Jason Rau Delivers Again
Another Illuminating Seminar at ETC Denver 1/5/2019, by Nick Mavrick
Knowing Your Lineage
Picture your favorite training partner, your favorite teammate. Is this someone whom you have called “brother” or “sister?” I have many. They are all my brothers. They are all my sisters. We have been hearing a lot around the academies lately about lineage. Ours runs through Professor Easton, Professor Renzo Gracie, Professor Carlos Gracie Jr., and on up the tree. In this way, Jason Rau is our cousin (maybe second-cousin).
A member of the famed Danaher Death Squad, he came up under Matt Serra, a former training partner of Professor Easton at Renzo Gracie’s academy in New York City. Professor Jason has held seminars at ETC Denver before and there was an air of familiarity. He shook my hand like he remembered me (which was very gracious), but I knew better. I let him know that I would be taking some photographs again (read about his last visit here). This time, though I was healthy enough to participate! I was not disappointed. That dude is a ninja!
Again, about fifty white belts through black belts filled the cavernous facility and talked in excited tones about what the content of the 2-hour lesson might be. Would he be unveiling the leg locks that we all anticipated last January before being treated to details-rich presentation on front headlocks from the turtle position? Would we be re-visiting those guillotines and d’arce chokes? Whatever it was, I promised a few teammates who had not been there and had not brushed up on their Jason Rau YouTube research, it was going to be worth the afternoon.
Again, he did not disappoint.
Systems Within Systems; Improving Your Options From Everywhere
Do you have a smooth transition for taking the back from the top of side control? You would if you had been to Saturday’s seminar. What about using a mounted opponents own defensive efforts to swing
around to the back and sink that delicious RNC? No? Again: Saturday. Another nugget that we’ve been hearing about a lot (at least at the Denver Academy) is the Danaher Back Control System. Professor Jason Rau’s seminar was about how to get there from positions that you might consider already advantageous. If you know that your opponent has answers for your armbars and kimura attempts-well, you know the old saying from the Grand Master himself (Helio): “against the choke, there are no tough guys.”
Professor Rau showed a system of setting up grips from both side control and mount (the same grips) that, combined with economical and precise body repositioning, put you in a position to simply slide your opponent into your backmount. He used physical analogies to describe the motion like “pulling a rug out from under something. You don’t pull up. You pull out.” He likened the knee that he sneaks in behind the back and shoulders to a ramp up which you pull your opponent into your trap.
Improving Your Jiu Jitsu Fluency
My drilling partner, Littleton instructor Coach Gail Mosey, and I discussed the fact that we were passing on clear submissions to get to these positions but what we worked out was this: these techniques are for when your opponent has answers for all of your best stuff. It works out to exactly what Professor Eliot said at the end as he addressed the group: “you pick how you want to die. You go here? Fine. I’ll do this. You go there? Ok. Then I’ll do this…” (paraphrasing). It amounts to spending time on the mat learning more and more answers to the conversation that is a jiu jitsu match. It is about advancing your situation to one that is higher and higher-percentage in terms of your advantage and likelihood of submitting your opponent.
Many of us have techniques out of certain positions that include an answer to a defense, perhaps even a second. What I am finding is that positions are circular and that once you have been through all of the possibilities-you are often right back where you started.
Adding to your jiu jitsu lexicon, adding depth to your jiu jitsu “conversation” can only increase your odds of success. That is what is great about these seminars. A new perspective, a new way of hearing the words, a new physical focus on an already familiar position can only enhance the way that you understand the techniques in question.