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Art of the Wristlock – DVD Review

November 17, 2008


Roy Dean’s Art of the Wristlock is a two disk set that holds over two hours of extremely well-thought material. For anyone with an interest in expanding their jiu-jitsu arsenal, particularly in a sorely neglected area of submissions – the wristlock – this is an excellent addition to their library.

Unlike most instructional DVDs out on the market, aside from the focus on wristlocks and other incredible techniques, Roy’s DVDs takes great care and effort to link the wristlocks found in Aikido – an art form not necessarily synonymous with the word “effective” – and ingrain them with one that makes the claim to be the most effective martial art in the world, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

It is an aspect of the DVDs I was happy to find as I have an interest in Aikido as well. It’s no secret. This DVD set most certainly adds to my interest in the art. Despite my poking fun at Aikido I’ve changed my stance on it as it is definitely worth closer inspection. The Art is all in the details.

Disc One introduces techniques typically found in an Aikido or Japanese Jujutsu syllabus and presents them in both standup and groundfighting situations. Disc Two has three seminars that follow the train of thought that Disc One establishes.

Roy placing TJ, his uke,
in a sankyo bent armlock

Disc One Review
Roy starts off by sharing his martial arts background and his views on jujutsu as a whole, and this was the part of the disc I most thoroughly enjoyed. I always find it interesting when others who’ve done so much share themselves, their ideas and their experiences.

The themes and notions that Roy touches upon are ones I’ve encountered in my martial art journey. Some were even in line with my current view and philosophy concerning martial arts and Jiu-jitsu.

I’m sure there will be those that do not agree with Roy’s views, I for one am thankful it’s in this DVD. His introduction also reminds me of the discussions among my friends in Hawaii after a hard session of cross training.

Roy then goes over the five basic wristlocks in Aikido and presents them in a manner usually not seen in Aikido. Hint: it rhymes with “resistance”. Kotegaeshi, the stereotypical standing wristlock that comes to mind (think of a certain action star and that’s kotegaeshi), is also presented in the same light. Applications for the wristlocks in groundwork and demonstrations of the wristlocks in action, as well as some promotional clips, wrap up the disc.

My only complaint would be that this disc lacks close ups of the grips or hand positioning in applying these locks. I really would have liked to see where Sankyo’s “magic” pressure point is. But that’s all.

Despite its title, Art of the Wristlock
has lots of groundwork techniques

Disc Two Review
Because the second disc covers three seminars it is nothing but details. The level of detail is astounding. It completely makes up for the shortcoming in disc one and then some. Did I mention about the details in this disc?

The second disc is worthy of standing alone and being sold by itself. The fact that it is included in this DVD set serves as notice to Roy’s eagerness to share his expression of jiu-jitsu.

Roy presents the principles behind the techniques first from a standing position and then on the ground. His explanations are precise, and his transitions of taking a wristlock from standup and finishing it on the ground are smooth and fluid.

From this disc I learned so much about the finer points of wristlocks from a standing position. I learned so much about their applications on the ground. I even learned a lot of new details for basic BJJ techniques I never thought were there.

More importantly it got me excited.

Personally, I’ve come to realize that a technique is only as good as it excites me, because if I get excited the more fun it’ll be to drill it. And drilling isn’t exactly the most exciting of training methods so the more interesting the technique, the more drills I’ll put into it. (Just to let you know, I don’t find the omoplata very exciting)

If just watching a seminar by Roy Dean on a DVD got me excited, I wonder how it would be to actually attend one of them. Which reminds me, the level of conduct in these seminars impressed me.

There was no one crowding around the when the techniques were taught; everyone was polite and sat patiently. It seemed oddly familiar and I didn’t pick up on it until later being that I live in a country were manners and good conduct surround me on a daily basis.

The only thing I would caution against is watching this disc right after coming home from training. Not a good idea. Retaining any technique or analytical insight is guaranteed to get lost in the many, many delicious details of disc two.


From the introspective look of one practitioner’s martial art experience to the crisp technical details of both Aikido and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, I was pleasantly surprised with the Art of the Wristlock. For me, it’s more than just an instuctional DVD set.

It provides far more than giving me other options besides a “gooseneck” wristlock. Far more than just clarifying basics to fine tune and tighten up my BJJ game. I can’t really put my finger on it, but I suspect it may have something to do with Roy Dean’s signature quote – Discover Who You Are.

I’ve taken away so much I really don’t know where to begin.

I do know that I am looking forward to seeing how this helps me grow. Especially with my own expression of jiu-jitsu.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 28, 2008 3:10 am

    Nice review. I started my journey in martial arts with chin na in college. We did a lot of wristlocks in that class (just a semester). I’m going to have to get this dvd.


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