The King of the Streets Still Rules
Marco Ruas is a fighter who has unfortunately had his achievements marginalised in the modern era of MMA. As a great fighter of the mid-90s, he was at his peak while the sport of MMA was still in its infancy, and was suffering from persistent injuries in the latter part of his career in PRIDE. Nevertheless, Ruas was the prototype of the modern MMA fighter, being equally versed both standing and on the mat. This makes his DVD instructional set particularly interesting and useful to anyone with an interest in the sport.
So what do you get for your money? The 14 volumes include a huge amount of material, and martial artists of any calibre should find something of interest here. Unusually, and as a sign of its relative age (originally released in the late 1990s), the set includes a volume on street fighting and also a heavy bag workout routine.
The age of the set is both a strength and a weakness. To deal with the negatives first, the presentation standard is not what you may expect from modern DVDs. Marco himself does not speak during the instruction, instead allowing his training partner and translator to do the talking. His English is very basic, and, while you can always understand what is being said, it precludes the more detailed discussion of techniques that you find on, say, Bas Rutten or Mark Kerr's instructional sets. This is very much a visual learning experience, with only the basics being outlined, and the rest being demonstrated.
Secondly, the age of the set means some of the techniques are rather out of date for modern MMA competition, including both standing and ground based headbutts and point of elbow strikes. For the more advanced practitioner, some of the ground grappling techniques may seem a little dated, and Ruas's use of half guard/knee brace as an attacking position is rarely seen in modern competition, where ground and pound tends to be far more active.
Nevertheless, this an excellent series that I would recommend to both newcomers and veterans. Why?
There is something for everyone on this set. The first 5 volumes are particularly suitable for beginners and intermediate students, demonstrating a variety of simple, no nonsense techniques. While the striking instruction is perhaps a little too elementary and would have benefited from more discussion of footwork, the ground techniques are solid, and the exercises for improving your ground strength and explosiveness are useful for anyone. The later volumes (all bearing the prefix 'Advanced') increase the complexity, including some aggressive and unorthodox (by modern standards!) submissions and attacks. As a visual learning experience, each technique is briefly explained, and then demonstrated several times, at varying speeds and angles. The addition of a slow motion replay is a particularly welcome touch.
The sense of progression you derive from watching the DVDs in order is really noticeable. The basics are all clearly outlined before you delve into deeper and more complex techniques.
The age of the set, and the straightforward demonstration of techniques may limit its interest to modern MMA competitors. However, there is still much of value here. Volume 6 on Ring Strategy includes some excellent tips, while the advanced submissions and guard work will give some fresh ideas.
However, the real strength of this DVD set lies in its utility for any martial artist interested in adding to his or her game, both for competition, self defence or simply to round out your overall skill set. Ruas is known as "The King of the Streets", and with the techniques on display here, you can see why. The Vale Tudo attacks on show here are simple and effective - often brutally so - and the inclusion of a DVD purely on street fighting technique emphasises their practicality.
For me, this really makes the Ruas set stand head and shoulders above many modern DVD sets. My own martial arts background is in traditional Japanese Ju-Jitsu but I found this set to be of excellent use in improving my game for grappling competition. There is something here for everyone, be they novice or advanced, amateur, competitor or simply someone wanting to add to their martial arts
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