SBG Black Belt Cane Prevost was just one of the many black belts that were there to learn from one of the greatest bjj practitioners of all time Rickson Gracie.
Rickson Gracie’s skill and technical prowess have been widely touted but in actuality he is still able to blow the minds of even the most experienced teachers around him.
Matt Thornton is known in the BJJ world as the founder of Straight Blast Gym International, an association of over 35 gyms worldwide engaged in training athletes in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, boxing and mixed martial arts.
He is also well known in the martial arts community for his formulation and promotion of the concept of “aliveness” in training, as well as for being one of the first gyms to feature cross training in boxing and other fighting sports at the beginning of the growth of the sport of Mixed Martial Arts in the 1990s. He was among the first American-born practitioners to receive a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
One similar concept stemming from Rickson is the concept of Connection.
“At the Rickson Gracie seminar, I go into it with a mindset I’m probably gonna be standing by maybe the best jiu-jitsu practitioner of all time. ” Cane Provost describes it, adding ” He’s gonna be telling me something about jiu-jitsu that he thinks is profound, and I need to know. That’s the mindset I have going in. “
Of course attention to detail is important but there’s also something more to it:
“The way he taught was important because he didn’t give a lot of details. He didn’t talk about the angle of the foot or drop the shoulder here or make sure your elbow doesn’t flare out. He just you have to connect and he showed us a technique – connection is really important then he showed us some stuff. “
Once you feel a technique you will never forget it. Once you feel some of the basic positions lwith the perfected basic details (really it’s super advanced basics), it changes everything; it makes all your techniques work on another level.
It’s all about connection with your opponent; it is the small details like positioning, pressure, posture and the way you connect your body. Posture is everything in every position: mount, top, bottom, side control, guard; there is certain positioning that makes everything more effective. When you understand how to have connection with your opponent all your movements become so much more effective. It’s almost unbelievable how little effort it can take to do something.
Another SBG member added:
“Seminar was like a slow burn for me because I didn’t leave the seminar with kind of “I got it”! “
Many members of the SBH association including Provost look at bjj through Posture-Pressure-Possibility moto. However once you get a hold of the virtual connection, that’s where the magic happens.
“Rickson comes in and he doesn’t talk about this stuff. When he’s showing stuff he hardly even shows a lot of details about posture. He talks about how should the connection feel. The connection should feel this way. It was really interesting the way he talks about stuff. “
Once you zero in on the actual connection it really clicks:
“How you connect and attach to the other person. That is the thing. “