Position Brabo-Bjorn Friedrich


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Bjorn Friedrich is the 2003 European Submission Grappling champion and was a part of two Lockflow feature articles, Open Source Jiu Jitsu and Open Source Jiu Jitsu Session 2. He is, perhaps, most famous for his YouTube instructionals on the brabo choke and on twister back control.

Friedrich’s YouTube videos have proven that he is a talented grappler and a gifted teacher, but with over 40 minutes of footage on the brabo choke available for free online, one might wonder why purchasing the DVD would be necessary. Position Brabo is his first Jiu Jitsu instructional DVD, and Friedrich starts strong.

On a purely technical level, Friedrich’s instruction is much more in-depth on the DVD, and it seems as though his brabo game has evolved since he recorded the YouTube footage. He explores the brabo choke as more than a submission; he describes it as a position, emphasizing posture, control, efficiency, and transitions. The last detail is where this instructional is exceptional; Friedrich’s transitions turn the brabo choke into a game plan. The techniques connect with each other, making a relentless chain of attacks.

Friedrich covers the more traditional brabo choke set-ups, showing the attack off the sprawl and from chest-on-chest side control, but even this instruction seems to be completely unique, providing positional strategies and details that I have not seen covered anywhere else. He also delves into more exotic set-ups from positions like scarf-hold, modified scarf-hold, reverse scarf-hold, mount, and from the bottom of side control.

I use exotic to mean new and different. Do not take it to mean difficult, flashy, or uselessly fancy. Though he teaches entries that at first sound absurd or impossible (an omoplata to a brabo choke, how the hell would that work?), once Friedrich teaches the moves they make sense. While the strategy involved in viewing the brabo as a position may be slightly advanced, none of the techniques are more than a few steps long and seem quite simple once you’ve seen them. This is a testament to both the versatility of the brabo choke and to Friedrich’s ability to teach. He has taken the brabo choke and dissected it to its basic elements, and through experimentation and practice, he has turned it into a submission as versatile as the arm bar.

As I said before, Friedrich’s application of the brabo is relentless. He shows a technique and then discusses roadblocks that you are likely to encounter. Then he demonstrates how to assess the obstacle and transition into another attack. Normally, the transition is switching to a different brabo finish but can sometimes mean improving position or applying an omoplata or kimura. No matter what, Friedrich never stops attacking. He teaches you to flow from one attack to another, smoothly, efficiently, and effectively.

I also liked how Friedrich covered defending and escaping the brabo choke. This makes his instruction on the brabo well-rounded and complete. Not only do you learn multiple ways of applying it, but you also learn how to avoid being caught by it.

Aside from the depth of the material, the quality of the video and audio are much improved in the DVD format. The microphone is occasionally fuzzy and on rare occasions the angle of the shot makes seeing the action difficult, but these issues are extremely minor and barely worth mentioning. The quality of the DVD is otherwise perfect. The menus are easily to navigate, and the content is well organized.

Friedrich wastes no time demonstrating a technique over and over. He covers the details that he feels are important and moves on, avoiding the run-time fluffing practice that many instructors use to lengthen their DVD. Friedrich knows that you can rewind and does not waste your time or money through unnecessary repetition.

Position Brabo is a high quality instructional DVD that any no-gi grappler remotely interested in the brabo choke should purchase. Friedrich has raised the bar for detail and inventiveness. If Lockflow had a seal of approval or award for products done in the Lockflow spirit (chaining attacks to increase the chances of a finish), I would stamp it on this DVD without hesitation. I look forward to learning more from Friedrich as he continues releasing instructionals.

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