Ever since I've started teaching class I've become more interested in seeing how to teach better. The first guy who came into my mind to show my how basics can be taught was "Trumpet" Dan Lukehart. Dan is a brown belt from Ralph Gracie team and has recently opened his own academy in the small city of Brea in Southern California.
How I learnt about Dan was though his youtube channel, where he used to do a lot of high quality breakdowns of Roger Gracie's game. As he was and is really into basics, he also opened a website www.grapplingbasics.com which has free quality instructional material on basic jiu jitsu. His teaching ability is really good and partly comes from the fact that he used to be a music teacher before he got into jiu jitsu. That is where the nickname also comes from..
I arrived 30 min early for and got to chat with Dan for a little while. The academy was really nice and new with a large mat area and chairs on the sides. What is also good (Europeans, don't take this for granted) was that they actually had showers as many academies in the US don't.
The class that I attended wasn't about basics, but on spider guard to De La Riva to berimbolo position with a deep De la Riva hook. This was something they had been practicing for a while at the academy (a good way to teach imo) but I tried to catch up. Luckily, I use the DLR a lot, so I managed to do ok.
The berimbolo position was done with a deep hook on which Dan commented that this is not the Mendes brothers way to do this technique (the use the shallow hook) but the Samuel Braga version. This is something that they did a lot, naming technique variations after certain competitors. If you look at some online material from the academy, you can see that they sometimes refer to things like Leandro Lo grips (against DLR) etc. This is just goes to show that Dan watches a lot of competition material and keeps himself updated on everything going on at the highest levels of competition.
Watching competitions and having idols that you root for (and want your technique to look like) has been really important for me in boosting my development and keeping my spark for jiu jitsu alive. I guess this is important in every sport. For example, when the Jamaicans have become very succesfull in sprinting there are a lot of kids on the island suddendly trying to become the next Usain Bolt.
When I look at a list of who I'd consider my idols, I notice that the things I try to do in sparring somewhat resembles what these guys actually do in competition. My all time idols are probably the following
We had a good amount of rolls after the techniques and the California (inland) heat was getting into me. What was different from what I am used to, is that a lot of the guys training there used both knees on the mat to initiate passing. What this does is that it doesn't allow me to play De La Riva against them. I went to spider instead and felt a bit lost.
I got to roll with Dan also. What was surprising, he was able to pressure pass into mount (one inch at a time) and finally cross choke me despite being lighter than me. This just goes to show that pressure is not about size.
What stood out at Brea Jiu Jitsu was how welcoming everybody was. Everybody was really talkative and wanted to roll with the Scandinavian stranger.
If you want to see more about the teaching methods at Brea Jiu Jitsu, check out the post below
Old post on Brea Jiu Jitsu