This kind lady was so nice to bring her DVD over when she visited Malaysia and we watched it together every night like a bunch of high school girls at a sleep over.
So what’s the DVD about? Well as the name implies, Emily Kwok shares techniques from her game that have a high percentage rate even against bigger and stronger opponents. Emily Kwok just to give size comparison is 5ft 4” and competes at 135pounds. I can definitely relate to Emily because I’m 5ft 5” at 120 pounds. Emily stresses throughout the DVD that with the right techniques and strategies it’s absolutely possible to successfully hold your own against bigger, stronger opponents. And with the right leverage-based techniques you can even go on the offensive and bring the fight to them.
Anyway there’s 3 technique DVDs, 1 Q&A DVD and 1 Bonus Total Body Stability Strength and conditioning DVD. To be honest I didn’t have time to watch the Q&A and the Total Body Stability so my review won’t cover that at all.
DVD 1: Drills, Gi and No-Gi Gripfighting (1 hour 39 minutes).
What’s in it:
Emily starts off with explaining why drilling is important because it helps improve muscle memory, strength and agility that will enable you to execute techniques faster and with better precision. She starts off with some really basic drills from breakfalls, technical stand-up, shrimping to some mid level drills like kickouts to some marcelo style drills like the butt scoot and granby rolls. Honestly, these drills aren’t anything new but it’s always good to see them in action and Emily is a wonderful teacher indeed. She explains everything thoroughly in an easy to understand manner.
Then we go into the section of grip fighting. Here you can really see Marcelo Garcia’s influence in Emily’s game as she stresses time and time again that the person with the better grips/underhook is the person that will win the match. She thoroughly covers every aspect of BJJ grip fighting, from how to grip, to how to strip grips to how to move when grip fighting. I really like her grip fighting demo where she grip fights with Stephen, it’s great to see all the techniques she’s discussed in actual play. Finally she ends the DVD with her view on translating all this into no-gi.
What I think about it:
The drills are basic drills that you see at most BJJ schools but where it gets interesting is providing context in why the drills are important and how it applies when it comes to techniques. She constantly references the drills throughout the technique DVD and says “remember when we did ____ drill? Well there is why we do it to help with _____ technique”. The gripfighting section is very thorough and would be a great watch for anyone who is unfamiliar with BJJ gripfighting. I really like how she stresses the Marcelo concept of “whoever gets the better grips/underhook will win the match”.
DVD 2: Compensation for strength (2 hour 24 mins) a.k.a the technique DVD
What’s in it:
Here Emily shares her favorite techniques in guard, guard passing and escapes.
Under the guard section she actually only teaches 2 types of guards: the butterfly and the single leg x guard. However she gives a very thorough explanation from how to set up the guards, to how to sweep in these guards and finally how to transition between the two guards. Honestly it’s a great start to learn how to play both these Marcelo style advance guards.
Then she moves onto half guard and has 4 techniques here (a back take and 3 sweeps). If you’ve watched Stephen Kesting’s Dynamic Half Guard DVD, you may be familiar with these techniques but I love the tips she gives on executing the sweeps against bigger opponents.
Next she moves onto guard passing and teaches the strategy of “ganging up on your opponent by using your whole body to dominate ONE of his limbs” which is clearly demonstrated in the leg drag passes she teaches (similar to the passes made famous by the Mendes brothers).
Finally we have the escape section!!!! Here she teaches a bunch of concepts and strategies followed by some techniques. I like this section the most especially the part about improving the classic elbow escape (!!!!!). The leg trap mount escape is really interesting because instead of trapping the near leg, you trap the far leg and get into this half guardish type of place. I know sounds a bit strange isn’t but looks pretty cool.
What I think about it:
Emily Kwok is an amazing teacher. Her instructions are super super clear and she thoroughly explains everything! It’s one of the most through instructional I’ve ever seen, she teaches the concept of the move followed by the move itself. Because she teaches the concepts, the moves are much easier to execute because you understand them. Like for single leg x guard the concept is that your hips must always be right under your opponent’s hips. Even though single leg X guard is an advance new guard, not once did I feel lost throughout her DVD because of her thorough and clear explanations. Yeah Emily Kwok made the single leg x guard and the leg drag passes easy to understand. Props to her! :)
DVD 3: Top 5 moves (1 hour 15 mins)
What’s in it:
Here Emily shares her 5 go to moves for submissions, guard sweeps and escapes. The reason why this DVD is much shorter than the previous one (apart from the obvious fact that it has about 6 less techniques) is because she reviews stuff that she builds from the previous DVD (i.e. Knee Push sweep to Single leg X guard).
Under the submissions section, you’ll see some age old familiar submissions but modified by Emily to be higher percentage. I especially like her modified baseball choke, modified mount armbar and the tips she give to get a tighter bow and arrow (like folding of the lapel to get a tighter choke). She also gives thorough details on how to perform the most infamous of Marcelo’s submission- the North South Choke.
Under guard sweeps, most of it works off from the 2 previous guards that were taught in the technique DVD (knee push sweep to sickle sweep, scooting butterfly sweep).
For transition and escapes, she gives some good details on how not to injure yourself when performing a Granby Roll when escaping turtle, how to get out of pins on the ground and some awesome details on the elbow push to avoid getting your guard pass.
What I think about it:
Man, this DVD alone is worth everything. This is an absolute goldmine of technique and information addressing some common problems faced by smaller practioners. She always shares a little story about a problem she faces and her solution to it like for example she says whenever she gets in turtle, the other person just sprawls their heavy weight on her and she finds that she can’t do anything, you can’t help but smile as you relate to the scenarios.
Initially when I first read the title, I was thinking that Emily would be sharing some modifications to classic techniques such as how do you work closed guard or spider guard on a bigger opponent. Instead Emily teaches that size does matter and there is no point in playing a guard that is counter intuitive against a bigger opponent (she hates playing closed guard because she has a long torso and short legs). Instead she teaches advance guards and passes that work better for the smaller opponent that are the bread and butter for smaller guys such as Marcelo Garcia and the Mendes brothers.
I really love the fact that she incorporates these new passes and guard styles that are quite the rage in competition jiu jitsu now but makes them easy to understand.
Overall, I do think if you are a Marcelo or a Mendes brothers fanboy you may find this DVD instructional too basic for you. But for those of us who have struggled to understand their game and have always been fascinated by it, this is a fantastic introduction to the world of single leg x guard, butterfly and the leg drag passes.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some single leg x guard sweeps to work on ;)