Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dogs of War Online BJJ Training

Some time ago, started the first online BJJ training class with Cesar Gracie. I'm a fan of Cesar's first video series and I wanted to give it a try, but I couldn't afford the $21.95 a month. I still can't afford it, but I thought I'd drop the cash so I could be thorough in my review of the available online training classes. Plus, I might pick something up in the process.

The site is well laid out and fairly intuitive, if a little uninventive. Once you get into the BJJ lessons site, there are drop-down menus for the most recent lessons (gi and no-gi), archives of previous lessons and a tips and drills page. These is also a link to a weapons page I couldn't get to work.

The video clips are in Flash Video format and play inside your browser. The production is OK, but it is not uniform. Some clips are from Cesar's DVD series and it's clear these are better production. The clips can vary in sound quality and the clips seem to be shot in different locations and at different distances. The guys at are sorting this out, though, and the last few updates have seen all the video clips filmed in one location. The stability of production is noticably better.

I should mention that the quality variation really isn't a problem as the information is always clearly articulated. You might just have to adjust your speaker volume from time to time.

I have always regarded Cesar as a good instructor on video. One of my early introductions to BJJ technique was through his earlier series (reviewed here: ) and I found that he was able to clearly articulate ideas and details. The online training clips are no different. Cesar has little trouble getting the details onto the video.

In fact, a positive for me is that Cesar doesn't perform most of the movements himself. Other black belts (Nick Diaz, Vnicius Maghales, etc) perform the movements while Cesar commentates. Sometimes those other instructors do the commentating, too. This has some advantages over the traditional method of displaying techniques. It as some disadvantages, too, but here, Cesar does a good job.

verall, the product is OK, but can be imporved. The first (and most obvious) issue is that the program isn't nearly as prolific as its competition. The lessons are updated regularly, but not nearly as frequently as either or JJ Machado's sites. This is not a problem in and of itself, though.

Quality is more important than quantity, though. Whether the instruction is what you're looking for is up to you. I can tell you it's competent instruction and I learned during my time in the program.

Secondly, I'd like to see a forum where users can discuss what they've seen. Obviously, the site's owners don't want the material scattered over the internet. It would be a fantastic idea to have a forum where the techniques could be discussed, bugs ironed out and customers could 'meet' the instructors.

Finally, I believe the site is poorly presented. I hope the site's owners will understand that this is meant as constructive criticism. The site looks somewhat amateurish from the fisrt page onwards - especially in the account maintenance area. I would hate to think customers would miss out on good information because the site wasn't put together as well as it could have been.

All in all, have a good idea with solid instruction. At $21.95 per month, it's the cheapest of the three online training programs I've visited. The quality is OK, but can be improved, as can the site's design. It has less than half the clips of the other sites, but the instruction is solid.

No comments: