It was quite an honor to be invited to teach in the motherland of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Master José Raimundo dos Reis is a 6th degree black belt in BJJ, who will be with presented with his 7th degree black belt next month. His Team Reis BJJ Academy is located in the heart of Mogi Mirim, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Working with a martial artist of this lineage and caliber is not something that occurs on a regular basis! This on top of the fact that I had to teach this workshop in Portuguese added quite a bit to the butterflies in my stomach.
When I met with Master Reis two days before our workshop at his academy, we talked shop and exchanged ideas. We realized that what we all had in common was that regardless of the martial art being practiced, freedom of movement was the key. Master Reis was interested in our Kettlebell Combatives training but we were a bit short on kettlebells due to the high number of his students that signed up for the workshop. Therefore, we decided to modify our NTC Basic Training Indoctrination Protocol and implement it as the fitness routine for the opening segment of our workshop. Our NTC Basic Training program is focused on correcting and refining movement so it was not just about a random fitness protocol that would look cool on YouTube.
Since controlled movement was the focus of this workshop, I wanted to get the students somewhat fatigued with our NTC Basic Training so that they would be relaxed for the remainder of our training time. I explained and demonstrated each exercise that we would use, and then implemented the modified protocol for the students, guiding them as they performed the movements themselves. This fitness routine also gave the students some taste of the other movements that they would be introduced to as the workshop proceeded.
The performance from Master Reis’ students was quite impressive. They did not question anything about this new material and attacked the protocol like a true martial artist who is always seeking knowledge. This did not surprise me, as I had already spent some time with Master Reis’ and I came to appreciate his understanding, experience, and teaching ability. Once the fitness protocol ended, we took a short break and got into the meat & potatoes of the workshop; movement & relaxation. Movement and relaxation are at the core of our training method and philosophy.
Our mission with NTC Combatives and Kettlebell Combatives is not to change the focus of the students’ preferred art, our focus is to help the student achieve a higher level of their art by teaching the how to refine their movement.
As we continued with our workshop, Master Reis’ BJJ students began to understand the effectiveness of relaxation and breathing through their movements. I added a bit of knife work instruction because it is a specialty of ours and his students had very little experience with knife training. It is also easier to demonstrate NTC Combatives principles with certain tools. In our case, we prefer the knife and kettlebells as our tools in order to convey these principles so that they are easier to understand.
Within NTC Combatives, we focus on principles. The information that we deploy is simple and intended to be grasped in a short period of time. After all, we are teaching combatives, which is different from teaching a martial art system. Our focus is to refine the current natural movement of the student so that they can be more efficient when utilizing the attributes that they possess. Traditional martial arts systems teach students how to move like someone else, i.e. their teacher(s). With NTC Combatives, we teach students to enhance their natural movement by integrating the principles that we teach to them. Since Kettlebell Combatives and NTC Combatives are focused on training law enforcement, military members, and martial artists worldwide, we need to convey information that can be implemented by the student quickly and effectively. This is especially the case when considering factors such as language barriers. We also do not usually get much time to teach our material due to the high workload and lengthy schedules of the elite units that we train on a regular basis.
NTC Combatives workshop at Team Reis BJJ Academy
Master Reis’ students got a lot out of this training and expressed to me that they were thrilled with the instruction that they received. I walked in a stranger from the United States, but left as a brother of the Team Reis BJJ Academy in Brazil. For this, I am honored and humbled. Thank you Master Reis for the opportunity and most of all, thank you for your friendship. This is an experience that I will never forget.