What’s this? A non-ufc related post!! On this blog??? Do not adjust your monitors dear reader(s), you are still tuned to Blog-Fu. But I thought it was about time I tried some non-ufc blogging again. Don’t worry it won’t last 🙂

So here is my confession: My name is Graham and I am an app-junkie. I have an ipod touch and a htc desire phone on android. Consequently I download too many apps. Some of them are junk, some of them seem to just to waste time when I should be working (damn you angry birds!!). But some of them actually serve a purpose with my training.

I don’t train a lot anymore, I have 5 kids (6 soon), a wife and a busy job. Family comes first and my work commitments must be met. But when I do train, I help out a few guys with their no-gi grappling. I am certainly no expert but I have grappled for a while and I got a little rag-tag bunch of guys together to do some rolling. Mainly so I don’t rust up and I actually have some form of exercise to do that motivates me. I don’t train with an instructor, as with my commitments I cannot justify travelling an hour in any direction with any sort of regularity just to go train. So I am essentially a self-taught, part-time grappler ( I still love that description, thanks Liam!)

My grappling study nowadays, comes mostly from books, dvd’s and youtube, coupled of course with my own experience as a martial artist training first of all in traditional JJJ (up to 2nd Dan) then Sambo and finally MMA (at the phenomenal Southcoast submissions gym) – this was before I became a family man and moved away from all these instructors to the backwards little hamlet of Salisbury :). More recently I have discovered grapple-apps as a tuition tool: I love the fact I can download these on my ipod and take them into the gym to drill the techniques straight away. Portable grappling in my pocket….. Genius! In addition to portability, another advantage Grapple-apps have over DVD’s is of course the cost: None of these apps are going to break the bank and some of them update content for free (although not as regularly as I would like!).

I’m sure any serious grapplers that are reading this have already found these as a way to supplement their instructor-led training (yes I am jealous, if any of you knows a BJJ blackbelt/no-gi grappling expert that wants to move to Salisbury please give them my email!). In this post, I just wanted to highlight some of my faves. None of them contain anything particularly advanced, but I like basics. Basics are good. I am not overly concerned with being a master of the latest cutting edge monkey-guard techniques of the moment. If I were a jiu-jiteiro (is that the right term?), I would probably be a 2 or a 3 stripe white belt at best, so I have no right trying to help out my training partners with the latest fancy techniques that I haven’t made “my own” yet anyway (and I certainly don’t profess to teach/coach BJJ!). I want all my training partners to have solid fundamentals, to ensure my own fundamentals are solid and for us all to have fun and get better!

So in this post I just want to draw attention to some apps that I have found, that have really added something to my game (such as it is) and that demonstrate bread-and-butter grappling techniques and do it well!

Stephan Kestings GrappleArts Apps:
Stephan Kesting is a prolific internet presence in the grappling world. His instructional material is, in my humble opinion, top-notch. He currently has 3 apps on i-tunes: Submissions, Sweeps and Pin Escapes. If you train without an instructor like myself and you only intend getting one app series on grappling – GET THESE! They are excellent. Well laid out menus, broken down by position with a variety of high-percentage options from those positions, these apps are gold. Kestings instruction is clear, precise and the video quality is excellent. He demonstrates them all no-gi, but in the pin escapes app his partner performs the escapes and she is wearing a gi. These retail at £1.79 each ( I think, maybe slightly more) and are worth every penny.

This app has both no-gi and gi sections. The format is a little different than most, as there is no actual live video. Instead the techniques are demostrated by a series of stills (which you can play as a slideshow) and acompanied by text explanation (which you can switch on or off). Whilst this misses the point for some people who like video in order to be able to “get” the timings of a particular move, I like this approach. It allows you to pick up some of the nuances of the techniques you might miss with video instruction. I think this one was around £3 and again it is money well spent.

Braulio Estima – Invisible JiuJitsu Series
Again a little different than the Kesting ones, mainly because they are aimed at gi training. I like to read up on BJJ and watch BJJ videos. If I had the chance to train in the gi more than I have then I definitely would. As a pure no-gi grappler I suck at the gi, which is why I’d love to have the chance to do it more. I have been a fan of the CageFilm instructionals for a while so when I heard that Tim Lord was releasing them as an app I jumped straight in. The format needs some work (and I know that attention is being paid to this for future updates as I sent Tim some feedback and he was very open to my suggestions) but the content is great. For £2 you get a full lesson on the triangle from Braulios cage film Invisible JiuJitsu series (which would have set you back £7). You can get more of the lessons from the series by purchasing in-app and new (free) updates are imminent. As you would expect from a master like Braulio, the instruction is top-notch and the video and sound quality is excellent. I am eagerly awaiting the no-gi apps and am keeping up to date on new releases.

Other stuff possibly worth checking out:
In my opinion the above three (well 5 if you count the kesting ones separately) are the cream of the crop that I have come across. But there are others out there:

  • Roy Dean has released his instructional DVD’s as apps. They aren’t cheap (around £24 each) and I haven’t bought them, as I already own the DVD’s. Roy Dean has EXCELLENT instructional material (possibly even better than Kestings, but only a Harry Hill style fight would settle that!). If you have the cash and don’t already own the DVD’s get these, you won’t be disappointed. The only reason these aren’t in my top3 is because I haven’t seen them as apps. But if the app content is as per the DVD’s, these will be essential additions to the itunes library of any fan of grapple-apps.
  • There is also a series by which are ok. Some are better than others and if you are stuck between these and the Kesting ones, then I would say get the Kesting ones. But if you have the cash spare then these are worth having too. Again pure no-gi and as you would expect from the title, geared towards MMA

So there you have it, if you are reading this and you really think I need to know about some other grapple-apps that are out there then please leave a comment.


4 comments on “Grapple-Apps

  1. Pingback: Grapple-Apps part 2 « Blog-Fu

    • @ Megan. Cheers for dropping by and leaving a comment. Stephan Kestings material is fantastic. I just bought his 26 part grapple arts online course recently. I am 8 parts in and there is some real gold in there. I may do a review soon.

      I’ve never actually tasted a grapple fruit, but the very idea of it is just wrong. It does make for a funny pic for the article tho. I think there is scope for other fruit/veg combos: the carrange (carrot and orange), the pineana (pineapple and banana). The makers of grapple are clearly missing a trick!

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