Global Training Report
With Walt Bayless
Reviewed by Roberto Pedreira
Walt Bayless has more black belts than Helio Gracie and all of his sons combined. Helio has one, Royler has two, Rorion, Relson, Rickson, Rolker, and Royce have one each, and Robin doesnft have any. Walt has nine and one of them is a fourth degree jiu-jitsu black belt. Walt doesn't mention where he got it. It wasn't from the Gracies, obviously.@
Walt thinks the Gracies are being stingy with the black belts they award. gIt shouldnft take 6-7 years to get a black belth, he complained in one ad. You can get black belts in Taekwondo, Tangsudo, and Hapkido in Korea in less than one year. I know because I did it and I know a lot of people who did it too. None of us could fight of course. On the contrary, we were less able to fight after studying those estimable and illustrious Korean martial arts than before. But we had belts and certificates and that was the important thing. No sane person is going to mess with a man who has Taekwondo black belt and a certificate to back it up.
Walt's tapes are a mixture of wrestling, judo, sambo, and a little basic Gracie Jiu-jitsu ®. He teaches the moves with t-shirt rather than gi, saying that if you can do it without a gi you can do it with a gi but not vice versa. Itfs true you canft do a collar choke if your opponent doesn't have a collar. Thatfs like saying you can't do an armlock if he doesnft have an arm. First you have to know a technique and then you have to use the good judgment that comes from experience to decide when, where, how, or whether, to apply it. The fact that guys on the beach don't usually wear shirts doesnft mean collar chokes arenft worth knowing. What do muggers wear where you live? But in a UFC or other vale tudo type event, no one wears a gi you say? (Actually, quite a few have worn them). Walt tries to distinguish between street combat jiu-jitsu and competition jiu-jitsu. I find this questionable. Do you really think you are going to have to worry about passing the closed guard of someone in a street fight? What do you think the probability is that someone who is better at jiu-jitsu than you are is going to attack you on a beach where you live?
Guys who are good at fighting generally donft fight for free (although there's always the counter example of Ryan Gracie). The chances that someone with a jiu-jitsu black belt (I mean the kind that he didnft give himself) is going to pick a fight with you out of the blue are remote. My point is that you donft need to learn only moves that would work on champions. Moves that work on ordinary guys have their place too, because these are the guys who are going to be attacking you. It pays to be versatile.
It may sound like I donft like Waltfs tapes. Not true. The tapes are not bad. Therefs a mix of extremely basic moves, along with some variations and set-ups that are subtle and sophisticated. A Gracie purple belt of my acquaintance said he found several moves that were new, interesting, and looked easy to learn and do. He tried them and they worked well.
Vol. 1 Take-downs and Throws
2. Hip throw
3. Sit back
4. Hook and drive laterally
5. Over under
6. Seoi nage shoulder throw
7. From wrestler's tie up, 2 on 1 to osoto gari
8. Set up for duck under to shoulder choke with osoto gari option
9. Set up for high crotch
10. Hip throw with head handle
11. Bulgarian headlock
12. Variation on #11
Waltfs vocabulary, selection of techniques, and the spin he puts on them, testify to his wrestling background. These are not secret state- of - the - art moves recently developed in Botafogo or Barra da Ticuca. They are however serviceable, and work with or without a gi. Walt devotes a fair amount of his teaching to set-ups, which strangely tend to be neglected on most tapes – strangely, because no move works without a set-up, and the better the set-up, the better it works. You could do a lot worse than Waltfs version of these mostly basic techniques. I especially liked his approach to closing the gap, which would be the way to go in the chaos of a brawl as well as a Dog Brothers stick fight. He does a nice job of connecting the moves. You try a hip throw, opponent does the logical defense, you exploit his revised body position to go to a different take-down.
