Magarida Review

I have not watched the whole series, just the first few sections.

Thusfar, I'm underwhelmed.

The production is very, very good. Great case, very nice screened DVDs, well done intro, menus, and titles. The establishing shots aren't great, usually a head shot of Margarida, not looking very comfortable, annoucing things like 'Okay, now I show how to open the guard another way' (for the third or forth time). Since there were already titles, this part could have been skipped.

In general, Margarida speaks good enough English to understand, but as with many not fluent in a language, tends to fall into filler ('So, what am I going to do next?') while likely doing internal translation.

As to the content, after only watching the escapes, guard opening, and passing open guard sections, it was not what I hoped.

The individual moves vary from very good to some which (like yanking your arm out of armbar from the guard) might be too attribute dependant, with most somewhere in between. He explains the movements well enough, but I was hoping for much, much more detail, especially during the repeat of the technique (which was even sometimes from the same/similar camera angle).

The major problem, IMHO, is that while the techniques are grouped into sections, the techniques within those sections have no organization or flow between them. Ideally, I would prefer to have seen 1 technique, then variations based on different types of resistance, and how Margarida applies his strategy in flowing between them.

Instead of 'Here's another pass', I would have prefered something more like Sperry with 'Okay, now the smart opponent knows this, and will counter, so you have to...'

He does show a lot of techniques, so people just looking for a lot of techniques would likely be happy. They are very basic, but IMHO basic techniques are core techniques, but they need more detailed explination, and stategic integration, to really shine.

(The DVD froze during Passing Open Guard, and I had to leave, so I didn't see any more yet. When/if I do, I will add to the thread. Hopefully, what I saw was just a rough spot, and there is excellent content to follow...)


I, like you have not watched the entire series. I watched the sweeps portion, and a few of the submissions. I'm a 4 stripe blue belt and am rolling even with purple belts, and the moves he showed with the details have helped a lot. My game has always been real basic, but Margarida kinda put me over the hump, specificly, with the scissor sweep. The last detail he showed about the opponents posture was golden for me. Last saturday I swept a purple and a few blues with the scissor. Not that I hadnt swept them before with it, but afterward the sweep I said to myself "Ah, much easier".

I'm about to watch some more of the DVD's, I just want to watch a little at a time to get the feel for it.

I didn't watch those segments yet. I did see nice details in a couple of the moves, but I guess I was expecting tons of them for all of the moves.

If you're going to go super-basic, you really have to go super-detailed. So far, the sections I've watched, aren't hitting that as much as I would have liked.

'Once again with more details,' to quote the Master Series... :)

Great and honest review.

I do not believe in the 'super detail' to a 'super basic move' idea. I'm all down for explaining a technique but over analyzing everything to a point of confusion is annoying. I have the Margarida set in addition to Jen's, Sperry's and Margarida has helped me a lot. Sperry's set is still my favorite though.

I disagree with Rene r, Margarida is not known for his strength other than grip strength, yet he has used these escapes against the best.

Kashk, have you seen the DVDs? Yanking an arm out of the guard while in horse-stance over the guy with only your neck twisted sideways as a base requires more arm and neck integrity than I, for one, possess :)

As to the other escapes, the triangle escape, for example, does not include the opponent having his legs fully figure-4 (he does not have his knee fully over his bottom shin and is not hooking down over it), nor does it have the opponent holding his shin or pulling down on his head, nor does it have him angling perpendicular.

In other words, he shows an escape from a lame ass triangle, which would be fine as a foundation if he then went on to show how to progressively escape tighter and more dangerous triangles, but he doesn't.

So, if someone watches the DVD for a triangle escape, then goes to class to try it, only to have the person they're rolling with properly figure-4, grab the shin, and angle off, what will he do?


What problems were you having that Margarida helped you with?

I am not talking about paralysis through analysis, just an adequate level of detail. For example, when he shows the detail of turning the hand palm-down for the one guard pass, and says 'this is a really important detail' I think it's excellent. I wish he had done that at least once or twice for each technique. He did it a few, but I think all of them would have benefited from that.

I like Sperry too. I wish he showed escapes, but his dialog is killer funny.


The set helped me with my north south choke. The one where you begin from knee on stomach. Specifically, where Margarida addresses not using the arms as much as making sure the edges of your wrist are driving into the side of his throat. Lame ass triangle? He used a similiar escape to hold off Pe De Pano's triangle, wrapping the arm around that choking leg. Have you tried using a leg on shoulder escape against Pe De Pano? I haven't myself, but I imagine it to be hard. Margarida's basic stuff is great.

Whether an instructional has to much detail is of course totally subjective. Marc Laimon learns from watching competition footage with obviously zero explanation. I find I also learn best through watching live COMPETITION footage. I totally see your point, I just think a lot of beginners feel when an instructional is super wordy and detailed, they are somehow learing the 'secret' behind a move. I think they get so excited about the over explanation, they convince themselves the moves will work. Again, just my opinion.

Further evidence that some products are gold for some people and tin for others.

It is all a bit relative to where you are at in your development, who you train with, what your goals are, and how you learn.


Thanks, I haven't gotten to see the chokes part yet. Details like that do bear repeating and repeating, and like I said, I did find a few times he stressed important little details, but also times where he didn't seem to single much out at all (or wasn't clear about it).

I'm sure given the right circumstances, 99.9% of every escape on every tape will work, but that means a) the right circumstances need to be defined, and b) when they don't exist, alternatives or ways to make them right need to be given.

