This is Rodney's first seminar in Kuala Lumpur and having attended his seminar in Singapore before, I would have to say Rodney is an amazing coach with crazy skills.
Day One - Crazy Monkey Defense
Altogether there were around 12 of us and we were introduced to the basics of the Crazy Monkey Defense. Although few of us were familiar with CMD, it's always refreshing and enlightening to train under the Chief Mentor himself. Instead of showing us a bunch of techniques, Rodney shared and talked about the mental aspect of the game: apprehension, fear, pride, control and how they relate to the respective range and skillsets of CM1, CM2, CM3 and CM4.
We were put through few drills not really for the sake of learning few techniques, but more for us to experience the "concepts" of CMD in action. Every drills allow us to experience and reflect not just only on our boxing skills, but to truly understand how important is the four main drivers (Balance, CMD, TES and Conditioning) in a fight. We were allowed to do wrong initally so that we can experience for OURSELVES the difference between the right and wrong ways. This holistic approach to coaching an already functional fighting skill like boxing is what set the CMDP miles apart from the typical I-teach-you-follow martial arts schools. Which is why Rodney prefers to see himself as a coach rather than a teacher.
Day Two - Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
With two superb and committed coaches in KDT Academy like Sam and Vince, I managed to pick up a decent ground game over the last few years although I'm more a standup guy. Having attended seminars from awesome BJJ fighters & trainers like Adam Kayoom and John Will, I wasn't expecting much from Rodney. I mean, Rodney is so well-known for his Boxing or Muay Thai that to me, it has overshadowed his BJJ credentials (Rodney is a BJJ black belt under Rigan Machado).
Boy, was I ever so wrong! Although I don't profess to know much about BJJ, what Rodney taught and shown in this seminar totally blown me away!! It's not so much about the techniques (although they were awesome too), but more about his APPROACH to BJJ. His approach to Jits is quite radical in the sense that there were so simple, yet so effective that you wonder why didn't you think about them (or use them) earlier. But like any functional fighting skills, concepts and strategies will only work if you put in the mat time.
The day end with some free rolling without any submission. Rodney explained that if everybody is so eager or afraid of the submissions, they will be a hindrance to learning. So removing them will allow us to learn more in this instance.
Day Three - Mixed Martial Arts
Final day and my favorite thingy, MMA! Again, using the Crazy Monkey Defense as the coaching methodology, Rodney showed us a progression from standup, takedown and striking from the controlling or dominating position. And then he showed us an escape from bottom back to standup. All using only a few high percentage techniques.
Rodney mentioned the drawbacks of focusing exclusively on sports BJJ (pure grappling) and how this might develop bad habits (translate bad for your health) in a self defense situation. He said that the original BJJ was meant for the "streets" and can be applied both for combat sports or self defense.
Interestingly, Rodney shared that having a set of great fighting skills meant nothing if you do not live a good life, or set a good example to those who know you or look up to you. This is because some people define themselves just by how well they fight. Take away those skills, they have nothing else in life, just like an empty shell. Personally I find this very meaningful because we should strive to be a better person first before striving to be a better fighter. It's our deeds that define us, not our skills. Probably why many people like and respect polite and humble fighters like Randy Couture or Matt Hughes.
My only regret is I failed to take time off to bring Rodney for some sight-seeing in KL. Thank goodness for Mikey who managed to do the honour before Rodney left.
Kudos to Rodney for a great seminar and look forward to seeing you returning to KL soon!