Vol. 2 Upper Body Locks
1. Gooseneck wristlock from mount
2. Variation on #1
3. Fig. 4 from mount
4. Juji from mount
5. Arm wrap to juji from mount
6. Arm wrap to shoulder lock from mount
7. Juji from side
8. Kimura from side
9. Ude gatame (reverse arm lock) lock from knee up
10. Step around juji (flip flop) from knee up
11. Near side juji from knee up
12. Near arm lock from sit out
13. Far arm lock from sit out
14. Straight arm lock from kesa
15. "American lock" from kesa
16. Chicken wing (Kimura, ude garami) from guard
17. Armlock from guard
18. Armlock from guard
These are the basic techniques that everyone already knows. Walt shows some nice adjustments that help overcome your opponentfs defenses against them.
Vol. 3 Leg Locks
1. Ankle lock
2. Heel hook
3. Knee bar
4. Heel hook from side
5. Outside knee lock
6. Knee pinch from guard
7. Defensive heel hook
8. Defensive knee lock
9. Judo knee pinch
Ifm not a fan of leg locks. Basically, they are too dangerous. The knee is an unstable joint and it is easy to injure it. Tendons and ligaments heal slowly. Surgery is expensive. The recuperation period involves a lot of pain, discomfort, and training downtime. Knee bars are a fad now in Brazil. Rodrigo Comprido was eliminated early in his own division in the 99 Mundial but took the gold in the absoluto division, defeating Mario Sperry, Roleta, and Leo Leite, all with ankle locks. Maybe it stems for the demand from America to have leg locks on videos. But in the past, leg locks were and basically still are considered a cheap way to win. If the match is so close that itfs your only way to pull a victory out, or if you are little Yuki Nakai fighting three huge kick boxers back to back, then ok. Otherwise, stay away from the feet (obviously, your chances of eating a " pedalada", like Oleg did against Renzo, or Jerry Bohlander against Murilo Bustamente, are quite good if the fight does not prohibit them and you are trying to grab your opponent's feet). Nevertheless, itfs good to know leg locks, if only to avoid being caught in them. I found Waltfs selection and presentation more than adequate, unless maybe you want to specialize in sambo or shooto.
Vol. 4 Chokes without a Gi
1. Scissor choke ( Brazilians call this Ezekiel, after the guy who showed them how to do it; he learned from an old judo book, according to Romero Jacare). You can finish your opponent with Ezekiel even from inside his guard, if he is naïve enough to let you get your arms in position to do it; after hefs been caught this way once, he wonft let it happen again.
2. Knuckle choke (ryote jime)
3. Shoulder choke ( kata gatame, which is a pinning position, but it is possible to choke too).
4. Side scissor cobra choke (there is a much simpler version that probably works about as well.)
5. Clamp choke from side (Nick Starks calls this a Gokor choke, Keith Shwartz calls it a baseball choke, the Brazilians donft have a name for it, and the Japanese judo players donft use it. Walt does it without gi, but it can be done with gi too, starting from side position, rotating to Kami shiho (or north south) position.
6. Shoulder choke from headlock (same # 3)
7. Shoulder choke from guard (same as # 3)
8. Triangle from guard
The shoulder choke is shown three times, varying only the position. This tape is a bit skimpy on material. Maybe this is why Walt thinks it shouldnft take so long to get a jiu-jitsu black belt. Walt believes chokes are the best way to finish fights, based on his 23 years of experience in the martial arts – he keeps mentioning that. Oddly, he doesnft teach the king of chokes, the rear naked (judofs hadaka jime, jiu-jitsufs mata leao, pro wrestlingfs rear sleeper). One reason itfs odd is because Walt is teaching techniques that will work in grealg fights, and as he says, 95 to 98 percent of real fights end up on the ground (does that sound familiar? I wonder where Walt learned his jiu-jitsu techniques.) So how do you gwing a real fight if you crush his larynx because he doesnft know hefs supposed to tap and you either go to prison for involuntary manslaughter or spend a tremendous amount of time, energy, and money tied up in the criminal justice system trying to stay out of prison? Is Walt assuming every street brawler and drunk will know to tap? Forget it. Thatfs why carotid chokes rule. Opponent goes peacefully to sleep and you walk away a free man. Having said that, I will go on to say that I am quite sure no one in the history of any martial art has ever learned how to correctly execute a rear naked choke by reading a book or watching a video.
