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 to 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 in 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 work 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 armbar, 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 armbar to triangle, and triangle to armbar 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 initial 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 their heads 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 Ken 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, but 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 several 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 one’s 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.

Myles Vives (Seminar host)
Manila, Philippines