A grateful mom
Since I have this chance to write to you, I want to say that my teenage son Cris absolutely loves you and the academy. You have truly blessed his life and ours. Thank you!
You are a wonderful, wonderful role model. Our son thinks the world of you!
In-home private lessons
I’ve always wanted to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu & ground grappling, but my work-life schedule is absolutely brutal. With a clinical practice, international consulting business, and a family to maintain, it’s pretty rare when I can make it to the scheduled group classes at any of the local Jiu-Jitsu academies. As someone who also makes a significant part of his living treating patients with manual therapies and teaching kettlebells, my ability to work is severely impeded when I’m injured. So I need to be able to build practical & effective skill in as safe a manner as humanly possible.
Enter Professor Roy Harris… One of the first Americans to earn a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Professor Harris is known for his highly analytical mind and the ability to take complex systems and break them down into comprehensible, reproducible skill sets. With his emphasis on fundamentals, progressions, and safety, all without sacrificing efficacy, he seemed like the perfect person to help me with my goal of learning a self-defense system that’s known for a very high incidence of joint injuries.
So to manage the challenges of scheduling, safety, and skill acquisition, I had to do the math. A single day off from treating patients can cost me as much as $2000 in lost income, plus another $500 or more in injury treatments. A single private lesson with Professor Harris in the comfort of my own home costs me $250 in comparison. Learning the skill sets of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from one of the most methodical, well-spoken, and logical instructors without having to lose income opportunities, without having to travel down to San Diego, and without jeopardizing my business through costly & painful injuries has been just what the doctor ordered!
Dr. Mark Cheng, L.Ac., Ph.D., FMS, TRX Sports Med, Sr RKC
Chief Instructor, Kettlebells Los Angeles
Clinic Director, Chung Hua Institute (BY APPOINTMENT ONLY)
2901 Ocean Park Blvd., Suite 207
Santa Monica, CA 90405 USA
Philippines BJJ Seminar Evaluation
I must first mention that having the chance to train and hang out with Roy was a pleasure. I learned a lot of new techniques, details, and novel training methods and drills. Roy, however, is not just an excellent teacher and Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. He is a very generous and friendly guy. He does not just “teach” a group of guys; he also hangs out with the guys and genuinely seems to always have a good time with everyone joking around and talking about various issues, not just training! I highly recommend training with Roy if you have the chance. You will not regret it!
The seminar here in the Philippines was two days in length, We trained at least three hours each day. Day 1, with gi, covered controlling a person in the closed and open guard, with particular emphasis on pushing, pulling and hooking motions with various parts of the body: hands, forearms, elbows, shins, feet, knees, etc. These techniques did not involve submission or sweeps; rather, they emphasized “controlling” your opponent. To many experienced BJJ practitioners, this may seem to be a very basic and easy task at accomplish. However, with the amount of detail, precision and emphasis Roy adds to these techniques, they seem like a whole new game. Through drilling, and various training methods, Roy makes “controlling” an opponent within the guard much more efficient. I have been previously taught and have previously trained the techniques Roy taught at the seminar. However, the way Roy approaches the techniques and drills sets him far apart from other BJJ instructors. He puts techniques into combinations, making even the simplest moves into a “new lesson”, which helps the student to retain the information.
After controlling a person in the guard, we moved to working the arm bar and triangle from the guard. Again, these two moves everyone may know, but not with the same amount of precision and efficiency that Roy taught at the seminar. Placement of the hips, angles of the body, and slight pressure at key points of the body make a big difference. Yes, many other methods work well too, but the way Roy approached arm bars and triangles made my techniques “tighter”.
Roy explained two methods of executing the arm bar, adding small details throughout the entire time we practiced them. We went over several ways to finish the triangle and various ways of tightening the triangle against common counters. We then worked arm bar to triangle, and triangle to arm bar combinations.
Following the work on the arm bar and triangle, Roy taught three sweeps from the guard and for “fun”, the helicopter arm bar from the guard. Again, everything was presented in a detailed way making techniques more efficient. Lastly, Roy put all the techniques and variations we were taught on day 1 into a combination to wrap things up.
