Seminar Review: Justin Rader 8-26-2012


Justin Rader is one of the top light-weight BJJ/no-gi grapplers in the United States.  He has won multiple world championships, and beaten some of the top athletes on the mat today.  I remember seeing Rader competing as a blue belt at a tournament in Oklahoma City.  He fought in Gi, No-gi and Absolute in both, it seemed like he was on the mat all day.  He never seemed to tire as the much larger opponents were taken apart by this fierce light weight competitor.  I was excited to get to attend this no-gi seminar at the Wichita Jiu-Jitsu Club and Professor Rader did not disappoint.

Professor Rader started by introducing himself and his teammate Chris Watson.  He then gave a short history about his life and his fighting career.  Then he moved to talking about his style of no-gi grappling.  “I am going to change the way you fundamentally think about no-gi grappling” the excitement level shot up and you could see his passion for the sport.  Justin Rader could travel the country as a motivational speaker, or teaching grappling seminars.  Even if I did not learn any thing, the motivational energy alone would have been worth the seminar.

We started with a short jog, and then continued the warm up with some drills.  Each drill was demonstrated and then broken down to further explain the smaller details.  After the warm up Professor Rader gave a short explanation about why his style of grappling has worked so well, and how he was able to take advantage of the mistakes most people make.

The technique portion of the seminar was amazing.  He held nothing back showing his style of no-gi; this was great because his passion continued into this portion of the seminar.  He truly opened up and shared his favorite battle tested techniques.  Each of the techniques was scientifically broken down, and explained with great incite and strategy.  Some of the techniques shown were: no-gi stance, double leg, single leg, sprawl, front headlock, guillotine, guard passes, darce, and the calf slicer.  All of the techniques tied together and you could really get a good look at why his game is so successful.

This was an amazing seminar, and I am looking forward to his next one.  Professor Rader also spent time talking about training philosophies, tournament tips, the mental aspects, the differences between gi and no-gi, strong fundamentals, defense, and offense.  Everyone at the seminar seemed to have a great time and learn a lot.  If you get the chance, I highly recommend having Professor Rader come out to your school to hold a seminar.

Special thanks to Master Rafael Lovato Jr. and Lovato’s School of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


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Support Professor Rader by supporting his sponsors: Onthemat, Lucky Gi, 1914 BJJ Kimonos, Tirey’s Training, Novatek Labs.

Slow down while you are rolling to improve your Jiu-Jitsu

Just slow down and relax

One of the things I enjoy about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is being able to fight as hard as I can, with a competitive opponent and have no injuries or ill will after the roll.  With most martial arts if people are going full speed the participants will be much more likely to get injured.  That being said, slowing down is one great way to become better at BJJ.

It is common for new BJJ students to rely on speed and strength to make up for their poor technique.  The student will have an idea of how the technique works and they will force it on their rolling partner.  This is a recipe for learning Jiu-Jitsu the hard way.  You will have many hard fought battles without learning much.

Rolling slower is less tiring and you get to roll longer.  Many people get tired after just 5 to 15 minutes, this makes it hard to get a lot of “mat time”.  Just by slowing down and controlling your breathing you will be able to roll much longer.  The longer you roll the more your body can learn the subtle movements of BJJ.

It is common for new students to say “if I slow down I will get my butt kicked”.  That is a good concern, you will likely be playing more defense that you typically do with people of similar skill.  That’s great, defense is very important.  The more advanced students are likely to notice you slowing down.  Because you are not going so hard the more advanced students will probably slow down.

If you can do a technique slowly and without much power you can do it with speed and power.  Being able to do submissions slow on a resistive opponent is a good sign that you are doing the move correctly.  Your speed and power will be there for you should you really need it.

Another way people roll slowly is to suggest to the other person that you both roll at an easy pace.  When you are rolling at an agreed slow speed don’t get competitive and speed up over the course of the round.  Sometimes people will take turns doing submissions and escapes.  For example the first student does one or two moves and the other student escapes and then does a couple of moves.  This is also great if you are nursing an injury and not ready for a full speed opponent.

It may be hard at first to slow down but in the long run it will help you get better at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.