Archive for March, 2011

DVD Review:Roy Dean-White Belt Bible

March 20, 2011 5 comments

It is an honor and privilage to be one of the first to review Roy Dean’s latest DVD project: The White Belt Bible (Jiu Jitsu in Theory and Practice).  Roy’s latest work is his way of introducing men, women, boys, and girls to the beautiful and intricate world of Jiu Jitsu by encompassing not only Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but also the sister martial arts that lent a hand in creating it such as Kodokan Judo, Jujutsu, and Aikikai Aikido, all of which Roy holds a black belt or higher in. This DVD is unique in that it is not just an instructional teaching the basic positions of BJJ. Experienced practitioners can learn plenty from this DVD, but it’s bigger than that; it’s about the Theory and Practice of Jiu Jitsu.

The White Belt Bible’s production value is extremely well done as most fans of Roy Dean’s DVD’s have come to expect. Roy’s instruction is clear and concise and he blends his instructional segments with live sparring demonstrations, student’s belt tests, and of course his signature instrumental music which he composes himself. Also worth noting is that Roy wears his own white belt throughout the DVD which I feel is a great touch that makes it easy for the viewer to join in without feeling intimidated. Without further ado, let’s step into the world of the White Belt…..

DVD 1:

Tying the belt- The DVD starts of with some upbeat music and a beautifully shot segment of Roy tying on a white belt. The segment is then shown again in slow motion so that the viewer can learn the proper way to tie their belt. Now that your belt is tied, it’s time to learn some Judo….your Jiu Jitsu wont be all that effective  if you can’t get your opponent to the ground right?

Kodokan Judo- Not everyone knows this but Roy also holds a black belt in Judo. The segment on Judo begins with the theory of Kuzushi or off balancing your opponent. Once you learn the fundamentals of getting your opponent off balance, Roy goes into some of the most basic and high percentage Judo take downs such as Ippon Seionage, Kata Guruma, Osoto Gari, Uchimata, and a few others as well as how to use them in combination with one another.

Jujutsu Examples- The next segment shows examples of Jujutsu techniques such as armlocks, sweeps, throws, leg locks, and chokes. The examples are comprised from real footage of Roy’s students sparring during regular classes as well as during their belt demonstrations. This segment is a very clever way to make the viewer feel as if they are sitting against the wall watching their first Jiu Jitsu class and trying to figure out what the heck is going on.

Aikikai Aikido- Roy is a long time practitioner of Aikido and shows some really cool pins, wrist locks, elbow locks, and even a weapon disarmament  that most Jiu Jitsu students probably haven’t seen before. The segment is short and sweet and flows right into an old Seibukan Jujutsu demonstration by Roy.

Seibukan Jujutsu Demonstration– Roy’s Jujutsu demonstration is an intricate combination of throws, joint locks, and sweeps….there’s even a sword and some knives in there. I think what he is trying to show by putting this segment along with the Aikido segment is that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was not just developed out of thin air. By watching these other forms of martial arts, you begin to realize how they are all interconnected and pieces and parts of each of these martial arts help make up what we know today as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu– Now we move onto the main event if you will, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The segment starts with Roy going into the basic positions of BJJ, starting with the closed guard which is where new students will spend a majority of their time. Roy breaks down the positions into Major and Minor positions, an example of a Major position being the mount and a Minor position being side control. Once he covers the basic positions he goes into showing submissions, but not before reminding the viewer that the submission is just “the cherry on top”. Roy explains that although getting a submission is fun and feels good, you must develop a strong foundation before being able to finish opponents frequently.

The submissions that Roy shows are some of the most basic and effective submissions in BJJ such as armlocks, shoulder locks, collar chokes, triangle chokes. He then shows how the submissions can be strung together to make them more effective against a savvy opponent.

So much of Jiu Jitsu is unseen. By that I mean that there are so many small movements, shifting of weight, etc. that only with experience can a student start to see the details that are going on below the surface. Roy ends the first DVD with a brilliant black and white segment that shows what Jiu Jitsu looks like from the perspective of a white belt and how that perspective changes as you advance in Jiu Jitsu. I was very impressed by this segment and I think it would be a great idea for a white belt to re-watch this segment every 6 months to see how their perspective changes and what they pick up that they didn’t see the time before.


DVD 2:

As the first DVD was instructional based, the second DVD is meant to give the viewer examples of the skills it takes to go from white belt to black belt. Roy selected some of his top students belt test demonstrations and put them in order starting with a white belt testing for her blue belt. After the blue belt demonstration we can take a look at what it takes to get to the coveted purple belt and after that, the even more intricate test to reach brown belt. The last belt demonstration is Roy testing for his second stripe on his black belt which he recently received.  After the demonstrations there is a video of Roy taking a private lesson with world champion Saulo Ribeiro, followed by a trip that Roy and some of his students took to England to train with one of his affiliate schools. The second DVD ends with some trailers for Roys other DVDs such as Blue Belt Requirements, Purple Belt Requirements, and No Gi Essentials…all of which are must owns!

