DVD Review: Bill “The Grill” Cooper Escapes!

Bill Cooper is one of the top American BJJ black belts; he is under Ricardo “Franjinha” Miller training with Team Paragon BJJ.

This DVD is primarily about escapes; the escapes that Bill teaches are shown with a transition to a dominant position or a submission of your own.  He starts off stuck in a submission and proceeds to make his opponent pay for it.  He explains every escape in full, twice.  Each explanation would stand alone with enough detail for you to understand the move.  At first this threw me off, I kept thinking he was going to show a different technique.  After I caught on to this, it was nice because I would listen for little differences and pick up smaller details.  After the double explanation, each move is shown with a few different angles.

This DVD is a nice break from most of the BJJ DVDs that I have because it focuses on defense.  It seems like there are a lot of DVDs that show you submissions and sweeps, but the defense aspect is often lacking.  For that reason alone I like having this DVD in my BJJ library.

What is on the DVD?  Like the name says, Bill shows escapes and not the basic ones everyone has already seen.  He is not showing the common mistakes that may have gotten you in this submission or bad position.  He is not showing you how to play it safe and not make mistakes.  He shows the techniques that he likes to use when he is in a bad spot.  Most of the escapes end in a submission of your own, if not you will at least end up dominant.

He shows escapes for:  Armbar X4, Triangle X3, Rear naked choke X2, Omo plata X1, Back X4, Crucifix X3, Body triangle X2, Leglock X5, Guillotine X1, Shaolin (Darce) X4.  The DVD is 86 Min, with a little bonus footage of him on “Rolled up”.

The most common submission he shows after his escape is the Darce choke.  If you like the Darce choke I am sure you will pick up a few new tips.

What I got out of it.  I learned a lot of cool escapes that I have never seen before.  I am still at the place where I am happy to break free from the submission.  I would happily transition to an attack but that seems easier said than done.  Also I did pick up some good details on finishing some submissions.  The two techniques that I really liked the most are the “bigfoot” triangle escape and the “sewer escape” for the guillotine.

I would recommend this DVD.  I would say this DVD is great for anyone blue belt and above.  The escapes shown are not your basic and standard escapes.  I think white belts are better off learning the basic escapes and adding these techniques later.  There are also a few submissions that he assumes that you understand, again blue belt and above will be fine.  The DVD is all no-gi, but most of the techniques will work for BJJ.  If you get this DVD I recommend starting from some of these bad spots while rolling, that way you can be sure to work the new techniques into your game.


Bill Cooper Highlight

I go my DVD at Budovidoes.com

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Take the Staff

After many years of hard training at the two Shaolin Monks are approaching a milestone in their martial arts journey.

Their master tells them that they have one more test to pass before moving on.  The master then gives them each a wooden staff and tells them if they fail the test he will beat them severely with the staff.   Both students had been beaten before in their training and the threat is very real.

The master tells the students to take their staffs to their rooms and the test will take place in the morning.  The students do as they are told and take the weapons to their rooms for the night.

Early in the morning the master goes to the first student’s room and opens the door.  The student is doing his early morning stretches, no doubt preparing for his test.  The master does not say a word, and picks up the staff from its resting place.  The master promptly beats the student with the staff.  The only words that the master said to the student during the beating are “you have failed your test”.

The master leaves the student on the floor and proceeds to the other student’s room.  Upon opening the door the master sees the student in the center of the room.  The student is standing in a fighting stance with the staff in his hands.  The only words the master said to the student are “you have passed your test”.


The test was about control.  The first student was caught off guard with an unusual test.  The second student did not know what the test would be, but he knew if he controlled the staff he would not get beaten.  The second student put himself in a situation where he could not be defeated, before the test had started.

The moral of this story is to put your self in advantageous situations, and find ways to avoid negative outcomes.  Take the staff in life and maintain control of it.

I was told this story a few years ago.  I have looked for the original and have not been able to find it.  I recreated it to the best of my ability; the overall message remains the same.

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Drill BJJ meme

This is what happens when you do not drill the basics.  This guy could have watched hundreds of hours of video about hurdling, but you know he was not on the track drilling.  The same goes for BJJ, watching videos online is great but you also need to spend time on the mat working and drilling.

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Basic guard drill you should try

One Handed Drill to Improve Your Open Guard

One handed drill, will improve your open guard.

In any sport, drills are a great way to train your body to move the way you want it to.  Here is an awesome drill to help develop your open guard.  When using the open guard it is difficult yet important to learn to use your feet like another set of hands.  This drill quickly forces you to really focus on using your feet effectively, and using proper hip movement.

The drill- Take one hand and put it under your belt, then grab the ends of your belt with that same hand.  Start with your partner in your guard, and have them focus on passing.  When they pass your guard stop, and restart from guard.  Go for 2 or 3 min, and then switch hands.  By holding the ends of your belt you will be less likely to accidently use your hand.

Do not- Your goal is to improve your open guard.  Do not lock them in the closed guard and hold them tight with your free hand.  The point of this drill is to improve your movement; it is not to prevent them from passing at all cost.

Tips for the guard guy- Concentrate on having 3 points of contact with your partner.  This means that both feet and your free hand need to be on your partner.  Have your partner try to pass standing and on his knees.  If an opportunity to get a sweep or submission is there, go for it.

Tips for the passer- experiment with different passes.  Your partner is obviously not at his top game, so this is a great time to try a new guard pass.  If you always pass to the left try passing to the right or down the middle.

One of my favorite things about this drill is that is feels more like rolling than drilling.

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BJJ Public Service Announcement

This is true, you should not rely  on your cup when you are doing an armbar.  Squeeze your knees and hold the arm well before it gets to your cup.  Get a deep armbar, be as close to the sholder as possible and away from the sharp elbow.  Maintain control of the arm.  These tips should help you have better armbars and not rely on your cup.

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