Day 2, without gi, focused on guard techniques as well, this time focusing on finishing techniques. First, we covered the basic kimura (again with key points and mechanics to make the kimura tight) and progressed into adding resistance to the kimura. Roy ended up teaching a 6 movement flow from the initially kimura from the guard when an opponent offers varying resistance. A well thought out combination! Roy then taught us a setup for those who put there head down and cover themselves up when in the guard, ending in an arm bar, triangle, or kimura depending on the resistance given by the opponent. (This position was similar to what K. Shamrock did to Royce Gracie during their rematch.) Once again, I must reiterate that the detail in the techniques was first class! Also, I want to mention that we did not practice the techniques in isolation, meaning Roy always implemented some type of drill that made practicing the technique more realistic. We were able to adjust of varying resistance. Roy does not only show great techniques and drills and has us practice them, he also takes time out to explain concepts on progression, technique, teaching methods, training philosophies, etc. which is a plus. He reaches into our minds and makes our minds think about the material from many different perspectives.
Roy opened the seminar up for questions after this. He taught a number of techniques and positions. He taught two escapes from the North/South position, 2 submissions (chokes) from the side mount, and a three-movement setup/combo for mounting. Finally, the seminar ended with some mat time (sparring). I assure you, everyone at the seminar now knows why Roy is called, BOA. His grappling style is very slow, methodical, and tight!
I had the opportunity to spar with Roy on various occasions and it was a pleasurable learning experience. Our first sparring session, about 40 minutes straight, I was amazed at his approach. It was very slow, he gave me chances to try various techniques on him, and allowed me to counter his techniques, offering some resistance. This method of sparring Roy has adopted makes one think about what he or she is doing instead of just eagerly and energetically going for submissions or sweeps. In a competition or confrontation there is no time to think, just react; however, through sparring the way Roy advocates, one can think about his or her movements ingraining them in ones mind so that they come out as reactions during competition or a conflict. I appreciated the way Roy worked with me when sparring. His goal wasn’t to finish me as fast as he could; instead he wanted me to know what he was doing, try moves on him, feel and see how he countered them, and try those counters or submissions myself. I learned a lot just from sparring Roy, and watching him spar. Unlike other higher belts, he works with you and gives you a chance. He does not just go on the mat to tap you out. He wants you to learn!
I highly encourage all of you to roll with Roy! You will learn a lot! I was very impressed and am happy and excited to be a student of his. Roy Harris = highly recommended.
RoyHarris.com version 6 viewer
Dear Mr Harris,
I am now an avid fan of your work. I maybe premature but I have spent the last few days trawling through your very well put together site, and find your approach to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu very structured, clear and concise.
Your views about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and the clear way in which you put across these views is very ……………positive, in fact enlightening!!!
I think I have had more lights switched on after reading your work on BJJ in the last two days than I have had in the last 7 years of studying BJJ.
Much respect sir,
Roy Harris is one of the best teachers of BJJ internationally. Great instructional technique and a genuinely nice guy. If you have the opportunity to attend one of his seminars, don’t miss out…
BJJ over 40 App
As a 63 year old Jiu Jitsu practitioner, I found your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu over 40 video very helpful. I’m looking forward to the “Over 60” one.
Aloha from Kauai Hawaii,
For over a decade, I answered questions on nearly twenty (20) international martial arts forums. Here’s what one of the readers had to say about the articles I wrote on a particular forum:
I have read through your articles posted on the forums at bjj.org and I wanted to drop you a line to personally thank you for your enlightening and articulate explanations of the various aspects of BJJ. I started BJJ 4 months ago, and after reading your articles I was given a new perspective on the art that I had not been exposed to before. This has helped me immensely in my training. I love the basic, scientific approach you take with the Jiu-Jitsu techniques. I have thoroughly fallen in love with BJJ, as a 19 year old who has played basketball all through high school (and soon hopefully college), BJJ is an awesome crosstraining tool. Aspects such as leverage, timing, basic grappling, and balance all correlate very well to basketball. I can now rebound over much bigger and much stronger guys simply by employing the basic elements of BJJ, my post defense has immensely improved as well.
Thanks again, you have greatly improved my training.
Group class attendee
Thanks for checking in with me! I appreciate it!
Busy as heck at work, and my two little ones are doing little league 2x a week. Makes it tough for a guy to get to training. Something tells me you’ve heard this before!
I’m still amazed at how much your group classes have deepened my understanding of the Jiu Jitsu game. You’re the best martial arts teacher out there, and very deserving of the praise heaped on you by your students.
