Sunday, January 01, 2017

Review - Beyond Technique 2 - Nic Gregoriades, Kit Dale

Beyond Technique 2; BJJ Concepts Evolved, by Kit Dale and Nic Gregoriades. 75 minutes approx. Available at

The Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood.

Beyond Technique 2 is a follow up to the Beyond Technique video, produced by the same two gentlemen in around the third quarter of 2014.

Beyond Technique (called BT1 here) approached Jiu Jitsu from a conceptual viewpoint, looking for overarching concepts which could be applied to multiple situations which arise in Jiu Jitsu, as opposed to practising and drilling individual techniques. Being able to develop and apply effective technique, tactics and strategy on the fly is the goal.

BT1 presented twenty strategies in a fifty five minute video, Nick and Kit presenting concepts more or less alternately, and demonstrating one or maybe two quick examples of each. That video fulfils its goals pretty well, but with an average of less than three minutes per concept that doesn't provide a lot of time for illustration of the concepts. Some of the concepts presented on that video were specific to particular positions and thus limited in scope, others pretty much applicable just about anywhere, and the latter set in particular could have benefited from more time spent on examples.

Arguably, one purpose of the DVD is to fire your imagination and think of ways to apply the concepts to your own Jiu Jitsu, and it largely met that goal, in my opinion. In my own experience, I could notice guys using these concepts while rolling, consciously or unconsciously, and I found ways to improve the effectiveness of specific techniques by consciously applying the concepts in my own training.

A write up of BT1 by a training bud of mine is here:

Sonny Brown MMA: Notes on Beyond Technique

The follow up video, BT2, presents four new concepts (though at least one is an improved version of one presented on BT1, as explained by the presenters), and provides longer explanations and comprehensive example of how to apply each concept.

Without giving the game away, the concepts are:

Foot Engagement

Keeping active feet and active toes in all positions, top and bottom. "Pocket Pressure", leglock defense, etc. If you can prevent your opponent engaging his feet correctly, you put him at a disadvantage.

Becoming Formless

An extension to "changing your shape". Denying your opponent opportunities and platforms upon which to apply force or resistance by constant movement, staying relaxed, moving around obstances or finding alternate paths around them. "Be water, my friend." Kit Dale's illustration of the application of this concept show it to be a lot less airy fairy than it sounds.

Strong Shape / Weak Shape

Good alignment, or structure, for the application of force or resistance, has the eyes/head, shoulders/arms, and hips/legs all pointing in the same direction, and including the aforementioned Foot Engagement. This is the "Strong Shape."

Getting the spine twisted, so the head, shoulders and hips all point in different directions, with disengaged feet, is the "Weak Shape."

You should actively try to maintain or recover the strong shape, while trying to put your opponent into the weak shape. This will give you a significant mechanical advantage over him. The leg drag pass is a great example of this.

"Force" the Position

Many trainees try to force specific techniques onto their opponent. What Kit does instead, when setting up a pass, is to try to immediately move to a stable position over his opponent, not too difficult to get, where he feels comfortable and safe. Rather than force a specific technique here, he has become so familiar with the position that whichever way the opponent moves, he has a way to capitalise on it.

So rather than rushing to pass, he tries to quickly get to that position. Once there, he is good to go.

My own coach, Anthony Lange, has a particularly good butterfly guard game. He'll just quickly pull that guard and sit there, waiting for you to pick up the rope and hang yourself.

There are a number of comprehensive examples of each concept provided by both gentlemen.

Nic Gregoriades demonstrates a half guard pass with a fair number of steps, in which he illustrates how and where three of the concepts can be applied, at several instances each during the pass, in particular how maintaining the strong shape yourself, while incrementally putting your opponent further and further into the weak shape, can make the pass way easier, more effective, and more difficult to resist.

Towards the end they roll for several minutes, each illustrating how and where they have applied each of the concepts at various places during an unscripted match.

My Take

These are a good set of concepts. Many of us will have seen them in glimpses before, though probably not as well articulated or conceptually developed as this.

The concepts are definitely immediately applicable to anyone's game. I look forward to experimenting with and applying all of them during my 2017 jiu jitsu sessions.

Customer Service

When I ordered the digital download, I was invited via a pop up window to purchase Mike Bidwell's (of BJJ After 40 fame) Flow Jitsu video at half price as well. Sounded good to me.

Both videos appeared on my order summary, but I only received a download link for BT2. Which I downloaded without problems.

I used the "Contact Us" message link and left a message explaining the problem with Flow Jitsu. This was at about 6pm on Christmas Eve.

Christmas morning there was a personal email from Nic Gregoriades apologising for the problem and another with the correct Flow Jitsu link, which once again I downloaded successfully. Result!

I will review Flow Jitsu in the near future.

From "The 48 Laws of Power" by Robert Greene. A perfect fit with this discussion.

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