Drilling to the Death with Dennis Asche

Living in the cradle of Jiu Jitsu has many perks to be taken advantage of. The beautiful sites, the beaches, the many beautiful people and of course the Jiu Jitsu. Staying at the Connection Rio hostel in Barra da Tijuca provides you with one of the best Jiu Jitsu perks available; drilling sessions with black belt Dennis Asche.

The sessions last approximately an hour and an half and they are as intense as they can get, much more than you would expect from a class devoted to drilling. I wanted to take part in a few of Dennis’ classes before writing this blog post as I perceived an intricate method of planning and objectives involved in each class.

Comparing Dennis’ sessions with others I could see that he had a focus on developing intuition in the athletes movements, requiring fast repetition of each movement creating a more realistic atmosphere to the drill.

Usually the “passive partner” in regular drilling would tend to space out or switch off merely going through the motions until it reaches their turn to be active. Where as Dennis would require the “passive partner” to move and reset each position, for example guard, as if it were live sparring. First to provide a realistic environment for their partner and second to sharpen guard retaining skills. This also had the effect of keeping both partners switched on at all times during the class.

Drilling a technique one hundred times at your own pace will not provide the lesson in the importance of timing and the small variations that you get via Dennis’ methods.

Another point I feel I need to mention is that there was an intense focus in each session on the development of the athlete into an advanced athlete. Drilling a technique is fine but it does not provide the athlete with the ability to develop techniques in rapid combinations. As you may know you may be able to hit a single guard pass on a white or blue belt, but when approaching belts ranked purple and above you need to be able to combine two, three or even four techniques in combination to pass the guard. Dennis pays close attention to this fact in game development and schedules rounds of drilling incorporating numerous techniques which are to be used based on the reaction of the partner… and as I mention at full pace!

By the end of each class every athlete was put through their paces and drenched in sweat to equal the level of intensity.

I was really inspired by Dennis Asche and his teaching methods, which I will endeavour to incorporate into my own teaching style. This realisation came to me as I found that when I travelled to other gyms within Rio, to train and roll, my ability to hit guard passes on Jiu Jitsu practitioners much better than I had increased directly as a result of Dennis’ classes and his philosophy on training. At some points in sparring, specifically guard passing, I honestly felt that I had the ability to see through the matrix… I was Neo and I knew Jiu Jitsu.

Wrapping up this article I would like to leave you with a quote that Dennis had said during his explanation of his guard passing style and the intensity required to be successful, which I believe will stay etched in my mind forever…

“To pass you must be intense, You must be a psychopath when passing… Be the psychopath on top and the serial killer on the bottom.”

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