Today is Tuesday, April 20. I am headed back to San Diego this
morning after spending six days here in Vermont. During my stay,
I had a chance to teach a two day BJJ seminar, twelve hours worth
of private lessons, as well as roll with numerous BJJ students. All in
all, it was a great weekend!
One of the things I did at this seminar that I have not done at any
of my recent seminars is I filmed the entire first day of the
seminar. As a treat to all of you, I will be posting this seminar
footage on my website sometime within the next few weeks. I have
about thirty minutes of footage that I think will you will enjoy.
I would like to publicly thank Mr. Adam LaClair and his lovely wife
Jan for hosting the seminar, cooking me some great Spaghetti and
showing me around Vermont. Both of them were great hosts! I
thoroughly enjoyed my stay with them!
I would also like to thank my instructors for driving many hours to
attend the seminar and take private lessons: Kyle Saunders, who
drove eight and a half hours from Rochester, New York, Chris
Drechsler-Martell, who drove five hours from Middletown,
Connecticut, Seamus Walsh, who drove four and a half hours from
Portland, Maine, and Trent Lewis, who drove five and a half hours
from Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
I would also like to thank Chris Owens for allowing us to use the
facility at UVM!
I have a busy week ahead of me at the academy when I return.
However, I am glad I got a chance to spend time with everyone up
here! I had a great time!
P.S. On an interesting side note, Kyle Saunders and Chris
Drechsler-Martell have become Kalis Ilustrisimo training fanatics! I
got a chance to teach both of them, as well as spar with both of
them. We cracked quite a few knuckles during our training
sessions ! )
Today is Tuesday, April 20. I am headed back to San Diego this
Thank you very much for the great seminar, Mr. Harris and the excellent private lesson. The material that you showed was fantastic.
It was also great to see and visit with everyone.
I would also like to thank Adam and Jan for the seminar, place to crash, and the huge amount of food.
I have so much information that I need to work on that I didn't want to see anything new. When Mr. Harris asked me what I wanted to work on for my private lesson I told him that I wanted to roll for 15 minutes and then have him point out a detail. We did this three times and I walked out of my private with only three lines of gems. However I walked out of the 4 hour seminar on Saturday with almost 20 pages of notes. The material was fantastic though so I don't feel bad at all.
I also filmed some of the sparring going on. I got almost 25 minutes of Chris Drechsler-Martell and I rolling. Chris was doing a great job keeping me from passing his guard with some excellent head control and arm entanglement. I filmed ten minutes of Trent rolling with one of Adam's students. This is the first footage I have of Trent rolling and I hope to get more in the future. I also caught a bit of Kyle rolling with Chris Owen. I wish that I had more footage because they were both showing some excellent movement.
I would encourage everyone to stop in the next time Mr. Harris teaches a seminar. The details he gives are priceless.
P.S. Adam and I watched Kyle and Mr. Harris practice some Kalis Ilustrisimo moves from almost on hour while we were all chatting in the kitchen. They're all crazy fanatics. :)
Oh, sure, just because we smile when we get hit on the knuckles, thumb, thigh, or other hand, it makes us fanatics :-)
Seriously, this weekend was incredible. The seminar was excellent, and included a TON of great material. The lessons in BJJ and Kalis Ilustrisimo were also awesome! I would make the drive again for any ONE of those sessions!
Seamus, you have some awesome pressure, my man. If I hadn't been entangling I would have seriously suffered on the bottom.
Kyle, it was awesome seeing you again. Thanks for loosening up my ankles on Sunday :-)
I don't think Trent reads here, but it was awesome to train with him again too. Good luck in your competitions!
Adam, as always, it was wonderful to visit with you and Jan. You guys are amazing hosts! And I am still full this morning from the excellent spaghetti last night!
I am really looking forward to the seminar in Rochester, NY on June 5th & 6th. I can't wait to see everyone again!
PS - "G.I. Hope" says she still can't believe she got a nickname too.
By chance, were there any belt tests or promotions at this seminar?
