Over those days, I shared an Airbnb rental with Nelson and Hillary as well as Reilly Bodycomb and his grappling Pokémon Elliott Hill. We ran several Magic drafts and debated late into the night about medieval battle tactics, but I’ll write about that another time.
The Rdojo camp had a major focus on leglocks (big surprise!) but also went into wrestling offense and defense, kneeride and top game, and a widely varied open-ended Q&A session. The entire camp was filmed by Jason Scully for the Grapplers Guide so it’s available if you want to see it. (I’m a dummy in a few techniques, so you could say I’m pretty famous.)
Each day of camp was divided into blocks where we’d be focusing on a certain topic, like reaping ankle locks, Reilly’s top rock series, defending and attacking heelhooks, etc. It was clear the Reilly had given a lot of thought to the progression of techniques and positions so that each would build the on last, and no one would be confused by needing to know too much about something that hadn’t been taught yet.
At the camp, I had the pleasure of finally meeting Brian McLaughlin, who I remember from his blue belt days, back when he put up photo instructionals on BJJFighter.com. It’s both fun and awkward to meet someone after only seeing them online for a decade. Brian was great to train with and very eager to ask questions to milk the camp for everything it’s got, and we all benefited from it.
What I appreciated most was the constant live training of the positions and techniques. For example, if we had all been working on the ankle locks from the reaping position (or whatever name you want to use: leg knot, saddle, game over, the reaper, etc.), Reilly would have us get into it then countdown from ten. For those ten seconds, the attacker had to wait and just control while the defender tried to escape. At zero, the attack gets to find the tap, if they still can. Similar live drills were used throughout for every position.
Running these positional games for boogeyman positions like full on reaping anklelocks, heelhooks and inverted heelhooks had the benefit of removing the fear that most IBJJF-based grapplers (such as myself) have for them. It helped that Reilly had lead with teaching heelhook defenses and escapes and making sure we all knew when to concede and just tap. But once you’ve spent three days doing all manner of leglocks and heelhooks, and no one--not even the beginners--are getting hurt, it makes you realize “okay, so maybe reaping won’t make my heart explode.”
There was also an in-house sambo tournament with Sambo Steve dropping in to coach his guys. Beforehand Reilly ran a small clinic that did a good job explaining the rules and basic tactics of sport sambo. You may remember Nelson’s post about competing in this.
The camp also marks the first time I wore a kurtka, an event that’s on record in Elliott Hill’s “John Wick” instructional video.
After the camp, Reilly asked if I would write a review and I said I would. While I’m sure he didn’t want me to take four month to do it, because I did I can give a more definitive review. If you’ve been to enough seminars, you know how often a seminar ultimately doesn’t give you more than a new Facebook profile pic. How much does the seminar actually change your mindset and future training?
In that regard, this is one of the most valuable seminars I’ve ever been to. Here are the changes I’ve made to my teaching and training since the camp:
- I added a new no-gi class to the schedule at Zombie BJJ PA (where I teach) where reaping and all leglocks are taught and practiced. We are also training for submission-only without IBJJF points.
- I now include takedowns or takedown defenses in most classes before we get to groundwork. Personally I am working on my gi and no-gi takedown game, which I had neglected for years in true BJJ fashion.
- To that end, I now start every every round of sparring from standing and have forbid myself from pulling guard. I’m encouraging all the students in my classes to do the same.
- I am still working on material from the camp, and I’m shopping for a kurtka so Nelson and I can start Sambo Saturdays when he completes his move to my corner of Pennsylvania.
If you have a chance to attend one of Reilly’s camps or seminars, you should do it, especially if you want an escape from all the rules lawyering you have to do with IBJJF-focused training. His system is well thought out and comprehensive and he will go out of his way to make sure you get the most out of it.