Although I already had some training and exposure to self defense from my Karate and Boxing background, I was keen to see it from the BJJ perspective. I also took this as the opportunity to meet up with few friends like Aaron and Eugene.
The seminar started with Marcos introducing himself and asking the participants to do the same. Marcos is a real friendly guy and the informal atmosphere in the gym made this seminar fun and interesting.
Marcos started by explaining that self defense begins with awareness: why prevention is better than any fighting techniques. Some of the key points from this seminar are:
1. Don't give chance for people to approach you within reaching/grabbing distance.
2. Listen to your instincts, if you see a person coming towards you and you feel something is not right, quickly move away.
3. Avoid deserted or dark areas. Let people know your whereabouts.
4. Don't clench your fists. Open your palms to face the aggressor/s and ask what do you want? This is ironical because after a period of training like a boxer, I tend to keep a boxing guard but this might be interpreted by the assailant as you wanting to fight him/them. So it's back to Kissaki Kai open palms and use them as a fence against your aggressor. The Crazy Monkey Defense hands posture on the forehead should be seen as compliance in a self defense situation.
5. If he only wants your possessions, surrender it. Avoid a physical altercation whenever possible.
6. Keep fit so that you are able to run or fight if you have to.
Marcos taught escapes and counters from the common wrist grabs, holds, bear hugs, chokes and from the ground. Lastly, he demonstrated how the BJJ guard can be used against rapist or those who have pin us on the ground. It's refreshing to see how the armbar can be used against someone who's trying to choke you on the ground. Very smoothly done. The seminar ended with Marcos asking everyone to find some time to practice what they have learned or pick up some sports or martial arts. Marcos presented his workshop is a simple and easy-to-understand manner without all the martial art terms or hype. He's also a very approachable and down to earth person without any of those macho posturing you typically see in many martial arts gurus.
Marcos guys then put on their BJJ gi and started rolling - open mat time! They all can't seem to get enough of BJJ and every single roll is fun and exciting.
PS. It's great to know you Alex Padilla and happy to finally meet you in person Jason. :)