Tuesday, 17 January 2012

DVD review: Art of the Wristlock

Art of the Wristlock by Roy Dean Sensei is a very professionally put together instructional DVD. Roy Dean Sensei runs a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Oregon, America but also holds Dan Grades in Aikido, Judo and Seibukan Jujutsu. Thus Roy Dean is the complete package when it comes to the grappling arts of Japan and Brazil. It is this respect for and blending of both ancient and modern forms of Jujutsu that sets this DVD apart from other instructional DVDs I own. Disc 1 begins with Roy Dean’s own thoughts and philosophy on Jujutsu. This insight into the theory and application of Jujutsu from an instructor of Roy Dean’s experience and calibre is excellent and inspiring. A long time practitioner of Aikido, Roy Dean then began to explore the competitive world of grappling, namely through Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, testing his Jujutsu techniques and skills, honing them to become both practical and applicable for both competition and self-defence.
The wrist lock techniques on Disc 1 cover the Aikido techniques of Ikkyo, Nikyo, Sankyo, Yonkyo and Gokyo. Very similar techniques are found in Dentokan Aiki Jujutsu such as Shodan and Nidan, which relate to Ikkyo and Nikyo with the other Aikido techniques featuring in the Dan grade syllabus of Sandan and Yondan. The techniques are performed by Roy Dean in a traditional Japanese style dojo, which helps create an air of authenticity and professionalism to the quality of the DVD. I always find it especially inspiring to learn and train in a traditional Japanese setting. Roy Dean clearly explains the mechanics of the technique before demonstrating them first at a slow pace and then at a faster, more realistic pace. Thus this DVD is excellent for beginners to Jujutsu or Aikido.  Disc 1 also covers Shihonage (known in Dentokan Aiki Jujutsu as Nihonage) and Kotegaeshi. What sets this DVD apart is the nuances Roy brings to the techniques from Seibukan Jujutsu, showing Jujutsu variations to the techniques. There is much greater emphasis on the use of atemi's in traditional Jujutsu than in Aikido and these variations feel far more 'street' ready as a form of self-defence. I believe it is important to have a knowledge of all such variations for the different wrist lock techniques so that the Jujutsuka can apply them when and where appropriate, should they become necessary.
However, one of the best features of this DVD is Roy Dean’s own BJJ style variations of the wrist lock techniques for ground fighting. Dean is an experienced grappler having competed in many grappling contests where wrist locks are legal and demonstrates many of the techniques that he has had success with. Dean is an exceptionally innovative Jujutsuka and his development and adaptation of traditional Jujutsu wrist locks for ground fighting are inventive and effective. Bonus features on Disc 1 include several demonstrations of Aikido and Seibukan Jujutsu as well as trailers to his other BJJ DVDs. Particularly impressive from my perspective was Dean’s Seibukan Jujutsu Sandan demonstration.

Disc 2 features three seminars from the Yosokan Dojo in Monterey, California. The first two deals with aspects of Aikido principles and how they relate to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the third is a seminar on leg locks and foot locks. The seminars all feature Roy Dean teaching and selected footage of his students training. Roy is a good communicator and his instructions are easy to follow. What makes Roy such a good instructor is his attention to the mechanics of the technique, breaking each technique down into their component parts and then reconstructing them to demonstrate the technique as it should be executed. His teaching style is also very incremental in as far as he starts with a basic technique and builds upon that technique to incorporate variations and adding more complex elements to the technique in line with the skill level and competency of the class. My only criticism (if you can call it that) is that the third seminar on leg locks seems strangely out of place for a wrist lock DVD and while having an overall ‘game’ is very important, I couldn’t help but feel it would have been better suited to a BJJ instructional DVD instead.

Overall I was very impressed with the quality and production of this DVD. Roy Dean is the epitome of the total Jujutsuka and his example is a strong source of inspiration to me in my Jujutsu journey. His dedication and commitment to Jujutsu in all its facets as well as his passion to teach and guide others in the wonderful art of Jujutsu is outstanding and highly motivational. I highly recommend this DVD for those practising a traditional form of Jujutsu/Aikido, especially for beginners and even for those studying BJJ who want to have an ‘edge’ over their friends and opponents in their club.

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