On Saturday morning, March 15th, I made my way from San Diego to Bakersfield to attend a seminar by one of the few American black belts Ralph Gracie has ever produced: David Camarillo.
It was a treacherous drive through some downpours in LA, but as I got closer to Bakersfield, the sky opened up and it turned out to be a beautiful day. Driving conditions got so bad at certain points that I considered turning around, but I'm very glad I pushed through the bad weather, as the seminar was nothing less than excellent.
Drawing from his extensive Judo background, Dave began the seminar with throws, his favorite variations on those throws, and footsweeps. The series continued with proper body positioning after the throw to work for a quick submission on the ground. He showed a slick far side armbar from side mount, and the step by step process on how to achieve the lock and ensure your success by sucking up the space around your opponent's body. David's precise movements let us all know what it means to be a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Inspiring.
More techniques were shown, questions were asked by the seminar attendees, and Dave eventually rolled with his brother's students, one after the other. Everyone was rolling at the end, and left the seminar with their heads full and bodies worked out.
David (as well as his brother Dan, the seminar host) is exceptionally technical, with an enormous understanding of what jiu-jitsu is, and how you have to take what is presented to you in class and work with it, experiment, and eventually make it your own.
The technical details I picked up were invaluable (a single correction on my stand-up gripping dramatically improved the power and effectiveness of my throws), but it may actually be the conceptual clues and tactics he offered that make the biggest difference in my game.
Special thanks to my friend Dan Camarillo for hosting the seminar. Dan may be a purple belt in BJJ, and a black belt in Judo, but he's a Grandmaster of Bakersfield nightlife! Skills like that don't happen overnight, they take years to develop...
Excellent seminar. Highly recommended.
(If anyone wishes to book a private or a seminar with Dave, please contact Gumby@onthemat.com to make arrangements and check scheduling. Dave can be reached for questions or comments at email@example.com)