Grappling mad scientist Neil Melanson kicks out another quality product.
Neil Melanson has been known for years as one of the most influential and sought-after grappling coaches in the sport, and all of this for very good reason.
After years training at Team Hayastan under Gokor Chivichyan, Gene Lebell and Karo Parisyan, he’s been the head grappling coach at Xtreme Couture before relocating to Alliance MMA in San Diego. After that, he moved to Florida and became the grappling coach at the Jaco Hybrid Training Center – the team formerly known as the Blackzilians.
Over the course of his career, he’s made strides in working with fighters like Chael Sonnen and Gray Maynard, and still receives praise from others under his tutelage such as Dominick Cruz and Michael Chandler. Now he’s released a new DVD set with outstanding content that should solve a lot of problems to rather common situations on the ground for any grappler.
Released a few months ago, I managed to purchase a copy and was still pleasantly surprised at how chock full of content it was.
Curiously enough, the first DVD starts with half guard. Focused primarily on preventing your opponent from using his underhook for recovery or escape. I should note here that each DVD is about an hour or so long, even when only four or five techniques are labeled. That’s an amazing thing, because Melanson is very careful in explaining his setups and a few contingencies should anything go wrong. The attention to detail is a major item here, and Melanson is very good at explaining his reasoning behind what he’s teaching.
I should also note that this isn’t just for BJJ enthusiasts. This is more of a overall submission grappling approach, and some of the sequences are… somewhat impolite. Nothing in the series will get you kicked out of your academy/school, but it’s not stuff you would use in a light or friendly roll. Sequences in which pressure on the head is essential (whether it be with your hands while countering an overhook or pressuring with your own head) will pop up here. While you may not have any reservations using these techniques in competition, just know that it’s pretty brutal pressure involved.
The first disc continues with a focus of maintaining pressure and transitioning to controlling positions and submissions as you pass, not after. The second disc begins with the rear-naked choke and moves to the Cow Catcher from the front headlock position. It then ends with some points from cradling and some drilling.
The third disc delves further into the Cow Catcher and stars off with a whizzer series, an armless D’Arce crank, more cradle sequences and ends with back takes from cradles and a fascinating kneebar primer. The setups for the kneebar are practical and look effortless, and the details for the finish are clean and foolproof. There’s absolutely no waste at all here, and the third disc is perhaps the most packed with information and detail.
The fourth and final disc starts off with using cradles as a counter to an opponent opening with butterfly hooks, it branches from there to heel hook attacks, and once again provides a great explainer on the submission itself. The real meat and potatoes of this disc is the final portion that focuses on guard work.
Before going any further, this would be a great time to remind you of a previous product Melanson had released: Mastering Triangle Chokes. It’s a fascinating book that really breaks down a lot of setups and scenarios for versatility in setting up triangle chokes. Good luck finding it, though – as it appears to be out of print (a few copies are available via Amazon.com at a very high price). I bring up the book because almost everything that is covered in this portion of the disc is already in the book. That’s absolutely not a detriment, though – all of this being explained in a slightly different manner with the benefit of video is a godsend. It all works and is bound to turn the tables on anyone.
Melanson has once again put out another fantastic instructional, covering multiple aspects of grappling from different positions for almost anyone regardless of skill level. This is an instructional that has a lot of information but never leaves you feeling lost in the woods or overloaded with content. I simply can’t recommend it enough.
The Catch Wrestling Formula 4-DVD set is available at BudoVideos.com and is also available in digital form via iTunes.