Continuing my story. I knew that I found a way to get my roll fix and learn a great self defense strategy. Combative training using the Gracie techniques.
I used the Gracie University student location tool to help me find training partners. I was able to find three other BJJ practioners in the area that started at FVGC! Two of them (Steve and Roger) were already training together and were about 75% through the lessons and were going to be testing for their Blue Belts for Gracie. What was interesting is that Steve is already a Blue Belt through FVGC, but decided that it was worth starting over and doing the Blue Belt Qualification test through the Gracie Combatives. The third practitioner, Jarrod, is now able to join me and one of my TKD classmates for our own combative training sessions.
The combatives have you learn techniques that would address issues from opponents that know a little to almost no type of combat/martial arts training. The Gracie Academy has developed video learning interactive training to learn techniques that are geared toward opponents that have much more training, especially training in BJJ.
When I started, I initially wondered if my background in TKD, Hapkido and Judo would get in the way of practicing the combatives. Would I have to be conscious that they are geared towards the brawler, un-trained type of opponent. In fact, to keep the lessons, reflex drills and fight simulations as close to real as possible, Ryron and Rener recommend specific bad guy actions.
What my training partners and I found is that a background in any other martial art that is non-grappling oriented, is not really helpful for the bad guy and not really a hinderance for the good guy to learn the techniques. It did take some getting used to for the grappling minds in the room. To help negate some of our almost instinctual grappling response to the techniques, we started using boxing gloves to limit our grabbing. It also allowed us to add a realism to the bad guy response and incorporate the kinds of punching and striking that someone would try if they got caught on the ground.
I'll tell you what, getting caught with a big left hook from the ground while trying to set up a triangle choke helps you understand the openings you may have in your defense when practicing BJJ techniques for self-defense! Make that two big left hooks.