When you purchase a Roy Dean DVD you know that you are not getting your average run of the mill instructional DVD that are on the market today by the sackful; sure they contain instructional chapters but I personally would not pigeon hole this release as a pure instructional due to the layout of his DVD’s. Roy’s other two releases do contain a number of chapters showcasing jiu jitsu techniques but they also contain snippets of Roy’s students undergoing belt tests, footage of seminar sessions and demonstrations of the grappling arts, which make for a more rounded DVD that offers both instructional and general grappling chapters, all of which should be of interest to grapplers of all levels.

In the Art of the Wrist Lock, the first DVD opens with a number of chapters where Roy outlines his martial arts career and arts that Roy has studied, together with nuggets of information on areas such as ‘learning to push’, ‘ranges of combat’ ‘on softness’ and a number of others. Roy describes his own perspectives on Aikido and his training in Jiu Jitsu and BJJ and he describes these as ‘flavours of jiu jitsu’ and goes on to discuss the physical attributes needed for the grappling arts and the importance of real resistance when training techniques. The techniques shown in the DVD’s are ones that have worked for Roy over the years in the grappling arts he has trained in over the years and is Roy’s own expression of jiu jitsu and how he has managed to integrate Aikido with jiu jitsu.

This is something I can indentify with, as my own background started with the traditional martial arts studying karate in the first instance and then moving onto traditional jiu jitsu; it was with traditional jiu jitsu that I was exposed to the wristlock in all its shapes and forms and also to the Basic 5 wristlocks, the shihonage and the kotegaeshi, all of which are on the first DVD.

Roy starts with the basic 5 (ikkyo, nikyo, sankyo, yonkyo and gokyo) and demonstrates all techniques from various entries such as arm grabs, lapel grabs and hand shake and then shows them against a resisting opponent. This section is more concerned with self defence applications of the wrist locks and shows finishing moves once the opponent is on the ground.

Shihonage or four corner throw is demonstrated from the ‘haymaker’ punch and Roy demonstrates the traditional Aikido entrance and then into the drop knee entrance more associated with jiu jitsu practitioners.

Kotegaeshi or wrist turn follows the shihonage and is my personal favourite wrist lock, having used this many times in live situations on the doors; starting from the traditional Aikido overhead strike, Roy shows a number of ways to catch the wrist and take your opponent down using the wrist turn. From the traditional ways, Roy shows ways of using the move from a clinch position and a two on one from the clinch, ending the move with submissions recognisable to all in the grappling arts.

The next chapter covers wristlocks in ground fighting situations and Roy demonstrates the gooseneck lock (Gokyo) from arm lock positions, the triangle choke and from side control and side control escape; Roy shows a very nice nikyo submission from the omoplata position that really impressed me; sankyo is shown from a rear choke position, reverse kimura position and a small adjustment into sankyo is shown when going to an arm bar. A kotegaeshi assisted scissor sweep gets the Roy Dean treatment and the chapter ends with kotegaeshi from knees, more a traditional look at the wristlock rather than a BJJ angle.

The DVD rounds off with a smart little chapter of demonstrations of various grappling arts; Aikido and Seibukan showcase applications of wrist locks and throws and also included is Roy’s first no gi win at Grapplers Quest 2000, where his opponent takes on Roy at his own game and tries to submit Roy with wristlocks! Only Roy’s years of Aikido training and skills at ukemi save his skin and he manages to win via armbar and serves as an eye opener for Roy even to this day. There follows a self defence demo from Roy and two small trailers, one for an Aikido club and one for Roy’s blue belt requirement DVD.

I personally enjoyed the Aikido demo’s due to coming from a traditional background, it’s always nice to see well practised and more the point realistic demonstrations, not the ones with masters in the middle of the mat and his student’s metres away being thrown in the air through the Sensei’s application of ‘chi’! Arguments rage on the internet about the efficacy of this art and that and in this DVD Roy has managed to bridge the Aikido/BJJ gap and shows the viewer that both arts can compliment each other and have their rightful places in the grappling umbrella and for this Roy gets a big thumbs up for bringing more attention to these arts and their applications both for BJJ and on the streets.

The second DVD is a collection of three seminars held at the Yosokan Dojo in Monterey, California, a morning and afternoon seminar session and a no gi seminar; in the first two seminars Roy covers basic BJJ techniques and also applies Aikido principles and techniques into the groundwork. Roy covers arm bars from the guard from various angles and defences and counters and a number of chokes from the guard, plus combinations and also demonstrates the clock choke coming off an Aikido takedown.

The afternoon seminar details standing wristlocks and combines these with BJJ groundwork and submissions demonstrated include the clock choke, crucifix and reverse kimura together with a few of the basic five wrist locks as seen in DVD 1. One nice move I enjoyed was a kotegaeshi takedown which transitioned into a head/arm triangle and also the Anaconda roll, a nice blend of Aikido into BJJ.

The second DVD rounds off with footage from the no gi seminar and Roy covers in details foot and leg locks, breaking the techniques down and showing correct entries and body angles and positions. A number of leg locks are shown together with the heel hook as well as defence and escapes, before giving as detailed account on the mechanics of submissions, which makes for essential viewing. The seminar footage rounds off with Roy asking the students for any special requests with regards to techniques and the students round off their session with words of encouragement from Roy.

The overriding theme in this DVD, which is seen in both the DVD’s, is the statement ‘discover who you are’ and through the martial arts, one is easily given this chance. Roy urges the viewer to go out and test themselves against resisting opponents, people who want to do the same thing you are trying to do to them; to go out and find good sparring partners and expert tuition; to go and test yourself in competition both on the mat and in the cage and to enjoy that experience to the full; to embark on a lifelong journey within the martial arts and find out more about yourself and who you really are.

Beats sitting around on the couch all day, don’t you think?

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