If you think "knuckle banging" was fun........wait till you put in the HEAD SHOTS!!!!!!
Roy was good enough to stop short of my face with all of his thrusts. I did, nonetheless, get the point (ha). I will have to bring my fencing mask next time so that I can really experience a good beating. :-)
It was good to see you again! Please say hello to
your lovely wife Shannon for me. I missed seeing
her as well.
You have new e-mail.
It was good to see you and G.I. Hope at the
seminar as well. It was also good to hang out with
Regarding Hope's new nickname, tell here that
she is the first female in our association to receive
such an honor ! ) Not even Susan or Sheila have
You have new e-mail as well.
BTW, how are your knuckles? The next time we
train, I will bring my head gear along. That way, we
can train headshots. However, we will still not use
There were four belt promotions during the
seminar. However, I do not have everyone's full
name yet. So, I am waiting until I have all of their
names before I make a public annoucement.
No problem :) Just wanted to see if one of my CT buddies was promoted...
Thank you ALL for your kind words.
Hosting is something that Jan and I REALLY ENJOY!! Bringing together like minded-people for training has brought us some of the deepest and most meaningful friendships we have experienced.
Jan says "Thank you" for the compliments to her spaghetti. For those who haven't had it, it has become "legendary" amongst all of our friends and families.
I want to give a big THANK YOU to Roy for the time spent with us (outside of training), as well as everyone who came to the seminar and supported the event. :-)
I also want to thank Kyle Saunders for the 2 hours of private lessons I had with him. Kyle is a Brown belt in BJJ under Mr. Harris, and his expertise is vast!! I covered several very specific problems I've been having with some people, and I have already SUCCESSFULLY used some of the tips he gave me to overcome a couple of them!
*CHHACCCCCHHHIIIINNNGGGG!!* (private joke)
Chris & Seamus, you guys are ALWAYS welcome, my friends. ANY TIME. Whenever you come to Vermont, you will be fed and have a free place to sleep, without any need for gifts or compensation of any kind!
Roy, once again - a FIRST CLASS seminar presentation, and I got SOOOO much out of my private lessons!! Once again, you have "raised the bar" on the level of details that you show that so few other instructors share. I feel like I have a VERY CLEAR PATH before me to get to that "next level" in my training. My ONLY regret is that time ran short - we did NOT want you to have to go home!!! (Also, I too would like to become a Kalis Ilustrisimo fanatic. :-) I have already begun mimicking the things you and Kyle were doing in the kitchen, as the blisters on my hands will attest!!)
Finally, please check for the PM I sent you on the RoyHarris.com forum, Mr. Harris. It contains the names of those who tested this weekend.
It was also a GREATLY APPRECIATED TREAT to have Mr. Harris take time to join my Monday night class and roll with each and every student, as well as "Twinkletoes" and myself. :-)
I had a great time at the Vermont seminar! The trip up was long, but Jan's spaghetti dinner helped to recharge my batteries. Not to mention the crackers for an appetizer :) I am thankful to Adam and Jan for allowing me to stay at their house.
Roy kept pulling me aside and showing me some new detail or technique on Kalis Illustrisimo throughout the weekend. I think I got an extra privates' worth of info, and his generosity is very much appreciated. I am very stoked about learning Kalis Illustrisimo!
On Saturday Roy was showing escapes, not all of which I was familiar with! It was hard to not try and take two sets of notes, since Roy was having his Grappling Association instructors work on some different material. I also got to roll and chat with Chris Owen, cool guy, who runs the BJJ club at UVM.
On Sunday Roy taught footlock entries and control. All very good stuff! I got to play footlocks with Chris, Trent, and Ryan, which was fun. We all did some rolling at the end of the seminar. Brent(?), the "talker" :), was a tough dude, but fun to roll with! I hope I can stay in as good a shape as him at his age.
Adam, very glad you've been able to apply with success some of the stuff we worked on!
I can't wait for Roy to come to Rochester in June!