See ya soon,
Special Agent, U. S. Treasury
Laguna Niguel, CA
Harris Academy Student
I was referred to Roy Harris by another student who had trained with Roy in Kali.
I travel frequently for work, and sometimes find myself in situations where I do not know the local language or custom. After a bad experience in Brazil, I decided to learn self-defense. I have had no previous martial arts or fighting experience. Today, I train in BJJ, Kali and JKD, both in class and in private lessons.
Roy has helped me understand how to assess situations, and how to avoid conflict. In cases where confrontation is unavoidable, I am now confident that I can approach the situation calmly and with a clear mind.
Roy’s teaching style is very open and it provides a strong foundation for understanding balance, control and positioning. His directions are clear, and he takes the time to demonstrate the small, subtle distinctions which make for successful execution of complex moves.
I appreciate Roy’s friendly and open personality. He respects us as students, and he appreciates our curiosity and eagerness to learn. During class, he watches each student, and answers questions in a patient and thorough manner. Roy sets a tone of respect — no one in the gym would ever intimidate or belittle another student, and that makes for a positive atmosphere where students can focus on improvement at their own pace.
While I will never be a competitor, Roy’s academy encourages a friendly, competitive spirit which spurs development. Because of the teaching style and the culture of the gym, I have learned enormously from Roy, his assistants, and from other students.
My goal is to be able to be a skilled practiotioner for the rest of my life. I can achieve this at Roy’s gym, and I feel very lucky to have the chance to develop my skills with Roy’s teaching.
If you ever have the chance to train with Roy, do it!
Craig Y. Lee
Vice President, Marketing
Nuera Communications, Inc.
10445 Pacific Center Court
San Diego, CA 92121 USA
I have been a police officer for 40 years, a martial artist for 36 years, a police academy instructor for 25 years and a martial arts instructor for 25 years. I have trained with many good instructors over the years and I consider Roy Harris to be one of the best.
I met Roy when he was a police recruit in the academy and I was the Arrest & Control Instructor. Within a short time, I was his student. I have been his student for the past 12 years. He is an expert in several arts and he has the ability to teach those arts in an organized efficient manner that minimizes the amount of time it takes for students to make progress.
I highly recommend Roy Harris if you want to learn effective, realistic self-defense or become skilled in the martial arts.
A drop-in student
Thanks for the opportunity to train at your academy and become your student for one night. The evening was really fun and one of the best training experiences that I’ve encountered in my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu career.
Initially, I was apprehensive about showing up in class because I wasn’t sure of the class environment that you created for your students. At the same time, I was aware of the proper attitude to display as a visiting student. I’ve seen guys come from out of town to our school and it appeared that their agenda was to go to a school and be able to brag that they submitted someone. I attempted to be as respectful to everyone that I met and I felt that I was treated with the same respect. The guys that I worked out with were good training partners, especially one of your instructors. He helped me with the details of your system and that enhanced my training.
Also, when we sparred, I didn’t feel like I was fighting a bear, though it was quite obvious to me that I wasn’t rolling with a novice. I didn’t feel like your academy instructor “turned it on” to prove his BJJ superiority to me and I hope that I didn’t come off that way as well.
I’d like to thank you for rolling with me. I’m always curious to roll with black belts to see how they feel. Although I expected more strength from a heavyweight, your flow was really smooth and I always felt like there was a chance to escape… until you zeroed in on me with the submission. I’m not used to getting caught in a leg lock when I do the Granby roll from the bottom. That’s an area that I need to address and adjust in the future. Also, I must commend you on your pressure. When you got heavy, YOU GOT HEAVY!!
I really like the environment that you’ve created at your school. It felt like a family environment and your students appeared to be happy about having you as an instructor. The birthday celebration you had was cool and appeared to be quite sincere. I think that’s the way it should be, especially when you spend a large block of time around people on a weekly basis. It makes the experience more enjoyable if you like your training partners!
If I lived in California, it would be an honor to call you my instructor. Since I’m bound to the Washington, DC area, I’m restricted to your forum posts, tape series, and an occasional visit to CA on business. So, I’ll have to settle for you as my part-time instructor. I regret not coming to the class the next night, but I didn’t want to wear out my welcome.
