Best BJJ Seminars You've been to?

Andre's thread on best instructional gave me a good idea. What are the best bjj seminars you've been to and why? I'll begin (in no particular order):

  1. Soneca: very detailed and will come to each group of people and fix very little details and stay there until you get it right. Also a lot of moves are shown all "linking" together. No gi seminars were particularly awesome combining thai boxing with takedowns to sweet ground moves.

  2. Helio and Ryron Gracie: great system of how to defend attacks from the mount, etc. Their defensive jiu-jitsu techniques are very logical, very simple, but very effective. The only thing I didn't like was that the format was question and answer (even though I asked a ton of questions) - I prefer for the teachers to present information instead of just answer questions since it makes the seminar less random.

  3. Eddie Bravo: great format - 2 hours twister, lunch break, then 2 hours rubber guard. I love the 2 and 2 with a break in between concept. I get bored with even the best jiu-jitsu instructor and start to forget moves if one single session is over 2 hours. Also very entertaining, and very step by step instructor.

HONORABLE MENTION: Rodrigo Mederios, Sylvio Braga, Royce Gracie (got a lot from these)

For me, it's a toss-up for different reasons:

  • Eddie Bravo Rubber Guard. 4 hours of detail on rubber guard, high guard, and finishing the armbar, with all the important variations for overcoming resistence. Unique method of reverse sequencing, and called reps made it very easy to remember. Required a bit more flexibility than I had sometimes :).
  • Michael Jen Guard Passing. Basically the same as the DVD, but focused only on hung-around-chest, and showed more detail and variations for more types of resistence. Same reasons as the DVD too, it is systematic (not isolated techniques), integrated (fits with other material), non-attribute dependant (don't need to be fast, strong, or flexible), and simple.
  • Murillo Bustamante & Fabio Holanda were also awesome, with a lot of attention to detail. They split the seminars with 2hrs Gi, break, 2hrs No-Gi, which was fun, and all the material tied together, which was important. Since it did cover more diverse subjects than the other two, I don't remember as much, but it did focus on several areas which interested me. Been to Holanda by himself as well, which was also excellent.

I would add Matt Serra to the list but I missed his seminar and had to 'settle' for a private lesson afterwards, which was phenomenal. He has a real talent for picking out your problem areas and giving you fixes.

1 - Matt Thornton

2 - Leo Vieira

3 - Jean-Jaques Machado

4 - Vitor "Shaolin" Ribero

5 - Luis "Limeo" Heredia


1,2,3,4,& 5 - Ricco Rodrigues - ugh!

Carlos and Rigan Machado....detail detail and more detail. If they teach you something, you can expect to be able to use by the end of the seminar for sure! I can remember every move that I have learned through seminars with them, and use them every chance I get.

Unfortunately, i never liked seminars.
But you must take into account the ones i went to were years ago, jiu jitsu was just being introduced, so all the info was very very basic, which when your a beginner is a good thing.

My problem was the amount of info being given, it was so much, i retained very little, and even tho i tried to take notes, by the time i got a chance to really go over them i was like " WTF did i write here?".

A seminar covering 1 subject would probably be better for me, as you guys described. In particular i like the step by step instruction idea, it would help me remember the basic mechanics.

My favorite seminar was the first one i ever went to, i had about 3 weeks of jiujitsu so i knew nothing, but it was given by Rickson to about 50 of us, he sparred with everyone which i really liked, although i didnt understand a thing.
But the most memorable thing was when he put his hands in his belt, and said pass my gaurd, i have never saw such fluid movement in my life, it was beautiful. No matter what anyone did, including taking both his legs in a bare hug and throwing them completely out of the way worked, he would always put you back in the gaurd using any momentum you gave him.

Rob Kahn

  • using head smashing to isolate and submit your opponent from mount and side control

Danny Ives puts on a great one and doesn't hold back
Ricardo Almeida does a really great job aswell
Gustavo dantes i would say has a bad ass game and a raelly touch team, his was probably the best
also Bustamante was top notch as you would think
all these have been really good and i have alplied a little bit of all these guys games to my game

1.) Roy Harris, hands down. He breaks everything down into bite-sized chunks. He has an answer for every possibility. He shows it in with a series of other options for the same position, and often within a sequence of other things you can do. He explains it in a way that makes it memorable, showing us not just the body motions, but some of the body mechanics that make it work.

2.) Leonardo Xavier. He's about the same size as me, and his seminars have helped me change the way I was doing several techniques in small ways to make them work way better for my body.

3.) Kenny McClure. He's really good at explaining leg locks. Plus he's funny, so the seminars are entertaining.

4.) Jacare Cavalcanti. I recall being really super fascinated with what he was showing us at the time and I really really wish I remembered more of it. I wasn't able to retain much because both body and mind were only partially functioning after his killer 45 minute warm-up.


I was going to stop by after class last night but I wasn't feeling too good. I'm finally back to training now my fat ass needs to get into shape for Naga in March. Shoot me an email at

Thanks Tap-Me, I almost forgot Jacare!

His seminars are great! Full of functional moves plus very funny and entertaining!

What do people think of warm-ups during seminars? Some I've really enjoyed (Holanda's, as everything tied into BJJ), others were very poor (not bjj related or with dubious 'exercises' a trainer would cringe at) and seemed like just a way to kill time without having to show stuff.


I have to say I think the warmup is a way to kill time. If they are showing some special BJJ related warmup/drill then okay. But running around the mats, doing jumping jacks and like you said some of the things are just out right against what any personal trainer would suggest is a way to teach less and still make big money. If I want to work out I would go to the gym, I'm paying for BJJ not richard simmons sweating to the oldies.

Relson Gracie, twice

for my money, Saulo/Xande are the best

are any of these seminars available on video?

I agree that the warm-up is just to kill time. I hate the standard warm-ups. The only exceptions were Matt Thornton, who had us warming up by doing a slow roll and Shaolin, whos warm-ups were fun, challenging and (at least to me) original drills that were related to actual grappling techniques!

Gustavo Machado, Gordo, & Soneca.

Portuguese is correct. Shaolin's warmups are awesome drills that BELONG in the seminar.

When Rey gives a seminar, he usually has a short warmup, but however long it takes for the warm up, he adds that to the time at the end.

Fareastgrappler 04,03,02,01 Jiu jitsu/surf camp are all available on DVD's,we are putting "all" on two DVD's set soon to be released.

Joe Moreira,Marcus Vinicus,Roy Harris,Rey Diogo,Chris Brennan,Silvio Pimenta,Juliano Prado,Danny Darrow,Waldomir Jr.,Rodrigo Medeiros,Randy Bloom,Paulo Gazze,Ricardo Pires.