Thursday, March 19, 2015

DVD/Instructional Review: Lucas Lepri Championship Guard Passing

The guard passers I've studied the most are Gui Mendes and Lucas Lepri.
I've watched every available match/footage of them on the internet. Multiple times.

Early on, Rafael Lovato and his pressure passing and concept of fighting/getting to a starting or headquarters position had a big impact on how I look at the spaces/positions between techniques in Jiu-Jitsu.

Every month or so I take a few hours and go back and rewatch their passing games as they've evolved over the years.
I never fail to notice a bit more, or see smaller and smaller details in terms of how they may grip a leg, or how they may be setting up a pass, or hopefully, occasionally I pick up on a sense of HOW they combine their various guard passes.
There's a lot of intangibles in studying competition footage, however, I am a firm believer that you can pick up underlying subtleties and commonalities by soaking in footage.

My Rafael Lovato Pressure Passing DVD review has been a continual hit based on my traffic to this site, and it's high time I hit another DVD review.

Let me preface by saying I don't digest a lot of pure instructional material.
In fact, it takes me many sessions to digest just a couple moves or in this case guard passes.

It's a blessing in a curse to admit that I'm enamored with a particular competitor before I begin analyzing their content. I may have specific components of their game which I wish they would focus on, or perhaps it could sway me to resist the urge to criticize the content.

At any rate, here we go:
I've broken down my review into further sub sections and cheesily ranked them by belt color:
white belt - hardly worth watching or noting
blue belt - middle of the range. not bad but not great or good. passable is the best adjective here, often feels like a review with perhaps a few details you may normally gloss over.
brown belt - worth watching and noting, seems like some effort was made in this area and often has an "ah ha!" moment or clarifies a gray area for you.
black belt - excellent. top notch, about as good as you could expect or want.

Production Quality: black belt - looks good, clear audio, feels like you're sitting right there and watching Lucas explain the move/details to you.

Elaboration on Theory: white or blue belt at best. I'm a big "why?" person in understanding why a competitor prefers say being on top or pulling guard. I like to and really, honestly, need to know their why to better retain the information. This is not a knock on Lucas, but as cheesy as it sounds, some of the analogies Rafael Lovato Jr. used I can still remember almost verbatim in my head and that is the proof that it worked as an analogy. I can remember it something like a year or two later from one or two viewings.

Length/Number of Techniques: black belt - deals with open guard, DLR, closed guard, et cetera.

Depth of Explanation for Individual Techniques: black belt - good instruction, clear and easy to follow

Ease of Use in Rolling: brown belt 
Used several of the guard passes within a week or two digestion but prefer a system of techniques which chain together in a bit more obvious manner, again, I'm reminded of Lovato's instructional which really shined in that regard. 

Overall Rating: brown belt. I've learend a ton just by watching Lucas Lepri compete over the years, and it does have a greater dearth of techniques than the Lovato Pressure Passing system, but I have consistently used the information I got from Lovato's system over the years and will continue to use more than some of the guard passes I picked up from this DVD.

Let me be clear in saying that I can see other practitioners preferring this one to Lovato's due to the brevity of Lovato's which does feel short in comparison to the standard length/depth of a lot of instructionals out there. At any rate, if there's an underlying system to what Lucas does (which I'm sure there is as he is a 2x black belt world champion) a few moments to elaborate on that would have gone a long way. I'm an educator by trade and understanding the why is even more important to me than the how.

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