Is there really anything I can write in terms of a John Danaher DVD that’s not going to be words of praise? I certainly doubt it, and the man himself doesn’t make it easier. His latest release, number four in the Gi series titled “Go Further Faster” is now live and available! As usual, we got an early sneak peek and now I can offer my two cents about it. In short, this time around, it is a closed guard DVD instructional. As simple as that. Or complicated, given John’s history and teaching style. All in all, it is a much-welcomed addition to his rapidly growing collection of Gi Jiu-Jitsu fundamentals. As per usual with his DVD’s it is half a day long and organized to satisfy even those with severe OCD.
ON SALE HERE:
John Danaher – Closed Guard (DVD/DIGITAL)
With this latest Closed Guard DVD instructional, Danaher’s collection has reached double digits. This is the 10th instructional by the BJJ mastermind so far. The first six were about his game-changing No-gi instructionals, while the last four are all about Gi fundamentals. As expected, the closed guard makes an appearance, and then some. Now, for all you DDS fanatics out there, there are two approaches to the system. Danaher has his brand new Gi one, and his star student Gordon Ryan has a No-Gi closed guard instructional. Take your pick (I’d go with Danaher’s if I were you).
The Jiu-JItsu Of John Danaher
The story of John ahs been beaten to death so many times up until now that there’s absolutely no point in repeating it. he came as a huge powerlifter with a weird choice of garments from New Zealand. In the US he studied philosophy while training martial arts and bouncing in night clubs. he then discovered BJJ, Signed up at Renzo’s and the rest is history. For competitors, he is a difficult puzzle to solve as he is crazy good but, yet, has never competed in BJJ. For coaches, he is the ultimate role model, demonstrating that you can be world-famous as a coach. Finally, for everyone in the Jiu-Jitsu community, he is simply unique, and in most cases, a real pleasure to watch and learn from.
When it comes to John’s DVDs I’m a bit of a sucker for them. They’ve helped e a lot, particularly the No-Gi series. It is not humanly possible to soak up all the stuff he has available, as that’s well over a 100 hours of really condensed ultra high-level material. If you choose your favorites though and start studying relentlessly, the returns are nothing short of miraculous. His Gi series is particularly awesome for beginners and advanced grapplers alike. That said, with the Gi stuff you don’t have to worry about illegal stuff. Instead, you get the fundamentals of Jiu-Jitsu explained to you from a completely different perspective.
The Jiu-Jitsu of Danaher is still the same BJJ we all love to do but do from an entirely different angle. John simply has the knack of identifying the key aspects of every move, no matter how small, This Closed Guard DVD is just another one in a long line of previous and future DVDs that follow this pattern.
Go Further Faster” Closed Guard DVD Review
The Go Further Faster John Danaher series has four DVD sets so far. Whether it is going to be yet another six par project, or John’s going to extend this one. When it comes to fundamentals, particularly Gi ones. there’s so much to cover. So far his “Go Further Faster” series has a set on the Half guard, A set on Guard Retention and the first one that covered Turtle And Pin Escapes. Needless to say, they’re all extremely useful, At this point in time, I was having fun with the guard retention one, patiently waiting for his closed guard DVD. That is a position I’m revisiting at the moment, and this instructional came with impeccable timing. As far as technical nuances go, the instructional is pristine. I guess after that very first one that was the Leg Locks DVD, John will never allow for shady production ever again.
In terms of content, there’s a lot, to put things bluntly. Once again, eight volumes are the norm. some running a bit shorter than an hour, and others extending near the two-hour mark. As per usual ti all depends on the level of depth John decides to go into. Moreover, each volume is a very logical part that progressively participates in making the entire closed guard system. It all starts with an introduction to the system that seemingly has little to do with the closed guard. Further along, John covers the closed guard position, from just about every angle and variation. About halfway through the real party starts, as he goes into sweeps, posture breaks and dealing with standing opponents.
Volume One – The Six Vulnerabilities
Leave it to John Danaher to think of a catchy name for an entire group of concepts. The “Go Further Faster” Closed Guard DVD kicks off with the central message of the instructional, as John calls it. It pretty much explains what his closed guard system is all about, in very broad terms. He then shares three initial abilities that anyone needs in order to successfully play a full guard.
As important as the central message is, it is actually even more important to understand the “deepest message”. In this case, it is the one that contains the six vulnerabilities of the closed guard. Of course, the message comes with clear solutions for each one of them, which pretty much covers all the following subjects of this instructional.
Volume Two – The Danaher Closed Guard
I guess there’s no easier way than just calling this the Danaher Closed guard. Speaking of the closed guard, this volume starts with John’s efforts to help everyone understand the position. That means covering everything, from the general aspects of it to all the fine details that only a select few can notice. Ther’s one notion that really got me thinking here – the question of who is really on top. after all, your just in an upside-down mount when it comes to hp position, right? That’s the perfect example of yet another of John’s unique insights.
