Alan Baker Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Professor has always focused on the self-defense approach in everything he does. After over 30 years of studying and training in multiple grappling, ground fighting, and pummeling arts, Professor Alan has developed his unique approach to teaching Jiu-Jitsu. And combined with his background in teaching and training with personal protection agents, law enforcement groups, and military units, both come together to influence his distinctive approach. Additionally, he integrated his experience in several other forms of martial arts and their unique approach to teaching body alignment, placement, and mechanical advantage. This additional layer of information earned this curriculum the “living mechanics” nickname, which became its namesake.
There are two halves to the program. The most recognized is the Jiu-Jitsu curriculum. The second half is the application of self-defense. In the second portion, we consider having to apply our training in a parking lot or on a sidewalk while armed. Adding the consideration of weapons and different environments forces us to view the conflict in different terms and forces us to have distinct goals.
Each section can be studied individually, but they should complement each other if the student decides to engage in both areas. This approach is not necessarily the case and typical sport-based process. The bringing together of these two areas of study is what makes this program unique.
- Mechanics – This is a detailed study of leverage, position, and the attainment of proper skeletal alignment to interact with your opponent based on intelligent mechanics and alignment instead of so late on strength.
- Curriculum – this is the fundamental technique of the program. Techniques are the primary focus of most jiu-jitsu programs. In Living Mechanics, it is just the beginning of the educational methodology used by Professor Alan.
- Flow drills – These drills teach the student to move intelligently from position to position. Flow drills will also introduce the student to moving from position to position and flow from submission to submission. These drills start basic for the beginning student and then grow more advanced in movement and timing as the student grows through the system.
- Philosophy – Understanding what you’re trying to do and what your goal is as you train is very important. Each level, from basic up to advanced, has a specific training methodology in philosophy that is followed to ensure a proper mindset and keep the student focused and on track for their overall goals of obtaining proficiency.
Self Defense Perspective
Generally, there are two schools of thought in Jiu-Jitsu. You can look at it from the sports point of view, or you can look at it from the self-defense point of view. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu was designed for self-defense. Though it can be used in a sports setting, its primary focus is to prepare an individual to defend himself in a street-based situation. I mention this because keeping the correct set of glasses on is important as you train your Jiu-Jitsu. Some techniques are just designed to work in a sport-based environment and will not work on the street when the possibility of strikes from your opponents is likely. Both types of training are essential, but if your goal is to prepare yourself for a real-world scenario, it is important to keep this mindset with you as you train and move forward on your journey.
Done Correctly the martial arts will give you a life time of fitness, it’s methods cannot be matched by any other system of physical fitness & physical development~ Professor Alan Baker
Living Mechanics Jiu-Jitsu Basic Principles List
- Primary mechanics – secondary mechanics – tertiary mechanics
- The difference between a push and a post
- Long Post – Mid Post – Short Post
- Skeletal alignment
- Unitary motion
- The leaver
- Bridge Arm Principle
- Spinal Expansion
- The Full Cycle Breath
- The Time Principle
- Earn Flat Principle
- Disrupt the opponents base principle “the dead lift”
Our Etiquette & Process To Begin Randori (free practice) “Live Rolling.”
- Show respect (Shooto Bow, “The Wai” Bowing) The Way is Muay Thai Greeting & Sign of Respect (Thai)“Sawadee Khap” / “Sawadee Kha” For the Ladies ~ (Japanese) “Doumo arigatou”
- Check each other’s injuries past and present. (avoid current injuries & avoid bringing past injuries into the present)
- Set a training percentage (the senior is responsible for maintaining the percentage of aggression)
- Shake hands, fist bump, or high five & Begin your training.
- Finish with respect – shake hands and say thank you to your partner!
Living Mechanics Jiu-Jitsu Curriculum – Training Cycles
When you reach a new training topic, each of us will spend a certain amount of time in three different cycles while training this topic.
Each cycle can be determined by the instructors or the instructor that is teaching the material. For instance, the first cycle could be anywhere from a week to three weeks long. The length of a cycle will just be determined by the amount of information and of course, the experience of the student body that is in the class.
Cycle One Drill Focused
During cycle one, the classes will be heavily focused on drilling and training movement and position. If the topic is a submission series, we will demonstrate chain submissions and drill methods that will connect the different submissions smoothly.
Although the classes will be focused heavily on drilling and movement during cycle one, I would like to see at least one technique taught in each class during the cycle. This is to ensure that, at the very least, we will be covering some of the fundamental topics during this period. Most likely, these topics will be the primary fundamentals related to the study area.
Cycle One Technique Focused
Cycle two is going to be more technique focused. These classes will go through the list of techniques or information that will be related to the topic we are studying. Our goal during this time is to help the student remember the information and connect it together in a series so it will be remembered easily.
Even though the cycle is heavily focused on technique, we should still be doing some basic grilling during the warm-up and, of course, some time focused on grappling or pummeling at the end of the class as usual.
Cycle One Training Focused
The third cycle of this teaching rotation will be heavily focused on training. We will be putting together a various list of methods and different varieties of rolling and pummeling that you can present to the students. They can follow the instructions and train the information that will be given by the instructor. But also if they want, and they are advanced level students, they could grab a partner and just go off to the side and put in some pressure testing themselves. The main thing during cycle three is that we are being heavily focused on training and development of application while under the pressure of resistance of a partner.
Student Rolling Procedures
Training in an active environment is essential for developing timing, body placement, and applying what the student is learning. With that said, it is one of the most misunderstood training areas. It is essential to understand that you must develop a volume knob for the level of aggression you use in class with students that may not be to the level to withstand higher levels of force and aggression. Sometimes learning this philosophy takes time, so if you are reminded of this by a senior or a coach, accept the feedback respectfully and then make adjustments to your training piece. We are a team and here to help each other prepare for what could happen on the street.
Living Mechanics Jiu-Jitsu Training Philosophy
White To Blue
Practitioner of Defense
The white belt student’s preliminary study is that of mastering Defence. It’s not that they won’t learn to do escapes and submissions while on this journey, but primarily their underlying goal is the development of a powerful Defence.
This defense should be developed on a deep-rooted understanding of the alignment of the skeletal system and the ability to move the body as a single unit unitarily. Additionally, there should be a good depth of knowledge of the many leavers of the human body.
As the student progresses through this skill development, they should become very comfortable in a defensive position. They may not be escaping from a higher-level practitioner. Still, their goal should be to survive comfortably and produce an uncomfortable environment for their opponent regardless of their superior position.
Additionally, the student is introduced to the seeded defensive posture used for the same principles inside the guard position.
Blue To Purple
The Houdini of Jiu-Jitsu
If the student has a firm grasp of good alignment and a mechanical-based defense, they will soon start to see the exit doors open. Instead of forcing a technique of escape as they play the drills, they will begin to see the multiple ways to escape a position presented to them as their opponent struggles to fight with their automatic placement. This strategy changes the conversation from “I have a technique, and I’m going to force it on you” to “we are going to have a conversation, and during our physical conversation, I’m going to look for your mistakes in a placement where you will allow me to escape.” The student will come to find that escaping from an inferior position is given to them. They don’t necessarily have to create it or ticket; they just have to look for the opportunity.
Purple To Brown
Practitioner of control
What’s the student reaches the purple belt, they will start to study the mechanics of controlling an opponent from a top position. Additionally, they will learn how to break down an opponent’s good mechanical placement. So the challenge becomes a technical Exchange as each student attempts to maintain structure and intelligently disassemble the structure. The student will be able to control the opponents’ primary position that often, their only response is to employ secondary mechanics, leading to submissions.
Brown To Black
Practitioner of submissions
At brown belt, the student develops a game control that will force their opponent to present submissions to them. At this level, the student should not have to force a submission. They shouldn’t have to force their technique upon their opponent. They should be able to develop the game of control to the point where the opponent’s only option is to employ the arms in ways that will place them in positions of potential submission.