Saulo rReviews

I'm going to preface this:

Though a beginner in BJJ, I've done other arts before and one thing I've realized is that most arts have within them several different ways of accomplishing similar or the same things, and different experts will achieve high skill in each of the methods, but may not necessarily realize that there are in fact other methods, and so judge individual things they see within the context of their own expertise and method, and deem them not as good, or just bizarre. Every method has advantages and disadvantages, and whole-systems develop to maximize advantages and minimize disadvantages. If you don't have the whole system, you miss this very important context.

So, when some people see Saulo's clips and don't think it works, I think they're seeing it in isolation and within the context of their own approach, not as part of a whole-system approach Saulo is using. By the same token, when Saulo says other ways don't work, he's seeing them in the context of his own approach, not the whole-systems of the people expert in those approaches.

Okay, enough BS. On with the review:

I've only seen Vol. 2, Side Control so far. If/when I see the others, I'll add to the thread.

First, Saulo talks a lot. People who want 100, 1000, 100 000 new techniques may not like him 'wasting time' talking. For me, who regularly uses only a small fraction of the already too many techniques he's seen, I didn't mind this at all. I would rather hear what he has to say, in hopes it helps what I already do.

When he talks, he explains a lot of why. For me, it didn't matter if what he did was exactly what I was doing (it wasn't, his method is different from what I'm trying currently to work on), or whether or not I'd seen it before, it overlapped anyway, and provided a lot of insight into what things he considered important, and how things could be done.

As to what's shown, it starts with his way of controlling from cross body (hip control method as opposed to head or 'sling' control), how he maintains it, and how he transitions to knee on stomach (belly as he calls it) and mount all the while maintaining the hip control.

He shows a few chokes here as well.

On the escape side, he shows three or four ways to escape his type of side control, depending on arm and body positioning of the person pinning (presumably so you can go from one to the other as they resist and eventually get out), and two ways to escape knee on belly (including the one shown on the clip).

Again, nothing unique and (thankfully) nothing outlandish, just solid stuff with excellent explination (his English is very good).

While I didn't get any 'aha' moments (because of the differences), I got two very important things:

1) An understanding of another popular approach I may well encounter rolling :)

2) Really good explinations of base and other core concepts, and alternatives I can play with and maybe use to discover some 'aha' stuff later.

The negatives would be, people who are hunting for the millionth submission should look elsewhere, and people who do have different approaches and no interest in this one probably won't get much out of it.

I also found the numbering system used of limited value. Intead, a chapter selection with descriptions instead of numbers would be far, far more useful.

For those who care about production value (for me, long as I can see the moves, I could care less about bells and whistles), the image quality was decent on LCD, and the sound very good. Set looked to be very similar to the Sperry series.


Nice review, man!!!! I'm so happy that more reviews are appearing on the site. I love reading them.


I had a chance to see some of the mount and guard DVDs.

The interview, if it was strictly bonus and not counted towards the overall DVD time length, was okay, but something probably better left as web promotional material.

The mount stuff was again, really solid core stuff, with some very interesting little points. The Ezikiel to paper cutter was sweet.

Guard was similar, but had a few more novel (to me at least) techniques.

One thing I'm noticing with all the talking, however, is that many of the stuff he emphasizes is very similar from tape to tape and even segment to segment. That makes sense in terms of his methodology being very consistent, and I'm sure things like keeping connection, b/locking off space so the partner can't move, using body unity to increase power, etc. but it feels like it could have been trimmed down to make room for more techniques. Hearing about stuff is one thing, getting a wide enough sampling to really understand implementation is another.


how much did you get charged by canada customs for the package!?

They were bought on behalf an offline friend, so I didn't pay anything :)

However, Canada Post charged him 13.50 (8.50 GST, 5.00 'Handling'). Better than UPS's $20 'brokerage' scam. However, the shipping was damn expensive (US$26) which would make me, personally, hesitant about ordering in anything but bulk from them (however, my friend did not care about the shipping charges).

Thanks Rene. I got hit $20 by customs. Sometimes I think using my ONline "friends" is the only way I'll be able to watch instructionals in the future .

Hopefully the shipping charges will get re-thought. I think they ship from upstate NY, which is about 5 hours from MTL, overland. US$5 an hour is almost courier fees :)

Yep I am in Toronto not Cali so it shouldn't be too much more for shipping here. I am trying to stay legit, but there are so many sources these days to get all the information for free.

At least your review is positive so I can't wait to check it out.

has anyone watched the Half Guard volume yet??

I have seen it, look for a review tomorrow afternoon around 4pm EST.


Finally had a chance to watch vol.3, the back.

Positive: Shows good, solid techniques with excellent explinations. Shows how to control the turtle with the hips, prevent guard retention, getting the clock choke, and getting the lapel choke. Still shows how much he values hip-to-hip contact and blocking the opponent's avenues of escape. Then he shows a couple of escapes, one to go from turtle to face-up (still in back control), and one to get out of lapel choke (in addition to the other one shown in the clip.

Negative: The talking is repetitive to the point of taking some lustre off the series. Stuff like 'other people are confused', 'other people are wrong', and repetition of already mentioned details could be cut way, way, way back to make more room for more techniques (comes off as being relatively skimpy with 13 'chapters' per volume, several of which are elaboration rather than addition). Repetitive verbiage both within the volume, and volume to volume, also hurts replay value.

Hopefully will get to see the second half of the series soon.


I respectfully disagree with you about the repetition of details, but agree with you about the "other people are wrong" thing.

I have watched a lot of instructional videos. I watch them all the way through and usually find myself unable to really remember what I learned by the time I hit the mat. I liked the fact that Saulo wanted to get a few distinct points across (instead of trying to blow you away with 100 techniques with three variations each). I like the fact that these details were stressed enough that I felt them drilled into my head so when Im sparring, they are fresh in my mind.



No worries. I see your point and agree. However, what might be appropriate for you, a seasoned brown belt with certain mental and physical characteristics, might be very different for me, a beginner with likely very different mental and physical characteristics.

So, with something being incredibly deep but not broad, it risks not appealing to as wide an audience.

I also agree a million things aren't helpful. There's probably a balance to strike, and I feel this one falls a little on one side of that balance.

Of course, other volumes remain for my viewing :)

I gotcha...good point, rene.r.

I get defensive about these videos because they came at exactly the right time for me in my training. Im at the point now where I dont really want new techniques, just to make every position Im in tighter and more exact. I have the WORST memory in the world, so I dont do well to learn from guys who want to show how much variety they know. I learn best from guys who teach a topic like a university professor would teach a chapter in history class.

"So, with something being incredibly deep but not broad, it risks not appealing to as wide an audience.

I also agree a million things aren't helpful. There's probably a balance to strike, and I feel this one falls a little on one side of that balance."

I respectfully disagree with this point. I think it is risky to try to appeal to a wide audience. You end up pleasing no one as a result.

There are many examples of this in "Positioning" by Jack Trout and Al Reis.

Many thanks for the reviews however.