There are tons of white belts who ask in our White Belt Facebook Group where to find the best online instructionals for Jiu-Jitsu. In my 7 years of BJJ I have come across a few that I like a lot.
I have always enjoyed MMAleech.org. The instructionals are in depth and affordable. The online courses are demonstrated by Gustavo Gasperin, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Fabrico Werdum.
A bit about Gustavo:
Gustavo Gasperin is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Instructor, Bachelor of Physical Education and Certified Personal Trainer.
Always devoted to the scientific study of Martial Arts, Gustavo conducted research in 2003 about the isometric strength in BJJ athletes. His research was presented in many Brazilian congresses and symposia, being one of the few scientific data available in the field of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
During his childhood, Gustavo had the opportunity to train under many different Martial Art styles, including Muay Thai, Karate, Judo and Capoeira. By 1997 he joined the world famous Carlson Gracie Team and decided to focus on BJJ as his primary Martial Art, under professors Renato Tavares and Carlos Lima.
Native of Curitiba (Brazil), home of the Chute Boxe Academy, Gustavo witnessed the modern MMA evolution, where some of the current MMA champions (Anderson Silva, Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio Shogun, Cris Cyborg) were established in that city.
Gustavo moved to the U.S. in 2005, and currently teaches at Dynamix MMA and Uprise MMA.
After conquering his 2nd world title as a Brown Belt in 2010, Gustavo was promoted to Black Belt by UFC and BJJ world champion Fabricio Werdum, becoming the head instructor at Fabricio’s gym until 2015.
With an extensive record of competition in the sport’s Masters Lightweight division, Gustavo is one of the few competitors who has successfully competed against much heavier opponents, placing in the Super and Ultra Heavyweight divisions in some of the most prestigious BJJ tournaments.
His main achievements in BJJ:
2016 World No-Gi Championship – Super Heavyweight – 2nd place
2016 Pan American Championship – 3rd place
2015 World No-Gi Championship – Super Heavyweight – 3rd place
2015 Pan American Championship – Ultra Heavyweight – 3rd place
2014 World No-Gi Championship – 3rd place
2014 American National No-Gi Championship – 1st place
2014 American National Championship – 3rd place
2013 World No-Gi Championship – 2nd place
2013 American National Championship – 1st place
2013 American National No-Gi Championship – 2nd place
2012 American National Championship – 1st place
2012 American National No-Gi Championship – 1st place
2012 Long Beach International Open – 1st place
2011 World No-Gi Championship – 1st place
2011 American National Championship – 1st place
2011 American National No-Gi Championship – 1st place
2011 Las Vegas International Open – 2nd place
2010 World No-Gi Championship – 1st place
2010 American National Championship – 1st place
2010 Pan American Championship – 3rd place
2009 World No-Gi Championship – 1st place
2009 Pan American Championship – 3rd place
2008 American National No-Gi Championship – 2nd place
2008 American National Championship – 2nd place
2007 American National Championship – 2nd place
2007 American National Championship – Open weight division – 2nd place
His website has a wealth of information and video courses that are guaranteed to help every white belt!
The video course that I chose to review is one that I think is super critical to those white belts in their first 6 months. It is titled, “The Ace Of Escapes”.
Here is a link to the course! https://www.mmaleech.com/theaceofescapes/
Let me take you through some of the details:
The course starts off with a 5 minute introduction. Gustavo explains that he will be teaching escape from the 3 worst positions; side control, mount, back mount.
He goes onto explain that the important elements of escaping are a) knowing the proper technique to use to escape, and b) knowing when to escape.
Gustavo explains that if your opponent is strictly focusing on holding you down it will be more difficult to escape then if your opponent starts moving. If you do not wait for the right moment, you will quickly tire yourself out.
After the introduction we get into the meat of the course.
The first course has Gustavo demonstrating 41 minutes of solo drill that are specifically designed to help you survive in Jiu-Jitsu.
The video is broken down into two parts. The first part is the foundation of the escapes that will be shown later in the course. It is comprised of 6 techniques that everyone must know in order to earn their blue belt. They are:
Technical stand up (or Gracie getup in some circles).
Gustavo explains that the first two are pivotal for getting out of bad position, wherein the last 4 are more for injury prevention.
The next topic covered is how your BJJ career will be broken into two part; the defending faze, and the attacking faze.
These drill should be done at home when you cannot come to the gym.
The hip escape is used anytime you want to make distance between you and your opponent. The better your hip escape, the easier it will be for you to make distance from your opponent.
The Bridge is used to escape side control and mount. Master the bridge and you will have a much easier time escaping.