Overall, I really enjoyed Roy’s latest project and would highly recommend it for anyone starting Jiu Jitsu, thinking of starting Jiu Jitsu, or even a seasoned practitioner to have on his or her shelf. I am told that Roy will begin releasing The White Belt Bible on iTunes first and will make it available shortly after that for DVD purchase. You can follow Roy’s blog and purchase materials from him at

Thanks for reading!


De volta à faixa branca (Back to white belt)

I feel completely lost. Things that should make sense don’t. Up is down, left is right…..white is branca. I am humbled and at times defeated, yet I have this desire to figure out what is going on. I keep coming back, and each time I come back, things get just a little bit clearer. I am white belt again, a white belt in Portuguese.

I have always wanted to learn another language. I tried taking a Spanish class in middle school but was kicked out after only a few weeks due to several “disagreements” with my teacher. She never did appreciate my humor. Anyways, since becoming a devoted student to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and making friends with several Brazilian instructors and students, I thought it only fitting that I try to learn to speak the language.  My wife was nice enough to buy me Rosetta Stone’s level I Portuguese series, now all I have to do is practice.

After about 5 minutes into my first Portuguese lesson I was transported back to 2006, the first day that I walked into Claudio Franca’s Jiu Jitsu Academy in San Jose. I had finally decided to give this Jiu Jitsu thing a try and showed up to the afternoon class for my first lesson. The instructor at the time was a purple belt named Evan who was a really nice guy, he welcomed me to the academy and had me sign some waivers that essentially stated that if I died or was seriously injured during my training there it wasn’t their fault. Of course I had no gi so I was training in my gym clothes and even kept my socks on…what a dork. Now it was time to warm up.

The first warm up consisted of trying to pass your partners open guard with one hand behind your back. Looking back, the drill is a great way to learn to get around your opponents legs without relying on the use of both hands for say a Toreando pass. It also gives the person on bottom a chance to learn to use their hips and hooks for defense, but keep in mind that at the time I had no idea what an open guard was, let alone how to pass it. I was partnered up with a massive blue belt. He was an ex college football player who probably weighed 250lbs or so and although his weight wouldn’t really matter at the time, his understanding of hip movement and the open guard did. I remember just running around and spinning in circles trying to get past his legs. I am an athlete, how is this so complicated!? To say I was frustrated was an understatement (by the way, after about a minute or two I was completely gassed from expending all of that energy and going nowhere.)  Now it was my partners turn to go. The best way to describe my open guard then would be to imagine putting a turtle on his back and…yeah, you get the picture.

For the remainder of the warm up I was taken through a series of six different “snake moves” which teach you how to move your hips and the rest of your body in ways specific to Jiu Jitsu. I remember thinking that these movements were so silly at the time (mostly because I couldn’t do them). I remember asking myself what does any of this have to do with fighting? We finally finished the warm up and I was relieved to be done with these strange drills, now it’s time to learn how to kick some ass! Surely I was about to learn some bone crushing throw or joint snapping submission….nope. Evan proceeded to take us through the proper way to finish a clock choke from the turtle guard. I don’t own a gi, I don’t know what a collar choke is, and what the f*#k is a turtle guard? This was my first lesson in the gentle art.

What made me come back? I hadn’t learned anything about fighting (so I thought), I didn’t submit anyone, I felt completely uncoordinated, and I didn’t know it at the time but I was about to get submitted multiple times by a small woman. I decided to give it a month and see how it played out. I bought a gi, and started attending classes two days a week. Each class I was left with more questions than answers. Everything was foreign. I was lost. I was humbled and defeated many times but I just kept coming back.

After a while, I started to learn the meanings of basic words. I didn’t have great pronunciation and I couldn’t spell the words right yet, but I could see the word and match it with a corresponding image. I wasn’t ready to put sentences together let alone paragraphs but I trusted that if I just kept going it would make sense eventually. This is what it feels like to be a beginner. Practice makes perfect and just showing up to class is half the battle. Forrest Griffin of the UFC was recently awarded his black belt by Robert Drysdale. When asked in an interview how he was able to attain his new rank, he replied in classic Forrest fashion, he said “Just keep showing up to practice and eventually you will stop sucking”. I think Forrest is dead on. There will be many times where you feel that you are not making any progress and you’ll become frustrated. If you just keep showing up to class and participating you WILL get better. Jiu Jitsu has taught me to apply this philosophy to everything I do. That includes learning Portuguese. I know that if I turn on the computer and practice, no matter how frustrating it may be, I WILL get better. I know I will eventually learn to put sentences together, then paragraphs, etc. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be able to write a whole blog entry in Portuguese!


*Coming up-  A report on Roy Dean’s latest project…I can’t wait to tell you about it! I will also be reviewing a new gi from Submission Fight Company, nice looking gi, how will it perform? Stay tuned!