Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mastering The Saddle - Scott Sonnon

One thing you can’t take away from Scott Sonnon is his thoroughness and attention to detail. If Scott puts something to video, you can bet it is well researched and intricately explained. In fact, the most common complaint I hear about Scott’s work is just that. His explanations can be complex and tend to use a lot of “manufactured terminology” – Scott’s term, not mine. Ironic, too, when you think about it.

Interestingly though, that verbosity is, for the most part, gone in this video series. There’s still new terminology, but it’s more metaphoric than technical. The terms are much more Eddie Bravo-like in that names are given to positions and techniques that are meaningful but not technical. Terms like ‘saddle’, ‘tourniquet’, and ‘fire-pole’ are effective names for positions and movements. They are easy to recall and actually do describe the function of the technique.

That doesn’t mean that the detail or organisation suffers, though. The five DVDs are impeccably organised and arranged. The DVD menus are organised in such a way that all techniques, positions and movements are easy to find. The DVDs are broken up into logical sections and each is then effectively broken down in the menu so you can go back right where you need to. This is definitely the best menu I’ve seen on a DVD set this size.

The content is a little different than many of Sonnon’s other videos. Scott described the series to me as and encyclopaedia. It’s an apt description and one that fits with the intent of the series. That is, to teach a system for the “lower half game”. It reminds me somewhat of his earlier “Arthrokinetics” in that respect, but is better delivered and more focussed.

There are a couple of things the potential buyer should know about the content. Firstly, this set is not about leglocks per se. This is about Sonnon’s system for controlling the opponent and finishing the fight by controlling their legs with your own. It’s an entire game in and of itself. In this respect, it’s like Eddie Bravo’s Rubber Guard. In fact, I find it easy to grasp the system by treating the saddle positions as a guard position.

As I noted above, the discs are very well organised. Disc one contains an introduction that deals with how to integrate the saddle into your game, instruction on the seven essential mechanics, the four saddle positions and seven core leg locks.

Disc two talks about “sweeps” from the full saddle (transitions to submissions or other positions when the opponent tries to roll out or go over the legs) and “passes” (these are counters to the saddle itself, unfolding the legs and either moving to a different position or setting up your own saddle.

The third disc will explain exactly how to deal with someone who knows the passes detailed in disc two and goes into fighting from the other saddle positions.

The last two discs concentrate on entries to the saddle positions from various guard positions, as well as side control, knee-ride and the back.

There is nothing particularly earth-shattering about the material presented. Experienced grapplers will have seen a good deal of the material presented before. However, Sonnon has developed his system around improving the reliability of the “lower half game” (as he calls it) – especially for MMA.

Essentially, Sonnon has developed a whole system – from offensive techniques to defensive techniques to re-counters to entries – it’s all covered. It’s unusual to see this level of commitment and detail to one idea or position. It’s certainly very technical, without too much of the verbose language Sonnon is often criticised for.

It is not a series to flick through and pick a couple of moves out of. It’s a series to study and practice thoroughly. If you want to study a well thought out curriculum for a complete leg game, this could be worth a look.

Available at BudoVideos. Click Here


yann said...

hi !
thanks for your review. I am interested in leglocks generally, and found this idea of having a game plan for leglocks very interesting - and very new. There is a need for a system that helps to go from one leglock to an other one, and not a "one shot" leglock try out that every one offers...a kind of BJJ for lower part of the body. I have frankly never seen those videos and considering getting them but one more question: i am surprised by the fact that no one talk about this system (at all). Does it mean that it is trully uninteresting ? or just unseen ? At least, not every one like Eddie bravo, but everyone talks about him. thanks for advising me !

Boyne Brazilian Jiu Jitsu said...


This is just such the system you're talking about. I can assure you, plenty of people talk about it. I find it very interesting. I also believe Sonnon is talked about in wider circles (especially with his circular strength training, etc).

I like this series and I refer to it often