Next up are the essentials of holding and controlling the closed guard. To that extent, grips are everything. That much we all know. However, what we do not know becomes apparent in how to set them up properly and use them correctly. that’s where this Closed Guard DVD comes in. A few words on the importance and role of angles and John wraps it all up with the concept of a strong first move from the full guard.
Volume Three – The Side Scissor
Side Guard, Scissor Guard, Closed guard, call ti whatever you want, the position is once again not new. the way Danaher plays it is. I’ve long claimed that this position is a really strong variation of the closed guard. I’m glad that there’s finally enough material to really help get the hang of it. From Push-pull dynamics to the greatest secret of the position, Danaher leaves no stone unturned.
This volume of the instructional is also where the first sweeps make an appearance. The wrist, and subsequently, elbow sweep open up the sweeping account. Following closely is a rolling armbar, which, explained by Danaher, now seems like a breeze to perform. Of course, more submissions and sweeps follow, like the rear triangle and flower sweep of the side scissor. As a Judoka, I particularly enjoyed the several Sumi Gasehi options included here. Troubleshooting entries form closed guard to the side scissor wrap volume three up.
Volume 4 – The Top Lock
Without exception, my favorite part of the Go Further Faster Closed Guard DVD. This is basically a really cool and ultra-effective variation of the high guard. As far as I’m concerned, that’s my go-to from the closed guard. Once again, Danaher goes as deep as possible into the position, making things crystal clear. From the top lock position as a control point to incredible armbar details. John lays it all out. Similarly to before, grips make all the difference, and the number one grip has a key role to play. Moreover, there are some incredible armbar finishing details here, that mak the halfway point of this instructional.
Still, before the armbar explanation, Danaher offers a concept of actually attacking with it form the top lock. Moreover, he shares a key new concept in the form of the 45 inside position. In short, this detail al but ensures you’ll position yourself for an armbar with next to no effort.
Volume 5 – Sweeps And Posture Breaking
When I first saw the technique list of this Danaher DVD, this volume did not particularly catch my eye. As I went through it, it ended up being a top contender along with the Top Lock one. It starts with a sweep I used to detest – the flower sweep. I could never really get it going at a white and blue belt and I gave up on it. Well, I’m more than glad I gave it a chance now, that Danaher went through all the trouble of breaking it down. That said, there’s another step that really gets attention in this volume – the hip sweep. This is the one John really goes into, from grip braking to posture control and the golden rule that makes it all come together.
That notwithstanding, the second half of this portion of the closed guard DVD focuses on posture. To be more precise, it focuses on how to break posture. Without a broken posture, there are no viable attacks at the highest levels. It is as simple as that. here. Danaher simply goes on from the previous content. he shares options from the flower sweep, and hip sweep, enriched with key gripping details.
Volume 6 – More Sweeps And Arm Traps
In volume six of the “Go Further Faster” Closed Guard DVD, John stays on track with sweeps, moving on to the scissor sweep. There are plenty of grips to choose from here, although the 2 on 1 is my preferred method. I’m glad Danaher clarified so many things on that front. The Pendulum sweep comes next, starting with a cuff grip. Just when you think it’s going to be all straightforward from there, John introduces another concept. Namely, he shows us how the pendulum sweep can actually be a great closed guard learning tool.
In order to help bring the pendulum sweep to light, he employs yet another very powerful closed guard method – trapping the arm. Thre are several chapters that go deep into this concept, bringing volume 6 to a close.
Volume 7 – The Clamp
This short and sweet volume only contains a handful of chapters. But what a handful it is! The Clamp concept Danaher uses has its roots in old catch wrestling. Of course, John’s version is refined, modified to fit Jiu-Jitsu’s needs and utilizes the Gi. Basic transitions into it form the closed guard, as well as essential attacks, make up the bulk of chapters here. A trap triangle and an overhead sweep area a couple of things to point out.
Volume 8 – Standing Opponent
One thing that kills the closed guard in a matter of seconds is a successful standing opening. No wonder everyone’s looking to utilize this particular method of opening. Well, it wouldn’t be a real Danaher DVD if it didn’t address all points and vulnerabilities. The final part of the “Go Further Faster Closed” Guard DVD contains only one principle – the principle of opportunity. However, it is spread across multiple chapters, so that it is more understandable. In other words. by applying this principle, you see what you can get and use it against your opponent. The usual suspects here are the scooping sweep, handstand sweep, and leg trap sweep.
A really sweet one is that Omoplata sweep, which is probably one of my personal favorites in this entire DVD set. the move that brings everything to an end is the double ankle sweep. A real classic way to finish.
Most other coaches out there that produce a high number of DVD’s inevitably end up with hits and misses.With Danaher. it is hit after hit. Granted, people need to choose their favorite and stick with it, but everything works like a charm. This latest Closed Guard DVD is yet another one that will take months to decipher completely. Moreover, it works perfectly with Gordon’s No-Gi system in order to give you the best possible closed guard system ever!
ON SALE HERE:
John Danaher – Closed Guard (DVD/DIGITAL)