Monday, June 04, 2007

BJJ Online Training Comparo

While waiting in a doctor's surgery recently, I came upon the idea of doing a couple of 'comparos' a la Motor magazine and the like. Basically, they take a bunch of cars in the same class and flog the backside out of them. Then, they report the results. You know - how fast they go, fuel economy and which ones blew up versus the ones that didn't.

Well, I'm pleased to say I've performed one such flogging on the three major subscription BJJ Online Training services available. The reviews are available individually here, but I thought I'd do a synopsis and put them head to head. The three Online Training services are Jean Jacques Machado's, Cesar Gracie's and Gene Simco's. I joined all for a period of time and am pleased to report on them to help you sort out where to spend your cash.

One thing I need you to know in advance is that I have received no incentives from any of these sites.

Gene Simco's Jiu-Jitsu.net

There are mixed opinions on Gene Simco's work in world of BJJ. His site, though, is pretty good as far as BJJ tech sites go.

As far as I can tell, Jiu-Jitsu.net's program pre-dates the others significantly. Consequently, it has a large number of techniques available in all positions. I don't consider myself a technical expert, but the techniques were mostly solid. There were a few techniques I thought were a bit flowery, but for the most part, it's pretty good jiu jitsu. I saw a couple of points where I thought Simco's technique missed something or his instruction lacked detail, but it was mostly OK.
There is a forum where you can ask questions of Simco and interact with him and other members of the community. The forum is showing it's age, though. It is the primary method for navigating the site's techniques. By today's standards, that's just not up to par. Also, the forum software itself seems clunky and dated.

Lastly, the video sequences are shot in several different fashions they are in different formats and are hosted on different sites. Some even go to dead links. Quality varies from clip to clip and the description in the database (read forum thread) is often not sufficient.
The service is billed at $6.95 US per week. That's a shade over $30 per month.

Cesar Gracie's Online Training at Dogs of War

I like Ceasr's site. I like it enough that I stayed a member for three months. The site is straightforward and easy to navigate. There are new lessons each week on both gi and no-gi. The lessons also follow a theme. The archives are easy to access and you can request a lesson in areas you want to improve.

The themes are a great idea. For example, recently there was a series on 'Defeating the Rubber Guard'. The themes follow with the techniques Cesar's fighters are famous for and a re likely driven by popular request from the lesson request area. I also quite like Cesar's method of instruction. Often, he has two students demonstrate the techniques while he coaches them and instructs. That's quite a good way to teach in many cases.

I thought the website needed a more professional and modern design, although navigation is handled capably. The administrative section is a shambles,though, and needs a real overhaul. I was also disappointed at the lack of a user forum and the inability to interact with the instructors. There are fewer videos here, as well, but I must say they seem of higher quality content than Jiu-Jitsu.net.

Dogs of War is the cheapest of the training sites at $21.95 per month.

JJ Machado Online Training

I've been a member of JJ's site now for seven months, now. There's good reason for that, too. I love it. Honestly, This site sets the standard for online training in martial arts.

The site is run by two guys who are students of Machado. Jay is a brown and Mike is now a blue belt. They are very clearly competent with the technologies they are using. Not only are the techniques sorted by position and technique, but they are accessible by searching with the TAP Browser tool. This makes sorting and searching much easier. It needs to be. There are videos added daily. I'd say there are about 500 on there, now.

The videos are all high quality Quicktime ones with uniform production style and quality. The videos presented are mostly from JJ Machado himself (about 450 of them) but there are a stack (a big stack) of clips from JJ's senior students.

The forum is very active. Jay and Mike make daily announcements with updates and handle techniacl difficulties quickly. Here, you can interact with Jean Jacques, as well. Ask a question and you'll probably find a video answer in the thread a few days later. If not, there are plenty of other capable people who are only too happy to help.

The combination of good technology, extremely high quality (I don't think you'll hear anyone complaining JJ is missing details) and quantity is great. Couple that with the site's professionalism and cameraderie and you've got a successful formula.

2 comments:

Andy said...

So just to be clear you thought the machado site was the best?

Boyne Brazilian Jiu Jitsu said...

Yes. Yes I did.

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