Gordon Ryan instructionals are awesome. You learn a lot from Gordon’s long, detailed explanations of every position you might be interested in. Literally every position, because Gordon makes lots of instructionals. In this article I guide you through which Gordon Ryan instructionals are good, bad, the best, outdated, and so on. Let’s start!
How does Gordon Ryan teach?
In detail. Gordon Ryan gives more details than anyone else, because he knows more than anyone else. He lets you know that too. He always says things like “so-called high level black belts always do this wrong, so I’ll show how you should do it instead”. And his intructionals are long, because he has so much information to share.
Which are the best Gordon Ryan instructionals?
As a general rule of thumb, his new instructionals are the best. Gordon Ryan keeps getting better at teaching, so his newer dvd’s are generally the best. And the production quality also keeps getting better (there was a big jump in 2021 when BJJ Fanatics switched to their new recording studio).
All Gordon Ryan instructionals
Here’s a list of all Gordon Ryan instructionals, what they’re about, when they were published and how long they are. They’re sorted from new to old.
The best Gordon Ryan instructionals I watched
Let me share which Gordon Ryan instructionals had the biggest impact on my game.
Keep in mind that instructionals land differently for different people, depending on what you already know, and what you want to learn. So if your favorite Gordon Ryan instructional isn’t in this list, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be the best instructional for you.
1. Pin escapes
Gordon Ryan’s pin escapes instructional is way better than that of Garry Tonon and John Danaher in my opinion. The big idea of the dvd is that escapes always start with a big full body extension, and end with a full body contraction. That’s how you clear crossfaces from bottom mount and side control for example, but also underhooks, and anything else too.
My pin escapes got 10 times better after only watching the first 15 minutes of this instructional. Now I’m still not even halfway through the entire instructional, because Gordon shows many escapes to positions that I’m almost never in. But my mount and side control escapes are so much better now, I love it.
Gordon Ryan’s upper body joint lock escapes instructional is wild. He explains how he escapes Craig Jones’ arm bar at EBI, and the concept is fascintating.
Try this out at your own risk: when you’re in an arm bar, relax your arm completely. Why? Because if your arm is tense, your opponent knows exactly where your wrist is. But if your arm is relaxed, your wrist could be anywhere. (I tried this and it really works – I still don’t dare to do it in sparring though :p.)
I love this instructional because it’s very clear that Gordon Ryan knows waaayyyyy more about submission escapes than anyone else. Where other people have 2 layers of defense, Gordon has 50.
Both Gordon Ryan’s Top Pins instructionals are fantastic. Gordon’s systems are different from what your normally learn but also simple, so I think anyone can pick these up.
After I became a purple belt I got frustrated that I couldn’t necessarily submit lower ranked people if they just try to stall, especially from mount. So I picked up these dvd’s, and I learned how to force submissions. Gordon’s systems work great for me.
Fighters that analyse their own matches is great content. Especially when the matches are against other high level opponents. There’s an interesting detail every microsecond of the match, that you normally just don’t see.
And what’s cool that Gordon actually gives credit to his opponents a lot. That’s kind of out of character for ‘The King’ of jiu jitsu. But he’s happy to share things like ‘here Lachlan Giles was very sticky on my foot so I couldn’t do my normal escape’, and ‘here Lucas Barbosa could have scored on me if he grabbed my knee instead of my hip’. It’s all very interesting to me.
Systematically attacking the guard VS Attacking the guard 2.0
Systematically attacking the guard is an older instructional, and it’s much broader. It covers passing basics such as passing closed guard, knee shield half guard, de la riva, and so forth. Attacking the guard 2.0 is a deep dive on Gordon’s most used passes now, Toreando’s and high steps. I recommend you start with 1.0, and get 2.0 afterwards.
Gordon Ryan vs John Danaher instructionals
Gordon Ryan and John Danaher teach similar things on their instructionals, but Gordon Ryan goes into much more detail. Some people say that John Danaher is like getting a bachelor degree and Gordon Ryan is like doing a PhD. I generally like Gordon Ryan better than John Danaher, but it’s a matter of taste.
Gordon Ryan half guard vs Lachlan Giles half guard instructional
Gordon Ryan’s half guard instructional is great, but I think Lachlan’s is even better. Lachlan covers more half guard positions, most notably a flattened out half guard. Gordon Ryan only covers offensive half guard positions: deep half, half butterfly and knee shield half guard.