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Jiu Jitsu Fest 2011- Bend Oregon

Roy Harris, Ryno, Roy Dean, Keith Owen

Bend, Oregon…..home to beautiful mountains, sparkling rivers, friendly people, and more craft beer and delicious coffee than one could hope for (if you’re into that sort of thing). Bend is also home to one of the finest Jiu Jitsu schools in the country; the Roy Dean Academy. On August 31st, I made my pilgrimage to Roy’s academy for his 3rd Annual Jiu Jitsu Fest, held on September 2-3.  This years festivities included seminars by fourth degree black belt  under Professor Joe Moreira, Mr.Roy Harris and first degree black belt under Professor Pedro Sauer, Mr. Keith Owen.

I arrived in Bend after a 9 hour drive from the Bay Area and had a few hours to rest before joining Roy Dean’s evening class. Roy showed a few guard passes from the knees and then a few more from the standing position which then transitioned into a beautiful knee bar. Following the guard passes, Roy covered a basic Judo throw for good measure. After the instruction I was able to get a few rounds of sparring in with some of Roy’s students and himself which is always a pleasure.

Thursday night I had the pleasure of watching my friend Donald Bowerman get his brown belt evaluation from Mr.Dean and Mr.Harris. First let me note the distinction between an evaluation and an exam. An exam is what a student is given the day he  or she is to be promoted and lasts about twice as long as an evaluation. Evaluations are given when a student is close to his next belt but may have some things to tighten up. At the end of the evaluation, Mr.Harris will tell the student exactly what they need to be working on to get to the next level.

To say that an evaluation or exam from Mr.Harris is tough would be an understatement. The evaluation is a grueling series of live drills with fresh students of all levels cycling in to smash you. I’ll give you an example- one drill would start with Donald mounted by another student…Mr.Harris says escape and he has to escape whether it takes him 10 seconds or 10 minutes. You do this three times and then he brings in someone fresh and you start in another position.  This process lasts for over an hour with a handful of 5 minute breaks in between and the evaluation is capped off with some sparring sessions.

Donald showed amazing heart and put on a great display of Jiu-Jitsu and at the end of the night was given a list of things to work on for the next few months. While not all instructors practice or agree with evaluations and exams, I’ll tell you that everyone in the room learned a ton that night including myself and it was awesome to witness…..I am a fan.

Friday afternoons class at the academy was run by Mr.Harris. The lesson for the day was breaking your opponents guard open. Mr.Harris showed numerous ways to get your opponent to uncross their ankles followed by super tight, smashing single leg stack passes….one of my favorites! The class was amazing. Everything he showed fit right into my game and I’ve been using what he showed pretty successfully lately. Friday night they had another class but I was at The Little Woody Barrel-Aged Beer Festival:)

Saturday was the day everyone was waiting for. From 10am-12pm we had a seminar with Keith Owen and from 2pm-4pm Roy Harris.

Keith Owen- I had never met Keith Owen but had heard a lot of good things about him. Keith was extremely nice, had a great sense of humor, and put on an awesome seminar. He showed a series of techniques that all flowed from one to the next like a long “thread”. The first technique was an escape for when your opponent has a deep collar choke from the mount. The escape flowed right into a slick pass that puts you right into side control. From there, Keith showed a series of ways to maintain side control and finish with an armlock, wristlock, and collar choke.

Keith had some really “unique” names for his techniques like, The Barcalounger,  The Turkey Stuff, and The Happy choke. Like Eddie Bravo, the idea is that you’ll remember the techniques easier with names like this rather than “that collar choke”, plus if your at a tournament and your instructor yells out” Happy Choke”, there’s a good chance your opponent is going to have no idea what you’re planning on doing……it worked so far, I haven’t forgot them yet.

Roy Harris- I have trained with Mr.Harris several times over the years and have never been disappointed by any of his classes or seminars. Mr.Harris’ depth of knowledge in Jiu-Jitsu as well as numerous other martial arts is truly amazing and his explanation of techniques is phenomenal. I think I grinned from ear to ear when he told us the focus of his seminar was going to be PRESSURE. for those of you who don’t know…Mr.Harris’ nickname is Boa because of his crushing pressure and tight Jiu-Jitsu which shouldn’t be surprising given that his Professor is Joe Moreira.

For me, Jiu-Jitsu changed when I began to learn how to use my weight on my opponents. I thought I was doing pretty good with that but of course, this seminar changed the way I look at pressure.  Most of the seminar was focused on applying pressure from side control but we also spent some time applying pressure from half guard and the mount. The light bulb moment for me that day was learning that I could apply ridiculous pressure from side control while having both knees pulled into my opponent. I used to think that to be heavy from side control I had to have one leg out and one knee in (hopefully that made some sense).

We also learned about applying pressure from the bottom….but not necessarily what you may be thinking…applying pressure from the bottom, according to Mr.Harris means to pressure your opponent with submission attempts and sweeps while never letting them get comfortable in your guard, get grips, etc. If the pressure of your attacks from bottom is good enough, your opponent will eventually make a mistake that you can capitalize on.

Overall, amazing seminar. It was like Mr.Harris woke up that morning and thought “what can I show Ryno today that he would like”.

Summary- Overall, another amazing trip to Bend. Huge thanks to Mr.Roy Dean, Mr. Roy Harris, and Mr.Keith Owen for their amazing instruction. Thank you to my gracious hosts the Schauland’s for their hospitality, all of Roy Dean’s gracious students for always welcoming me, and of course I must thank all of the fine beer makers in Bend that satisfied my thirst after all of those training sessions. Can’t wait for next year!

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