertake.  Also, and most importantly, the techniques (if you diligently practice them) could one day save your life!

 Buy your copy today by clicking on the picture to the left or below.

The Gracie self defense program, Women Empowered, is a good foundation for learning self defense. The teaching is enthusiastic and easy to follow with funny metaphors and clear imagery to help learn the step-by-step techniques. The program not only teaches you how to do a move for escape, but also demonstrates common moves that are incorrect and weak.

Δ

END NOTES:  WEAKNESSES IN THE PROGRAM

We’ve discussed the Pros of the program, which are almost too numerous to mention in one review.  Here are the Cons:

CALLING FOR HELP

The dvd is technique oriented and will surely empower any woman who decides to actively participate in the drills.  And although the Gracies discuss the emotional and psychological aspects of attack, they forget to mention that while these techniques are being applied, you can (and likely, should) be screaming for help!  While you should never rely on help, you can always improve your chance for survival (and of scaring your attacker) by vocalizing and making both your location and distress heard.

TAKING A HIT

Men are fairly comfortable with physicality.  Women are not.  I’ve always believed that it is valuable (at least) to mention of the inevitability of physical (and/or emotional) pain.  Perhaps this is not what the Gracies had in mind in this “Essential” DVD set, but (in my opinion & Jenny’s) training drills involving more realistic physicality will enable the student to be better prepared for the violence that could come their way.  [Obviously this can and should be done safely with the use of pads (at least at first)]

I feel the Gracies should’ve emphasized the times where it is inevitable that you will get punched, feel pressure, and such. To complement that discussion should be a lesson or a reminder through every move taught to do movements that include protecting the face and center-line.

HIGH-HEELED SHOES

Rener and his brother discuss high-heeled shoes when standing. They explain that high-heeled shoes will hinder the stand-up techniques because they hinder balance and should therefore not be used during training. I would question this because women are usually taught to wear a new pair of high-heeled shoes, especially tall ones, around the house to get used to it. Soon enough, a girl could even run in those shoes, even though it’s not good for you. So if a girl can turn a pair of heels into an extension of their feet, why not train a little bit in heels for the stand-up techniques instead of not at all? At least then the training would be realistic in the situation a women might be in for attacks. The reality is, a lot, if not all, women wear heels. Why not avoid going to the ground with the attacker by not letting the heels prevent you from escape?

HAIR-PULL TECHNIQUES

Also, the hair pulling techniques seem like only a way to prolong the process.  Why not strike, claw and dig if both hands are free?  Also, the head tends to rear back when hair is pulled (this is obvious).   The video should (in my opinion) adjust the training to deal with more naturalistic human responses.

WEAPONS

The question is left open and would be helpful if it were answered, and that is: “What do we do (or expect to do) if the technique works [we disarm the gun/knife].”  I know as a self-defense coach myself, there is all sorts of liability issues with giving advice on these highly-dangerous scenarios, however, these aspects (especially in your basic course) should be touched on.  If weapons are involved, when do we run?  At what range or in what situation is it best to run?  If we get the gun/knife, do we simply threaten to shoot & call the cops or do we place a round in his kneecap?  If the need arises, where is the best place to shoot?  Do you advocate that your Women Empowered ladies learn or take a separate course on gun training and safety?  With this being said, I must commend Sage Gracie as she states plainly after executing an example of the “Armbar” (Arm break/lock), “Make sure you break the arm.”  This is a saving grace to the lesson as it had appeared (to both Jenny and myself) that the student would simply hold/ask them to drop the weapon.  In self-defense, do not give the attacker that level of mercy.

Emphasis is placed on technique, which is only one (albeit large) piece of the puzzle.  Rener says several times in the last lesson, “(When/If you gain control of the weapon) The choice is YOURS.”  And it is!  But what ARE your choices?  In the Mindset Minute, he leaves you with only a partial answer to this question.  He says, “Know one thing, break distances or do something to ensure he doesn’t take it (the weapon) back and use it on you.”  This is true.  But as a coach wishing to give my students ALL available information, I’d want to make sure they know all the available options.

Coach Michael Joyce

Assisted by beginning student and wife, Jennifer Pruna Joyce

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*Michael Joyce is the owner and head instructor of the ChenCenter & the Golden Thread Workshops in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where he has lived and taught for over a decade.  Jennifer Pruna Joyce is Coach Joyce’s wife and is an aspiring writer & photographer who has recently graduated from Appalachian State University  and is just now learning the skills necessary to be proficient in self-protection. 

A New Passion : Gracie JiuJitsu

Posted in Jiujitsu, Martial Arts, Styles with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2011 by chencenter

Fellow writer and martial artist Brad Vaughn and I recently returned from Norfolk, Virginia – where we were able to meet and train with Jiu-Jitsu extraordinaire and master-teacher, Ryron Gracie.

Needless-to-say, we learned a lot – but what I didn’t really count on was just how attached I would grow to this art – specifically, the way that Ryron presented it.

Being a “Taiji man” myself, I’m always eager to find strength through any means other than pure, physical force.  It became clear, after watching Ryron roll with several of the students that Gracie Jiu-jitsu is very much, a form of “Taijiquan for the ground.”

Many times throughout the lecture, Ryron would mention the word “Flow.”  Gracie Jujitsu is about efficiency and being able to both read your opponent and adapt to the changes, in a natural way.

In college, I was able to learn from a guy who knew Sambo, and after wrestling with him for several semesters, I felt very strong on the ground.  Little did I know that when I would start to grapple with someone with more “technical” skills (namely, someone well-versed in the basics of the Gracie system), I would find holes in my game.

With Ryron, there was a deep sense of “playful practice” – that your opponent is there – not to be necessarily, an “obstacle to overcome” (and possibly become discouraged by), but a partner eager to make you a better practitioner.  [Isn’t that what it’s all about?]

Many schools are filled with students (and I’ve scrapped with a few in my young life) who are bent on “besting” you in each and every encounter.

Ryron’s suggestion to us-

“Get tapped out 10 times every day.”  

It’s not just about staying humble, it’s about becoming sensitive to every situation and bringing something into your practice that causes you to learn – to better yourself.

Brandon Vaughn (his profile) is currently a blue belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and is helping to me (my profile) to reach a blue belt of my very own through the Gracie’s, Gracie University.  I only wish there was more time in a day!  Because I would fill it with many hours of exultant practice.

Michael Joyce & Brandon Vaughn

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