The Breakfall is imperative to learn how to break the impact of any situation where you might be falling. You may be knocked down or taken down. The breakfall will greatly reduce any damage taken.
Gustavo shows the forward breakfall, the backward breakfall, the sideways breakfall.
The forward roll is important to prevent injuries. It can also help sometimes when you are being taken down. The backward roll is similar. Both are demonstrated.
At this point in watching these videos I am starting to notice Gustavo has an amazing way of explaining techniques that I am absolutely sure every beginner can immediately understand. Detail is key and all are revealed.
Next we get into the Technical standup and it’s importance and practicality are explained. If for some reason you are on the ground and are facing a standing opponent, this would be your go to technique.
The hip escape aka “shrimping” is covered. This movement is among one of the most difficult for newer BJJ players. Gustavo breaks down many variations of the hip escape!
The next technique is the Bridge & Hip escape. These are the two most important moves to escape the bottom position. You bridge into your opponent to push him away, then hip escape as seen in the screenshot below!
Guard recovery is the method of collecting yourself back into advantageous bottom position after being in a compromised situation. Gustavo gives an in depth explanation of two different methods of common guard recovery
One of the next techniques shown is called ” Cobrinha’s drill”. This one I don’t ruin for you. You should get the series and check it out for yourself. In case you didn’t know Rubens Charles “Cobrinha” is one of the most decorate BJJ players of all time.
The hip switch is explained next. Jiu-Jitsu is a game that relies heavily on hip movement. This move is very helpful for regaining your guard as well as other situations.
The compass is a very important back flexibility drill. It will help you feel more relaxed when someone is trying to stack you when doing a triangle or perform a double under pass on you.
“The impossible” is shown next. It is a drill for the core, and will help to make you very explosive. It will help you escape armbars and back control etc. It is called the impossible because if a first day student can get it right they are given a black belt. Basically it is a more difficult drill but once you get it it will be invaluable.
After showing these drill Gustavo takes the time to explain how all of these moves are put together and how they work in a synergistic manner.
This concludes the solo drill portion of the course.
The next section of the course is dedicated to escaping side control.
After the drilling section of the course comes the side control escape section which is almost 40 minutes in length.
First Gustavo explains the principles of having a good side control. Knowing how to apply the pressure will go far in helping you to escape.
Chest on chest, crossface with an underhook are the core principles. Gustavo also explains the different types of side control.
Side control is one of the hardest positions to escape for the beginner. this is because the white belt hasn’t yet fully developed a guard game, so they are easily passed. The white belt is usually also late stopping the crossface and the underhook.
The first escape Gustavo shows is when the opponent has all of the elements of side control that he wants. At this point it becomes crucial to establish your frames.
The first escape is the hip escape which was shown as a solo drill in the first part of the course.
Very important for the hip escape is arm positioning. The arm that is on the side of your opponents head cannot be caught out dangling but must be used as a frame against the opponents face. The arm and hand that are closest to the body presses against the opponent’s hip. This frame allows for the hip escape to take place. First frame, then hip escape and recover guard.
Gustavo shows a small detail with finger movement that I won’t reveal here that assists in tightening up your frame.
A tremendous amount of small details are revealed throughout the entire lesson. Also, each move is broken down slowly and methodically so that the viewer has time to take in all of the details.
The next variation shown is the bridge added in before the hip escape.
The position starts the same as before. The opponent is heavier and his pressure is better. Every time the hip escape is attempted the pressure is just too strong. Therefore the bridge is used to create more space. After the bridge the hip escape becomes that much easier. This is the escape that should be used against a tighter side control.
The next concept discussed is pushing the head of the opponent away. Where the head goes the body must follow.
Gustavo explains that when your opponent is trying to pass your guard, if you can control their head position it will help to prevent the pass. Depending on how far you can push the head away opens up a variety of different options, all of which are explained.
The next technique is “leg over the head”. This takes place in the same side control position yet this time when trying to hip escape to recover guard, your opponent is controlling the back of your head preventing you from making enough space to slide your knee in place. Instead of wrapping your leg around their back you will throw it in front of their head, preventing the pass and possibly setting up an armbar. Even if you don’t land the armbar it gives you a chance to recover your guard.
When the bridge and hip escape aren’t working Gustavo suggests the underhook escape. This is done by doing the bridge and then reaching under for the underhook. After the underhook is established you are able to bump your opponent forward, scissor the legs and thereby escape the side control position.
The next technique utilizes the same underhook escape yet this time the finish is the single leg takedown. This is used when your opponent overhooks or whizzers your underhooking arm. Using a strong gable grip wrapping the near leg and head against the hip you are able to take your opponent down and end up in side control.