Vol. 5 Escapes and Reversals
1. Passing guard with one arm under leg
2. Passing guard with two arms under legs
3. Passing guard by dropping knee over leg
4. Escaping mount (this is a variation on the standard uupah; however, if you have ever invited a sweaty 300 lb. power lifter in a tank top to sit on your chest in Pattaya, Thailand, so that you can demonstrate the uupah, youfll appreciate Waltfs version of this move).
5. Cover and Pry (this is the standard elbow escape, but Walt adds a second move at the end)
3. Ankle lock after escaping mount
4. Escaping guillotine on knees, replacing opponent into guard and making chicken wing
5. Rear body lock reversal (ura nage)
6. Headlock throw as a counter to a side body lock
7. Sagging sit out headlock
For death matches and mortal combat in the streets, I donft think you are going to get much mileage out of the guard passing part. If your opponent can punch, keeping him close is a good thing to do. If he can also bite, maybe itfs not so good. At least, you have to be careful about where his teeth are. If he bites your nose or any part of your face or ears off, my friend, you may win the fight but you are never going to look the same again. Many rounds of expensive, painful, and dangerous cosmetic reconstruction will make you look more like a normal person, but compared to you, Tank Abbot will look like Brad Cruise. Doing juji gatame armlocks in a street fight is ok if you have room to stretch out and a bunch of bystanders can resist the temptation to take a kick at your head (unlikely elsewhere than on a beach in Rio).
The techniques are not numbered on the tapes. Few tapes do this. In some cases, itfs impossible due to the nature of what is being taught and how it is being taught (as on the Mario Sperry tapes). But if individual, named techniques are being taught, it would be helpful to have them numbered so we could more easily locate those we want to review. It would also be helpful to have the techniques listed by number on the box. The only set that I know of that does this is the Keith Schwartz judo series, which is excellent and cheap (on a per technique, per tape basis). Waltfs tapes are short, but there are no slow motion replays or replays of any kind. He gets to the point and sensibly advises you to rewind the tape yourself if you need to. Do it as many times as you need to too, he says, and watch it also on slo mo if thatfs your particular cup of tea. Except for the intro, there is no music on Waltfs tapes, which is good. The sound quality isnft so good, which is bad. The tapes were filmed in a room in a community center or maybe the local junior high school. I guess Walt doesnft have his own academy. On one or two tapes you can barely hear him over the sounds of the girlsf volleyball team practicing in the next room. Walt is relaxed. He sounds as though he has had experience coaching high school wrestlers or possibly is emulating his own coach. He doesnft claim to be a champion of anything, which is good. He does claim to have a 4th degree black belt in jiu-jitsu without substantiating it, which is bad. On one tape he and his assistant Darren Lopez fall into a giggling fit and can barely focus on the technique they are trying to demonstrate. Thatfs not good.
The material is solid and Walt obviously knows what he is doing. He is not a mat magician or a tatame tactician. Power is part of his game, although at 180 lbs. he isnft a Hammer or a Specimen. On the other hand, to be fair, power is also a big part of Mario Sperryfs game, and many other successful Brazilians. If power is one of your assets, you'd be profligate not to use it. But if you are a DeLaRiva or Royler type, you need a greater emphasis on technique, to make the more limited power you do have work effectively. Walt isnft Mark Kerr. The techniques on Waltfs tapes would work for most average size people against opponents who are not too much bigger, or if they are, donft know much. If you want tapes that will teach you how to defeat Rickson or Tom Erickson, continue looking.
ASF 3909 S. 4800 W. West Valley City, UT 84120
$99.95 (Waltfs second tape set Quick Kills is included free.)
© 2000 by Roberto Pedreira. All Rights Reserved.