What if the opponent grabbed Margarida's head? (assuming his thick neck even made that possible ;) What if the opponent bridged, slipped his arms under the arm Margarida was wrapping around the leg, and started setting up the tricep crush? Now, of course no DVD can cover all those things, but I think a better effort could be made to define where something is applicable, and make it robust as possible given segment constraints.

And I would not use leg on shoulder against Pe for several reasons, including a) that even when I'm standing, I may not reach his knee, let alone ankle b) he's a black belt and would likely punk me at the scramble. Likewise, I don't think this escape would help me against Pe either, as my feet would not reach his under arms :)

And FWIW, see my Saulo review on how I don't think wordy=detailed.

Do you know anything about writing? One of the keys to writing well is not describing every detail, nor is it in leaving out anything but vague description. The key is in picking 2-3 highly important and memorable details, and phrasing them as impactfully as possible.

I think we should demand the same from good instructionals. A few highly important, memorable details for every position shown, taught as impactfully as possible.


I think the bar is being raised higher and higher.

You're a brown belt, so probably need an even higher standard than I can imagine, but for myself, I want to see consistent quality throughout a series, including enough moves that I can find something to relate too, enough detail that I can improve what I find, and enough organization and flow so that if things don't instantly work the first way shown, I have a path I can still follow towards making it successful.

If I get 1 or 2 things per DVD, it's not enough. I'd be better off paying for a private lesson.

Perhaps my expectations are high, but I want Sperry Vale Tudo, Modeiros Closed Guard, Jen Ultimate Guard Passing, Levo Total Guard, etc. from every supplier, every time.

I have the first DVD, not the complete lesson. Sure I wouldn't use all of what is shown, but there are at least two or three details that will help me escape. His armbar escape works well for him, and I have gotten out of Arm bar countless times, simply by holding my own arm, applying pressure using my weight, and then yanking out(not that this is Margarida's way). I have done this on larger stronger opponents. The main point i take from Margarida's escapes, is that a guy can catch a good submission postion, but if you don't concede the finsih there is a way out.

rene, actually, I think the higher your belt the less you really need from a video. I know that doesnt make sense at first, but here is the way I see it:

When you are a beginner, or relative beginner, you need someone to show you the way. They have to teach as clearly as possible because the beginner is trying to learn totally new concepts or positions. The number of techniques is also important because the repetoire of beginner is already limited and, as you said, they need to find something they can relate to.

The more advanced student already has his game and probably plays it pretty well, but he recognizes a few areas that need tightening. They've worked with other higher belts and their coach, but there may still be a little "something" missing that the right video will be able to provide. If they buy the video and get that one little something, then it is worth it to them.

Did that make sense? It is so early that Im not sure if I can express myself properly. lol

Andre, perfect sense!

Kashk, that's my point of moves in isolation vs. systematic methods. Saulo, for example, doesn't just show 1 escape from side control. He shows 3 and then how to move between them depending on resistance.

rene.r I think you are totally right I have both series and I was expecting much more from the margarida ones. Mario


I know what you are saying in regards to the writing example, but again, 'memorable details' is a completely subjective matter. Details can come to a viewer in many ways, not necessarily through an over explanation of a simple move. Baret Yoshida's triangles tapes are a good example of this. I picked up a lot of detail through watching the repetitions he performed, not so much his brief descriptions.

I have read your Saulo reviews, and in that instance you are not so much addressing his over explanation, as his dialogue about the background of a move. I don't mind his background dialogue at all (I also have that set).

You keep mentioning that triangle escape and the way it fails to cover all possibilties. Again, you must realize it is just not possible to cover every and any situation. For example, you mention the Jen guard passing video, which I think is an alright instructional. At my school, we start from the feet and many, many people go directly into the x-guard from standing. Jen's video did not address how to pass the guard when the opponent is able to hit the x-guard right off the bat. This does not make the Jen instructional a bad video, it is simply not possible to cover any and all situations. Building off a foundation is the key and I feel Margarida provides that.

I've already gotten overly 'wordy' with explanation and like I mentioned before, I can see your point. Keep in mind, I think a lot of white belts/beginners tend to echo what their instructors say. Even to the point of what videos are good and what are not. I just feel it's good to have an open mind and watch an entire video before I make a review.


Thanks! Where do you train? That's interesting about dropping to x-guard. This is also why I prefer systematic approaches rather than technical ones. If you understand how to pass (the concepts behind it), then you don't need 1000 different passes for 1000 different "guard flavors of the month" (it would be a race started from behind that you could never catch up). It might take you a few failed attempts, but you have a methodology to figure it out with.

I understand your point about Yoshida. I have a very tough time learning visually, so I do depend more on explination than others might. That's definately something that colors my reviews.

Saulo I was addressing he repetitiveness in dialog.

Finally, perhaps its not the best practice to watch and review part of a series at a time, but given how little opportunity I have to watch stuff, its the only way I'm able to do it, and again, people who dislike that approach can skip to a different review.


You know where I train, this is Mike. I train with Dave Camarillo at AKA. We have rolled together before remember? You've rolled with my buddies Lee and George as well.

X-Guard is not really a 'flavor of the month.' I don't know, I see values in all guards. I was using that example in reference to your Margarida triangle escape. A similiar point being, you don't need a thousand different triangle escapes for a thousand different ways of applying the triangle. A good foundation in the basics, as I stated before.

Hit me up next time you're in the bay area, we'll roll again. Thanks.