You (like ALL Harris Int'l Grappling Association members) ALWAYS have the standing invite at our place. It was a treat to have you! And......... I'll keep you supplied with crackers, my friend! ;-)
I wanted to follow up on the number of notes that I take at a Roy Harris seminar. I posted above that I took 20 pages of notes during the 4 hours that we trained with Mr. Harris.
First I would like to say that I could have easily written twice that number in notes. Because I have trained with Mr. Harris for a number of years I have notes that cover a lot of the basics. On Saturday the Roy Harris East Coast instructors trained with Mr. Harris, off to the side, on the basic cross choke. This is a choke that I already have pages and pages of notes on. When Mr. Harris presented the material I was able to write that which was new to me. From that basic choke I got three more pages of notes.
I write so many notes because of the number of details that Mr. Harris shows. He actually teaches a small number of techniques due to the amount of detail that he shows. I feel that if he were to teach more techniques then we would all be so overwhelmed we wouldn't retain any of it. As it was I saw a lot of glazed looks at about hour 3.
-When I write my notes I set aside the first page of my pad of paper for a list of all of the techniques we will cover. This will help me organize my notes later.
-Each page generally has one technique on it, sometimes two if they are techniques I have been shown before. If I've seen the technique before I don't have to write down the mechanics unless Mr. Harris has refined the mechanics and added or subtracted some steps.
-As Mr. Harris shows the technique for the first time I write my first batch of notes. Then I practice the technique and write my second batch of notes.
-At his point someone usually asks a questions and I write down more of the details that Mr. Harris points out. If there are no questions Mr. Harris will review the technique and of course add more details.
-We usually practice again and --you guessed it -- more details and notes. (Keep in mind this is still only one technique so far.)
-During the second practice I pull my favorite trick (Shhh don't tell Mr. Harris) and ask Mr. Harris to demonstrate on me. This way I get to feel how the technique is supposed to really feel. Of course I immediately take some more notes.
-When I get home I have a whole routine I follow to make sure that the information stays with me.
The list above shows how to get three pages of notes from one technique. Keep in mind that the cross choke is a choke that I have practiced before and I already have a ton of notes on the details that Mr. Harris has shown me. The three pages that I wrote were the new details that I learned.
If I didn't take all of my notes there is no way that I would be able to remember all of the details of the techniques and training methods that Mr. Harris covers. Not only is the quality of the instruction high but the quantity is. Not in the number of techniques, but in the depth of the technique.
I'm actually quite surprised at how many people do not take any notes at all. I only saw one other person, besides the the East Coast instructors, that took notes. This was out of 15 or so people. I can't believe that all of the people not taking notes remember all of the info that Mr. Harris passed out.
Well, that is the most I have ever posted in one post, so I think I will stop after these two items - A story and a piece of advice.
At the very first Roy Harris seminar that I went to there were only two people taking notes. When I got on the mat in preparation to train there was only one person available to train with. Mr. Harris started to show the first technique and we both immediately started to take notes. Mr. Harris finished, told everyone to train, and he and I were still taking notes. We finally stopped, practiced the technique, and took some more notes. The whole seminar went like this. Needless to say we were the only two writing. It's a good thing we worked together. No-one else would have put up with the waiting. At the end of the seminar the fellow that I was working with was promoted to Brown Belt. I thought, "If this guy is taking that many notes as a Brown Belt then I am definitely not going to slack on my notes."
My advice is fairly obvious.
Thanx for reading
Seamus, you and that other fellow must be pretty smart :)
Seamus, that's an awesome explanation of the notes. In my indecipherable scrawl, I managed to take roughly 7 pages for the first day (I put multiple techniques on one page), 6 on the second day, and 4 more from my first private lesson. I love it. I keep re-reading them and finding so many gems that I didn't remember when I got home.
BTW, the guy on the other side of the room taking notes was my student Ryan. He knew in advance to bring paper and pens, especially after attending the seminar with Mr. Harris in CT last year. He took a ton of notes at this seminar, and he had learned several of these techniques before too!
It's all about the notes!