In the event that your opponent tries to sprawl to break your grip you can use your arm to frame the leg away. Depending on how heavy your opponent is you can make space to recover your guard.
The next technique is the near underhook escape. This technique is a bit more effective in no gi but still works in the gi. The reason that this technique isn’t as effective in the gi is because if not executed quickly you will be setting yourself up for a bread cutter choke.
A common form of side control that may be used against you is called the kesa gatame. This is a side control where the opponent is on top with a far side underhook, his hip resting on yours with his sternum facing your head. Also critical is the tight elbow control.
This is a tough position to escape. Number one, Gustavo explains, is to free the elbow and hide it against the opponents hip. This is where the escapes begin. The best time to save your elbow is in transition before your opponent is able to secure it. To escape you would now do the hip escape that has been shown earlier in the course.
The final escape in the side control series is the reverse kesa gatame escape. The reverse kesa gatame is when your opponents sternum is facing your legs while their lat muscle is across your face. This prevents you from seeing what your opponent is doing and makes for an easy transition to full mount.
To escape this position one must first prevent the opponent from moving toward the head with their body thereby opening up your arms. Next you lock your elbows tight to the body and use your forearms to slide out or push the opponent toward your hips. Next you would grab the back of the gi or the lapel if it is available and use it to build a frame along your opponent’s back. This maneuver also prevents your opponent from turning. Because your torso is not being crushed you are able to sit up to an elbow. To finish taking the back you would bridge to make space for your leg to come around and make a hook.
His side control just became a back take for you.
This concludes the side control escape portion of the course!
I don’t want to keep giving every detail of every video in the course. You really should see them for yourself!
The next course is on mount escapes! This video alone is over an hour long!
The Bridge Escape (Upa)
Bridge Escape Arm Variation #1
Bridge Escape Arm Variation #2
Bridge Escape Troubleshooting
Ankle Drag Variation
Bridge to Elbow Escape Combo
Elbow to Bridge Escape Combo
High Mount Escape
Modified Mount Escape
Quick Escape to Footlock
Mount Escape in Action
As with the previous videos in the course the level of detail is phenomenal.
The fourth course in this series is on back escapes and is just under 40 minutes in length!
Underhook Side Escape
Overhook To Underhook Side Escape
Overhook Side Passive Escape
Overhook Side Active Escape
Failed Overhook Side Active Escape
Hands On The Collar Underhook Side
Body Triangle Escape 🙌
The fifth course in the series takes a turn in that Gustavo rolls with some of his students and breaks down the rolls. Since this is an escape series, Gustavo lets his students advance to positions that he needs to escape from. All the while he is explaining commentary style how he is applying all of the techniques in the previous courses. This video is over an hour long as well!
Keep in mind guys, we are HOURS deep into just this one course! We are not even close to being finished! There is so much information and detail to absorb and learn!
This course has an intro and the sections:
Keep It Tight
The Cocoon Position
Survival Skills In Action (Narrated Rolling With Advanced Belts)
After all of these hours Gustavo shares bonus content!
4 Escapes From The Rickson Control
Escaping The Turtle Guard Position
Jiu-Jitsu For Dummies Excellent for the beginner and a great reference to share with others who might not understand our martial art.
Vitor Belfort Side Control Escape Gustavo continues to add real world examples to each course that he finds relevant to the selected material
Update: Mount Escape To Single Leg X-guard Gustavo made this video for students who had questions about this technique on Facebook. It is nice to know that if you have questions about any of the material you can get them answered by Gustavo himself.
Update: Back Escape Done Wrong Gustavo made this update to show real world “how not” to attempt escaping the back mount position against someone who knows what they are doing. In this video he breaks down an MMA match where Fabricio Werdum lands an armbar from the back in MMA.
Update: Anticipating Side Control This important update explains the significance of recognizing when you are about to have your guard passed and stopping it before it happens. It is great to know how to escape bad position but even better to know how to not end up there at all!
This concludes all of the material in just this ONE COURSE. It has taken me weeks to get through this one course. I’ve found so many tactics that I have drilled at the gym and they work like magic. I am a blue belt of 5 years so I have a good amount of tricks but now I have a lot more!!
The ALL ACCESS PASS is $172.90 and comes with a 30 days money back guarantee! You can buy the courses individually as well!
Some other courses offered are:
Total Back Control
Smashing The Half Guard
Side Control Artillery
You can believe me when I tell you these courses will improve your game but why not check it out for yourself! For the cost of one month of Jiu-Jitsu you can get hours and hours or video and explanation.
Head over to MMALeech.com
Gustavo Teaching on Youtube: