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Instructor of the Year – Vote for a Finalist!


Voting is closed. Click here to see the results!

We were excited to see a torrent of nominations come in from students around the world. Nominations were heartfelt and full of passion as students shared their stories of how their instructors impacted their lives through jiu-jitsu. We truly believe that instructors are the lifeblood of the jiu-jitsu community, and we are happy to play a part in honoring their dedication and their hard work. We believe that they are all deserving of recognition, so we’ve added a list of honorable mentions to the end of this post so that you can see what instructors you should visit as you travel.

On to our finalists. Per our contest rules, five instructors advanced to the finals based on the number of nominations that they received, and five advanced to the finals based on the selection of our panel of judges from Artechoke Media, Open Mat Radio, and r/BJJ. More detailed profiles for these instructors are available below.

Finalists by judge selection:

Finalists by number of nominations:

Instructor Profiles


Pat Watterson

Pat Watterson

Two Sword Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy

Middletown, Rhode Island.

Selected by Marshal from Artechoke Media.

Click here to hear Pat talk about the value of “finding your strong.”

From Marshal:

What first struck me about Watterson’s nominations was that his students nominated him over their head instructor, Abmar Barbosa, a high profile competitor. I don’t say that to suggest that his students are picking favorite, but I think it says a lot about an instructor if he shines just as brightly as a high-profile competitor.

Beyond that, I was struck by Watterson’s willingness to admit his shortcomings in order to demonstrate to others the value of dedication and personal growth (in one of his videos, he discusses his SEAL preparations and admits to being woefully out of shape and unprepared). It’s clear that Watterson uses his own life experiences and life lessons to inform his teaching and to inspire his students. Based on the nominations we received, it seems as though he his making an impact on many lives via his jiu-jitsu instruction.

From Pat’s Students:

Pat is one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met, giving his time and helping people realize that BJJ is a tool to push oneself and make them a better person off the mat. He does this and runs the school while still working full time for the department of homeland security and with a family and young child. -Sean Rooney

Our club is a combination of people who live permanently in the Newport, RI area and military personnel who are stationed at the Naval Base and War College here for only one to two years at a time. So there is a lot of built in turn over here, but Pat has managed to keep our club thriving, while at the same time creating an important community for all involved. -John Greco


Emily Kwok
Emily Kwok

Emily Kwok

Princeton Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Princeton, New Jersey

Selected by Patrick from r/BJJ.

Click here to watch a video of Emily Kwok teaching grip fighting with Stephan Kesting.

From Patrick:

BJJ and grappling in general have been the solely in the domain of men for centuries. Only recently has it become accepted that women may train along-side men, and now also teach them. Ms. Kwok is an excellent example that within the BJJ community we follow those who are best suited to lead, who has the technical knowledge and who can execute what they teach, to great success.

Through her competition success, instructional videos and growing academy Ms. Kwok is growing our sport laterally, and making it clear that solid technique can conquer untrained size and strength.

From Emily’s students:

From the first time I contacted Emily about joining PBJJ, I knew it would be the best place for me to train. I had trained at other schools and missed the family feeling I had gotten at my first school. From the first month I signed up, I had gotten a nasty eye injury (off the mats) Emily emailed and texted to check up on me. This was the first time I have had an instructor see why I had not been on the mats. Flash forward to training at PBJJ for a year and during competition training I tore my ACL. The concern that Emily/Art showed as well as the rest of the coaches and my team mates is why she is instructor of the year.

The family bond and close knit community feeling you receive while getting world class instruction is awesome. Also, Art Keintz is really one of the best kept secrets in BJJ he just has a wealth of knowledge and is just an all around awesome person, but totally not as cool as me :). I am now wishing I didn’t write this because the urge t o go to the gym is so strong and I am still rehabbing my ACL. I have avoided the gym because I know it will be painful to not train while I am there, but the pull of these strong bonds I have made there, tell me I should stop in. -Damien Castagne


Ostap Manastyrski
Ostap Manastyrski

Ostap Manastyrski 

Open Mat MMA

Toronto, Canada

Selected by Scott from r/BJJ.

Click here to view Ostap’s BJJ breakdown channel.

From Scott:

This one may be a bit of a “dark horse” since Ostap is a brown belt, but his dedication to creating high-quality break-down videos shows that his passion for teaching doesn’t end at the door to his school. Even though there are many instructional videos being produced by big names around the globe, he stands out in the crowd by creating play-by-play analysis of high-level matches. The result is a library of techniques and game plans that are broken down in easy to digest tidbits which is the goal of every instructor.

From Ostap’s students:

Ostap is extremely technical and explains the techniques he teaches in an efficient manner. He is always willing to lend a hand to even the whitest of the white belts (me!) and also have enough details so higher level belts can learn a thing or two. On top of all this, he has a YouTube channel where he breaks down top level tournaments and gives the rest of us some insights on how their techniques work. -Kelvin Lau

Ostap has an incredible gift of analysis that he easily translates to practicality. His classes are fairly high-paced as well. -Marko



Alan “Gumby” Marques

Heroes Martial Arts

San Jose, California.

Selected by Paul from Open Mat Radio.

From Paul:

So I’ll leave the east coast as it’s getting some good attention and make my nomination for Alan “Gumby” Marques. Gumby has a crazy amount of reasons why he could win. Old school Ralph Gracie team, founder of OTM, has supported more events/athletes/gyms than almost anyone, and does almost all of it behind the scenes.

From Gumby’s students:

There are alot of reasons why Gumby should be instructor of the year. First off I like his teaching style his instructions are clear and direct. He can vocally coach/instruct a wide range of students from kids to adults without all that added pressure about competing. -Eric McEwen


Paul Schreiner

Paul Schreiner

Marcelo Garcia Academy

New York, New York.

Selected by Matt from Artechoke Media.

Click here to watch a profile video of Paul.

From Matt:

 I’m going with Paul Schriener. He has shown himself to be an accomplished instructor as he stepped up at the NY academy during this very difficult year for Marcelo. Through his increased appearance on, the rest of us have had a chance to experience his ability to communicate both concepts and specific details of fundamentals or advanced techniques.

I remember when Marcelo first opened his academy in NY, people questioned if he could produce top talent, since being a successful competitor doesn’t guarantee you’re a good teacher. After watching the last Mundials and seeing the monsters at purple and brown belt with MG patches on their backs, I think that question is being answered, and Paul’s efforts certainly have a lot to do with that.

From Paul’s students:

Paul’s understanding of the technical aspects of jiu jitsu, including physics, blends seamlessly with his understanding of the self-defense uses and the sport rules, to make for the best teaching experience out there. The jiu jitsu level at the school is universally accepted at the peak of the sport. And in a rough year for Marcelo, Paul picked up what little slack Marcelo may have left and didn’t miss a beat. -Andrew Leftt

Bruno Tostes

Bruno Tostes

Renzo Gracie Academy Latham

Latham, New York.

Selected by number of nominations.

Click here to view the YouTube channel from Bruno’s academy.

From Bruno’s Students:

I have known Bruno Tostes for approximately 8 years. He has instructed my daughter and son for that entire time. During that time he has taught my children many life lessons, developed their characters into being productive members of society, shown them how to earn respect and how to give it, and always had time to be there for them no matter what the situation is. -Pauly Szesnat

Bruno came to the States with nothing, just some money and a dream to succeed. He has always worked hard and is always the hardest worker on the mats. -Dave M.

Ultimately what I’m saying is that my professor deserves to be nominated for Instructor of the Year because he changes lives. Professor Bruno has started initiatives of donating clothing to homeless shelters, food drives, charity events, encouraging our members to find other ways to help out around our community, challenging the kids of our academy to come up with their own civil actions. -Veronica Gbur

He recently told me, “At this Academy we are a tribe, and together we are stronger.” He is the ultimate personification of BJJ: peaceful, strong (in mind and body), balanced, accepting, and compassionate. -Jennifer Gbur


Robert Biernacki
Robert Biernacki

Robert Biernacki

Island Top Team

Nanaimo (Vancouver Island), Canada.

Selected by number of nominations.

Click here to view the YouTube channel for Robert’s academy.

From Robert’s Students:

I am certain that Professor Robert Biernacki is one of the best Jiu-Jitsu instructors of our time. […] Robert has built a community that includes world class competitors, an environment that encourages positivity and learning, along with a genuine foundation set up to allow for the continual improvement of people’s lives through the art of Jiu Jitsu. -Cal McDonald

He supports his students. If a student is doing a fundraiser he attends and he encourages us to as well. We had a blindfolded bjj day for one of our guys who can’t see on his bday – it was a small thing but meaningful. He does free self defence workshops for women as a community service. -James Bowen

I feel Rob deserves the Instructor of the Year award for his dedication and passion to the art, and the way he humbly seeks to improve the lives of others by sharing his knowledge. -Marcel Scheier

Professor Rob also gives back to the local and BJJ/MMA communities in many ways. Professor Rob has a Visiting Students Program where he provides accommodations and transportation to students from out of town that are coming to seek world-class instruction. -Umesh Thillaivasan


Paul Creighton
Paul Creighton

Paul Creighton

Creighton MMA & Fitness Academy

Suwanee, Georgia

Selected by number of nominations.

Click here to watch one of Paul’s no-gi seminars.

From Paul’s students:

No matter who you are, Paul treats everyone with the same welcoming smile and genuine concern for your development. He meets you where you are on your own journey and helps you accomplish the goals you set. -Alison Caldwell

Paul Creighton changes lives everyday. He is the guy you go to the gym to see. He is the coach and friend that shows you why he loves jiu-jitsu every time he steps on the mat. -Shaun Scruggs

He Wrestled his whole life, was a Junior Olympic Gold Medalist, Abu Dhabi Alternate, trained with Mike Tyson’s trainer Keven Rooney, Mauy Thai at Tiger Academy in Thailand and Black Belt under legendary Renzo Gracie. Also has Bachelors Degree in Health Science and passionate about health, nutrition and fitness. -David Smith

He has proven his selfless involvement in the sport by helping two other BJJ Blackbelts and training partners open up their own schools in the Atlanta area. (Buckhead BJJ and Helix BJJ). It is easy to create your own empire and build your affiliation but it is quite another to encourage students and training partners to go their own way and start schools just to spread the art. -Tom Crowley


Seth Shamp

Seth Shamp

Triangle Jiu-Jitsu Academy

Durham, North Carolina

Selected by number of nominations.

Click here to watch Seth’s black belt ceremony.

From Seth’s students:

Seth uses jiu-jitsu as a tool to improve himself, and as a tool for his students to become better people. When I first started training with Seth four years ago, he always talked about wanting to grow as a martial artist. I didn’t fully understand what he meant until perhaps a year ago. Seth takes the old martial virtues very seriously. He stresses attitude first, avoiding conflict and being a good person. […]  I’ve seen him go the extra mile for a student on countless occasions, be that through encouragement, through making allowances during a student’s rough patch, or through mindful specifically-tailored instruction. -Jeff Shaw

He makes his gym a welcoming place for women, which is evidenced by TJJ’s incredibly strong representation in women’s divisions in the Southeast and around the world. He teaches honor, humility, balance, respect, and dedication. He supports his students in every step of their development, and is a warm, approachable coach. -Maria Ruatoo

Couple of month after receiving his black belt Seth Shamp competed in 2014 world championships battling and losing only on points against Maurilo Santana that ended up submitting everyone and going into finals!! -Andre Alexandrov


Danny Savery
Danny Savery

Danny Savery

South Coast Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Fall River, Massachusetts

Selected by number of nominations.

Click here to view Danny’s YouTube channel.

From Danny’s Students:

He left a career as a police officer in the town of Tiverton, RI to pursue his passion of teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He is a first degree black belt in BJJ and a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Danny is very dedicated and hands on. He teaches every class at his gym and pays close attention to all of his students. -Ben Piela

I have been Training BJJ for 10 years now, with Danny Savery being my head coach for the last 4. In that time under his instruction I have improved more than at any other point in my career. His commitment to go above and beyond for his students is quite apparent from the minute you walk in his door and observe a class. -Dave Parker

Danny continues to excel in the art of jiu jitsu and provides high quality instruction on a daily basis. He is a man who many individuals like myself look up to and can rely on not just for technique, but also for everyday life. He is very caring to each and every student and meets everyones individual needs. The continued dedication and hard work that instructor Danny displays is not matched by any individual I know. -Brian M.

Instructor Savery is very knowledgeable in the sport of Jiu-Jitsu. He is an amazing mentor, and makes it easy to learn most techniques with little difficulty. His way of teaching makes it hard to go to other instructor’s videos and learn from them. -Daniel Ares Savery Jr.


 Honorable Mentions

(In no particular order)

Dennis Sugure, Tai Kai Jiu-Jitsu. Liverpool, New York.
Derek Stewart, S.I.M.S. Martial Arts Academy, Omaha, Newbraska.
Damian Hirtz, Alliance MN. Edina, Minnesota.
Ulpiano Malachias, Gracie Barra West Chase. Houston, Texas.
Luigi Mondelli, American Top Team Connecticut. Rear Danbury, Connecticut.
Leticia Ribeiro, Leticia Ribeiro BJJ Team.
Kev Capel, Roger Gracie Academy Buckinghamshire. Aylesbury, United Kingdom.
Daniel O’Brien, Triad Martial Arts. Cullman, Alabama.
Liam Resnekov, VT1 Sydney. Chatswood, New South Wales.
Michael Simpson, North Sound BJJ. Lake Stevens, Washington.
Michael Casey, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu New York. Bronx, New York.
Roberto Traven, Roberto Traven BJJ.
Kurt Osiander, Ralph Gracie San Francisco. San Francisco, California.
Seph Smith, Fifty/50 BJJ. Falls Church, Virginia.
Ian Malone, Origin Jiu-Jitsu. New Castle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.
Josh Childress, Ultimate Performance of Pueblo. Pueblo, Colorado.
Roberto Maia, Boston Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Newton, Massachusetts.
Julio Felix Lang, Higher Ground Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Rowland Heights, California.
Clark Gracie, Gracie La Jolla Academy, La Jolla, California.
Jeff Mitchell, Elite Jiu-Jitsu. Newark, Delaware.
Marcelo Garcia, Marcelo Garcia Academy. New York, New York.
Romulo Barral, Gracie Barra Northridge. Northridge, California.
Kevin Watson, Kevin Watson Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

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The 2014 Instructor of the Year Contest, Presented by Artechoke Media, Open Mat Radio, and r/BJJ


Nominations have officially closed. Please check back on Sept. 16 to read about and vote for one of the finalists.


So often the conversations occurring in BJJ communities around the world, on and offline center around competitors—who is winning what tournaments and what techniques they are using to find success. The toil of competitive jiu-jiteiros has done a lot for the technical advancement of our sport, and having these competitors to model our training after has helped to push many of us to achieve new milestones in our training.

At the same time, our focus on awarding top competitors with trophies and distinctions has taken the spotlight away from the heroes in the sport that work in a different way to grow the art of jiu-jitsu: instructors.

Many of the best instructors are not famous. They do not have highlight videos. They are not featured in documentaries or on podcasts. But they change lives. They dedicate their lives to their academies and their students, working tireless to spread the art and to better the lives that they touch.

Artechoke Media, Open Mat Radio, and r/BJJ have joined forces to help shine the spotlight on some of these heroes.

The Instructor of the Year award is designed to highlight the instructors who are going above and beyond to serve their students and their communities. The goal is not to highlight the individuals who have forged a reputation via competition—many avenues for this exist already—but rather who have inspired students to train jiu-jitsu and to become better people.

The 2014 Instructor of the Year Award includes:

  • An engraved crystal award commemorating the achievement
  • A framed award poster suitable for display
  • An interview with Open Mat Radio
  • An in-depth feature on
  • Marketing consulting for the instructor’s gym (via Artechoke)

The contest is broken into 2 phases:

  • Phase 1: Nominations
  • Phase 2: Voting

Phase 1: How to Nominate an Instructor:

Your nomination should include…

  • Your instructor’s name, rank, and affiliation
  • Your instructor’s email address and school website
  • Your own name and rank
  • Why you feel your instructor deserves the distinction of being Instructor of the Year
  • Optional: A video of your nomination, photos of you and your instructor, videos of your instructor teaching or working with students, any other media that might be relevant (newspaper clips, television appearances, etc).
  • Note: Your nomination may be shared publically if your instructor is a finalist.

Instructors can be nominated more than once (and we encourage it) as long as the nominations are unique. No copy/pasting and one nomination per person, please. Once you have collected the above information, click here to submit your nomination.  Nominations have officially closed. Please check back on Sept. 16 to read about and vote for one of the finalists.

Nominations will close at 1pm EST on Sept. 12.

Phase 2: How to Vote for a Finalist

Five instructors will advance to the finals based on the number of unique nominations that they receive, and five instructors will advance based on the evaluation of our judges, making for a total of ten Instructor of the Year finalists. Note: our judge’s instructors are not eligible to win this contest for the sake of eliminating bias.

Our judges:

From Artechoke Media:

  • Marshal D. Carper
  • Matt Kirtley

From Open Mat Radio:

  • Paul Moran

From r/bjj:

  • UncleSkippy
  • cresquin

Voting for finalists will begin on Sept. 16 and continue through Sept. 23. Winners will be announced on Sept. 25.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Artechoke Media. In the meantime, get your nominations together and share this contest with your friends to encourage them to nominate instructors as well. BJJ instructors deserve our support! Click here to get started.

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This is What Happens When a White Belt Learns the Reverse Omoplata


The reverse omoplata has a sordid reputation in the jiu-jitsu world. In one breath, jiu-jiteiros often dismiss the reverse omoplata as a technique that is too flashy, too complicated, and too dangerous to be reliably effective and therefore worth teaching to students.

But what happens when a white belt learns the reverse omoplata?

We have two case studies on that front, the first being Matt Kirtley (Aesopian). He learned the technique as a white belt, sparking the crucifix obsession that later lead to his writing his definitive crucifix instructional. While Matt’s story is interesting, the more curious story is the story of a white belt, Seiji Sugiman-Marangos that learned the reverse omoplata by reading Matt’s blog. If the reverse omoplata is as absurd and dangerous and many say it is, surely this story ends in disaster.

Here is what Seiji, who trains under Franco/Behring Jiu Jitsu, had to say:

I first came across Matt’s (Aeso) rants on the virtues of the crucifix position and reverse omoplata as a white belt with less than a year’s experience in jiujitsu. I thought that the technique looked really cool and began looking for the position during rolling. It wasn’t until I used the technique to win a match while I was still a white belt that I started taking the position seriously and began corresponding with Matt to troubleshoot the technique as well as working with my coaches: Shah Franco, Marco Costa and Richard Nancoo, on integrating it into my game. For the past few years I’ve slowly been accumulating wins by reverse omoplata in the blue and purple belt divisions of the local tournament circuit.

Here is Seiji hitting the reverse omoplata in a purple belt gi match (if you’d like to see him hitting it earlier in his career, check out this video and this video).

The whole match is pretty good, and you can watch it here. What this match helps to illustrate is that the reverse omoplata, and crucifix in general, is not an outlandish move. The opportunity to use it is open any time you are in side ride attacking the turtle. Sometimes your opponent makes a mistake and gives it to you quickly, and sometimes you need to slowly and steadily work your way into the set-up just like you would any other submission. In this particular match, Seiji catches the crucifix in a scramble probably because his opponent wasn’t used to having to protect his arms from being trapped when he turtles.

But Seiji hasn’t just used the reverse omoplata in jiu-jitsu tournaments. He’s used it in professional MMA as well, showing both the versatility and practicality of the reverse omoplata. Here’s what he said about it:

Ever since I had my first professional MMA bout last year I’ve had the thought in the back of my mind that one day I’d like to finish a fight by reverse omoplata. During my most recent fight, hitting the technique was the furthest thing from my mind, but when I felt my opponent’s arm grab my leg I went to the position instinctively. After executing the technique I think I was probably as surprised as my opponent as well as everyone else in attendance.

Here it is in action (and this is the full video if you’re interested):

In this match, Seiji’s opponent again makes a crucial mistake, and Seiji has the instincts to instantly trap and isolate the arm, protecting him from a takedown while setting him up for the finishing rolling. If he had not been drilling the crucifix for much of his career, the opportunity to end the fight may have passed him by. In reality, the mistake that Seiji’s opponent makes nears the level of leaving a head and arm between your opponent’s legs. With a quick shift of the hips, Seiji has multiple attacks at his disposal, the reverse omoplata being one of them.

And that’s really what the crucifix game is about. It fills a hole in your game that you may not know you have. Suddenly, you find yourself having options that you never noticed before, making you a more effective, more dangerous grappler. It’s not a gimmick, and Seiji agrees:

The reverse omoplata is not a complicated or gimmicky move (most people learn how to front roll in their first BJJ class). Although it may appear risky, I find that the most difficult part of the technique is the initial arm trap and not the roll-through, which is where you risk losing dominant position. I wouldn’t advocate giving up back control with hooks (although I have been tempted in the past) but the reverse omoplata has been one of my main options from side-ride for almost as long as I have been training.

Don’t pass up on a position just because it looks unusual, especially if legitimate grapplers and instructors have made it a regular part of the game. In the case of the crucifix, if Matt’s word is not enough to sway you, don’t forget that competitors like Marcelo Garcia and Baret Yoshida are crucifix enthusiasts as well.

Whether you’re a new student or a veteran grappler, the crucifix and reverse omoplata has a place in your jiu-jitsu education.


Mastering the CrucifixMastering the Crucifix by Matt Kirtley captures a complete system for the crucifix and reverse omoplata, fully integrating this under-used position into a well-rounded arsenal. Read all of Chapter 2 for free. You can decide to purchase after studying over 20 techniques delivered using the unique Artechoke model that combines the best features of books, DVDs, and apps into a singular instructional. No sleazy sales tricks or gimmicks. Buy the complete product for $39.95.
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One of My Students Got in a Fight

teaching a class

I know that we’re in the heat of promoting Mastering the Crucifix by Matt “Aesopian” Kirtley, and that’s still important. You should definitely read the free chapter and then buy the full book. That said, one of my students got into a fight recently. I want to talk about that.

The context: Jenko (not his real name) trained with me for about three years in the off and on way that students at a University club do. He was one of the most consistent students I had, but summer and winter breaks interrupted his training. Regardless, Jenko would come back every semester eager to learn and ready to work. Near the end of his undergraduate career, he enrolled in a police internship program, went through the academy, and is now working full-time as a police officer.

When I say that Jenko got in a fight, he was on duty. He wasn’t dojo-storming or defending the honor of spilled beer at a dive bar. His fight was mostly unavoidable, an occupational hazard, but Jenko is a young guy, and he is relatively new to the force. An actual fight with a drug addict is a scary thing in this context.

Here is the first text that Jenko sent me:

I got in a scuffle last night at work, and I walked away without a scratch, and the other guy went to the hospital. I just wanted to let you know I really appreciate the time and effort you put into teaching all of us. The little bit of self-defense training we got at the academy down here was completely worthless. If I went in there with just what the department taught us I probably would get my ass kicked and have hepatitis.”

Jenko is a bit of a comedian at times, but I asked him to tell me more because while I’ve had a few students use their jiu-jitsu to defend themselves, none of those instances were as serious as the situation Jenko had been in. Jenko was breaking up a parking lot fight and the aggressor turned his rage on him. Jenko subdued him and pinned him with a “knee on back” position while the offender continued trying to flail and spit blood at Jenko and his partner.

I asked Jenko if he was scared (because I am a touchy feely emotional guy like that). His response:

I feel like I’ve been able to handle myself in these situations with more confidence, and as a result I’ve been able to keep a little cooler head than some of the other guys, which means I’ve probably done less physical damage to the offenders I’ve come in contact with than maybe someone else would have.”

In one sentence, Jenko summed up one of my favorite things about jiu-jitsu: you get used to the stress of someone actively trying to harm you, making it easier for you to remain rational and in control. For me, this has extended into my personal and professional life. I am much slower to anger in all cases and am thus better equipped to make the smarter, strategic decision where the pre-jiu-jitsu version of me would have acted out of anger or fear. Whether you’re a cop, a bouncer, or a librarian, this is a valuable skill.

I can’t explain how happy I am that Jenko has been able to stay safe, and I hope that his story will help to motivate other people to train as well.

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Sherdog User Gambledub Praises Mastering the Crucifix

SherdogLogoLargerImageWith review copies of Mastering the Crucifix still en route to jiu-jitsu bloggers, we were pleasantly surprised to see that Sherdog user Gambledub took the time to write an extensive, in-depth review of Mastering the Crucifix. While we recommend reading the review in full, here are some highlights.

About our use of looped GIFs:

The GIF’s are brilliant, I like how multiple angles are shown, and how Matt and Marshal also show troubleshooting (failing) aspects as well. This makes it a really handy feature as a skim through to show you how to do the technique, while reinforcing the critical aspects of the technique. I could see it being really handy in situations at the gym if I had it on my phone for quickly getting the important points ingrained before drilling/rolling etc. I also like how GIF’s focusing on different positions such as in the side ride section; the last frame has been extended to clearly show the emphasis on the final position.

Regarding the Artechoke model as a whole:

The format Matt and Marshal have gone for, has worked far better than I expected. You have the instructional videos, but chaptered like a book so there is no guessing times on DVD players or VLC etc. However unlike a book there are GIF’s and videos rather than comic book strips of techniques which are difficult to extract timing and subtle movements from. I really hope Artechoke have set a trend for the future of BJJ instructionals. I really believe they have set a new benchmark! Add that to the fact its online and I can access it anywhere from my phone, this is next level stuff!

Sherdog user DocSooner chimes in about our price-point:

I’ve only started working through it last night but will agree that so far this is an excellent product, and ridiculous at the price.

And HEAVY GRAPPLER commented about the format as well:

I am just looking through the free materials and that gif format is rad. That’s how i want all instructionals to look. I am always the guy asking to see the technique one more time.

Seeing this feedback is incredibly humbling. Artechoke has been a labor of love and passion, and nothing makes us happier than seeing jiu-jiteiros enjoy our content. We’re looking forward to refining our product with each release and pushing the instructional envelope further and further. Special thanks to Gambledub for starting this conversation.

Read the full thread or skip right to purchasing your copy of Mastering the Crucifix.