Price: $49.99; Runtime: Approximately 1 Hour.
FlowJitsu is the latest installment of Nic Gregoriades, author of The Black Belt Blueprint and co-founder of the Jiu-Jitsu Brotherhood. FlowJitsu contains a very healthy dose of conceptual instruction and features Professor Mike Bidwell of BJJ After 40. The goal of the instructional is to help BJJ practitioners learn effective JiuJitsu by understanding chains and sequences that flow together as opposed to a start/stop way of practicing. The idea here is to facilitate the use of concepts such as redirection and angular momentum in order to produce a flowing, more transitional element to your JiuJitsu practice.
FlowJitsu is set up in a series of 6 modules and takes the viewer through a series of chains that originate from the closed guard. From the very beginning, you are exposed to the ways to set attacks up by using the push and pull of your partner and taking the fight to where the momentum is leading you, as opposed to resisting and using strength.
The audio and video content are clear and crisp, but what I especially enjoyed was the way Mike Bidwell fervently demonstrated techniques. I have watched my share of instructional content where a demonstrator is demonstrating in the most soul-suckingly dry tone. Instructionals like FlowJitsu are a warm reminder that instructionals don’t have to be so matter of fact and boring. He speaks with great pitch, easily digestible rhythm and dare I say, flows well between the procedural instruction.
He appears to be happy to be teaching and showing what he knows. This is a stark contrast from other instructors who seem to look like they’re just trying to collect a paycheck and get out of the studio as quickly as possible. In this aspect, FlowJitsu is remarkably refreshing and it’s easy to stick with it.
Why it is useful:
As a brown belt, I was generally familiar with a lot of the techniques. If you are like me, with more than a few years of experience, you’ll likely benefit more from some of the unique details Bidwell adds to his descriptions. The “baby restraint” for example, provides another alternative choking set up from the popularized “seatbelt” position when on your opponent’s back. There were also some great details on the Kimura sweep from closed guard that I enjoyed and had never previously been exposed to in the last 6+ years of training.
Bonus utility: At the end of the instructional, there are some cool AF lapel chokes that had me chomping at the bit to try out. These are a little more advanced (ie: The Seppuku Choke) and I will likely have a lot of fun failing at them but I am excited!
The first day of sparring, it was a nogi sparring session and I did my best to utilize some of the details on the kimura sweep as they applied to NoGi. I should note that Bidwell does a great job of demonstrating the NoGi equivalents when appropriate. I was unable to get the sweeps proper, but the details I followed allowed for some other great finishes. This is important because a lot of JiuJitsu is taking in information, throwing it on the mats and finding out what sticks. Not all that you learn will stick, but if you learn something that helps facilitate your development in some indirectly related capacity, that’s a win!
The second day of live training had me trying some of the other mount attacks. Due to my recovering from a sprained knee, I have to avoid spending too much time in closed guard, but I had some good success with the mount attacks that are shown.
Full disclosure: I still have not landed the Seppuku choke, but I think that is more a testament to the level of my students and training partners than my own short-comings. Despite my own personal failure, I’ve had fun trying it out.
If you’re a beginner, it’s a great introduction to chaining events together. It’s a great how-to guide to move from one position to the next, albeit a little bit limited to a couple of positions. This is of course, more due to the fact that the instructional is only one hour. The never-ending expanse of JiuJitsu is hard to capture in one’s lifetime, let alone one hour, but the conceptual information you’ll derive from the content will transfer immensely to other positions if you open your mind to it.
If you’re a more advanced practitioner, maybe you already know how to chain attacks together. And maybe, you are already exposed to some of the techniques. That’s ok. I myself, as a brown belt, I was already familiar with stringing things along (however poorly) and I was familiar with a lot of the general positions and techniques that were covered. What I got most out of it, however, were a lot of really cool tricks and strategies to finish techniques that I was unfamiliar with.
Some of the details Bidwell provides are so incredibly unique that if you pay close attention, you’ll find yourself coming away with some pretty valuable insights that will help your training. In JiuJitsu, it is always important to keep an open mind and absorb every tidbit of knowledge we can get in order to always keep improving. Tiny details like the baby restraint and even looping your wrist through the lapel to set up the Ezekiel (you’ve really gotta see this) have already paid dividends for me.
Overall, Bidwell and Gregoriades have done a solid job putting this collaboration together. With such a profound emphasis on concepts such as not resisting, using momentum and redirection in order to set up attacks, it is easy to recommend this to my students and JiuJitsu practitioners who need a little extra help going with the JiuJitsu flow.