So yesterday I attended my forth Marc Walder seminar. I always get excited when attending his classes, because he brings a wealth of knowledge from both a physical and a mental standpoint. His understanding of Jiu-Jitsu is always enlightening. Anyone that has met him will tell you the very same.
The class was simple. We warmed up with a little shrimp drill. Shrimp from your back, then shrimp from your elbow and finally shrimp from your arm out behind you to a seated position. These are all positions and movements you’re encouraged to use when you spar, however I’ve never seen it delivered in this way before. Stupidly simple, but very good.
I’ll not go into the finer details of the sweep or guard passing that we covered today, because A) I often feel my writing is poor when trying to describe BJJ and B) I can’t be bothered. The main thing is, I’ve got my own notes so I remember them. POW!
What I will say though is that the passes we covered were very effective, once you wrapped your head around them. There was a flatten out pass, a knee slice pass and a counter to the counter of the knee slice pass. Great stuff.
At the end of a seminar, Marc takes an open forum approach which allows people to ask whatever they want. This was a bit more muted than normal, but I had no burning questions, so who am I to criticise?
One thing Marc will always drive home is the importance of rolling at the correct pace. There are three ways to spar in his eyes. The first is tough, with the objective to shut down your opponent’s game. A lot of people have this as their go to, because they’re afraid to end up in bad positions.
The second is a flow style roll, where you try and go at 10% and see where you end up. You might end up in bad positions, or even get tapped but you should be analizing why that happened so that you can better deal with it the future.
The third and final way is the hybrid style. Flow between positions, whilst shutting down your opponent as best you can. Try to defend and attack at the same time. This is what the black belts tend to do. They’ll roll easily between positions, without leaving gaps, and delivering what can only be described as a general tightness.
Marc’s a firm believer in leaving your ego at the door. He rolls at your pace, and can adjust his game to suit your abilities. With this, I think he’s able to get the best out of people. He demonstrated at the end by rolling with a few people. Some were confused by his approach, and as to whether he was setting them up for some sort of sneak attack, but that’s just not the sort of person he is. Once you conquer your nerves and get stuck in, it quickly turns into a fun roll.
Having met him three times before, I no longer get nervous around his enigmatic black belt presence. He’s far too nice and chilled a guy to be intimidated by. It’s one thing knowing he can kick your arse on the mats, but it’s another knowing he just won’t. It’s just not who he is. He’s a man with a shotgun in his backpack, and no need to use it.
He ushered me to roll. Everything I’ve just said before has gone out the window. This bastard is about to take my arm home with him, and there’s nothing I can do about it! I approach, cautiously as he takes his grips ready to tear me apart.
I jest, we had a very fun roll with opportunities from each of us throughout. I’m only a blue belt, but he allowed me to try and work whatever the hell it was I was trying to do. At one point I took his back for almost a whole second. I think I tried a sloppy armbar, he tried a triangle that I postured out of, but there was no real urgency or determination to kill one another. We were just having fun, and exploring this brilliant sport.
It’s something that’s mentioned all the time, but what other sports allow you to do this? I’m not a football (soccer) man, but I’ve basically just played football with Lionel Messi, or someone similar. How wild is that? It’s baffling that we’re able to do this. I fucking love this sport.
If you ever get the chance to attend one of Marc’s seminars, please don’t pass up the opportunity. He’s incredible, and you will walk away with a refreshed outlook on the art itself. I know this because I have been in a funk far too many times to count, only to come away from one of his seminars with direction again. Sometimes a little guidance is all you need, because you’re not always on the straightest path to achieving your goals, whether it be injury, flexibility, how you learn, etc. We’re all different in this sport, but one thing we share is our adaptability to the sport. That’s a little corny, but you get my drift.