Again, thanks for the knowledge and the experience. It was worth the trip and definitely the best part of the week in CA.
Good luck in your future endeavors!
Nottingham, England seminar review
Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed your seminar in Nottingham. The information you gave out was precise and easy to follow, your stories and humor helped everyone relax, creating an ideal atmosphere for information to be absorbed, cannot wait for your return. I have been trying to apply some of your principles already, being quite thin and light I end up on my back quite easily, the mount escapes and re-taking guard seem a little bit easier now I am making my move to counter, at the beginning of their technique rather than at the end.
Thanks for your help over the weekend. Looking forward to the next one.
P.S. On the next seminar, is there any chance of you teaching that sleight of hand stuff with the coins? That was unbelievable!
An article reader
I have been watching your videos religiously and reading the MMA forum for over a year now. I had been doing BJJ for almost 6 years, but only with a coach for about the first year. I was hesitant for a long while about going full-time BJJ and giving up Kenpo, which I taught for a long time. I also dabble here and there in kali/silat, though as a SWAT officer my preferred weapons are obviously firearms.
Anyhow, I first read your articles and posts a little over a year ago, after about 5 years of mat time in BJJ, Judo, a little wrestling and a teeny bit of Sambo. I was instantly hooked. I had never found such a clear understanding of the fundamentals before. On the forums, you answered questions almost as fast as I could formulate them. It was quite remarkable. I owe it to you.
I remember telling you in a post that you are my “island in the storm”. It is still true today. Because of you, I spent two months on side control escapes, then two months on mount escapes. This worked wonders for my game. Then, I spent two solid months on basic armbars and basic mobility from various guards (sweeps, taking the back, etc.). I am the grappler I am today because of you, Mr. Harris.
About 6 months ago, I learned of a Nova Uniao Black Belt teaching in my area. I immediately started taking private lessons. I still read the forum, but I now have a coach. I now consider myself, primarily, a grappler. I still do some Kali and a lot of boxing / Muay Thai, but first and foremost, I am a grappler.
I have recently been promoted to blue belt under Nova Uniao founder Andre Pederneiras and my coach. I am living out dream that I have longed for a great number of years.
Thank you for your selfless support and your time on the forum. You do more than you can know for those of us who, until recently, had nowhere else to look. I will consider you, as long as I am able to do BJJ, one of my teachers.
God Bless you for all that you do,
Conway Police Dept, Asst. SWAT team leader
Gothenburg, Sweden Seminar Review
Mr. Harris first seminar in the Nordic Countries was a huge success.
The seminar was hosted by Shooters Shootfighting and August Wallén, and attracted about 60 participants, including some of the top mixed martial arts fighters from the Nordic Countries.
Among them were John-Olav Einemo, who won the open weight category blue belt division in Mundial this year and who also did well I Abu Dhabi by winning against Rigan Machado and Rolles Gracie in his early fights in the tournament.
He and the others showed their gratitude for the seminar and Mr Harris pedagogic teaching with big applauds and cheering after the seminar!
The seminar included basic and advance techniques, submissions and reversals from various positions. Most important of all, Mr Harris showed the correct mechanics and details of each and every technique, which as he says: “makes all the difference between an advanced fighter and a professional fighter”.
The knowledge in the details were impressive. They made a big impact on me and I know they will improve my game.
Mr. Harris was a great person with a laid back attitude and took time to answer all questions giving away all the solutions.
Many of the seminar participants and others that have heard of the seminar have asked me if Mr Harris is coming back. Our goal is to make a seminar at least once a year and we are already planning for the next one.
Take my advice: Join a seminar with Mr. Harris. I can guarantee good value for the money – no matter if you are beginner or professional. Mr. Harris is a great technician and a great instructor. He is world class!
Editor Fighter Magazine
An Avid Reader
I just wanted to send you a short note to tell you how much I appreciate your thoughts, feelings and information you’ve shared on the Internet (Mousel’s a while back and now ITG). Since you are very articulate, your instruction and now with the great history you have posted about your journey has been excellent.
I am sure that many people will take your words and use them to inspire them to great heights and high goals. I have goals but have to be realistic that my body just doesn’t match the mind all the time but I do enjoy getting a great work out. Everyone has a different path or journey through life and it is always great to hear a different story on how our paths intertwine with martial arts.