Jason Rau Impresses at Weekend Seminar
By Nick Mavrick
“Guys: Systems. It’s not a move. It’s a system, right?” This is what Professor Eliot said to close out this past weekend’s Jason Rau seminar at ETC Denver. He’s been saying a lot of things like this lately-concepts, not techniques. It’s putting yourself in a position and knowing what that position has to offer you in the way of offense, defense, and moving through the options smoothly. An example of this that everyone is familiar with is The Kimura Trap System. A system is what we got at Jason Rau’s clinic.
A very experienced room of 45 Easton savages from across several locations showed up Saturday afternoon to refine their games and gain a little insight from one of the East Coast’s really exciting young jiu jitsu up-and-comers. Professor Rau is a product of Matt Serra BJJ in New York.
If you’ve watched Professor Rau’s matches, you know that one way to characterize him on the mat is “calm.” The guy has ice in his veins. He seldom seems to get into any trouble and he barely looks like he’s broken a sweat when the smoke has cleared. He plays a very technical open guard game that portrays an absolute confidence in his ability to smoothly move from De La Riva to Anaconda to X Guard to Z Guard to Half Guard to Reverse De La Riva and on and on and on until something opens up. Systems. He is so confident in that dominating open guard that he seldom seems to shoot a takedown at all. He pulls guard or sits down and just goes to work.
If you haven’t looked him up on YouTube: I highly recommend it.
It would have come as a surprise to nobody if Jason had run us through open guard tactics and leg locks. What we got instead was a series of attacks from the Front Head Lock position when the opponent is in Turtle Guard. Finer details were in no short supply as Professor Rau started with a very tight guillotine choke that featured a subtle but effective change in head position from opposite shoulder tosame-side shoulder as your own choking arm. With this minor change, you are able to achieve a grip so deep that it is possible to almost completely bury your choking arm hand against your own chest-making hand-fighting and defense nearly impossible.
From there, he moved to a couple of very crafty back-takes, both of which were simple and intuitive. The second, perhaps my favorite technique of the day because it is one that I use often albeit significantly less artfully than Professor Rau, forced the guard-player to comply by putting the neck under pressure and forcing a roll.
Then came the Anaconda Choke. I have had some success with the Anaconda Choke and I think that it is a great technique, but of course, Professor Rau had some incredible insights to making it a higher-percentage finish. He doubled it up, of course, with the D’Arce Choke to round out the day.
Professor Rau is one of those guys who seems to “get it” naturally. His economy of movement and his laid back style on the mat are a pleasure to watch. He makes great use of his long legs and lean frame, so if you are someone with that type of body style (which I am)-his game is really one that you should take a look at.
In the coming weeks, look for your teammates to playing a bit more of this system of against Turtle Guard system and try to absorb as much of it as you can.
Having been an Easton BJJ member for as long as I have, I now realize how ridiculous it has been of me not to come to any weekend seminars in the past. We’ve hosted dozens of them! Of course, they do come at an added expense, but I would sincerely suggest that the next time one is announced: take a few minutes (or a couple of hours) and watch some footage of the visiting instructor. If he plays a game that is similar to your own or if he has instructional videos that fit neatly into your Jiu Jitsu style, consider saving up a few extra bucks to support these guys. This is a big part of how they make their living!