“Hey everybody, I’m Kurt,” he said. “I curse profusely, so if you don’t want your kids to hear it, get them the fuck out.”
These were the first words Kurt Osiander said to the 80 or so people that gathered in Southern Pines for Kurt’s first East Coast seminar.
If you know Kurt, you likely know him from his glorious Move Of The Week videos. They confirm his self-assessment as a profane individual — and also show that he is a hilarious one. That’s why he’s inspired numerous memes employing the quotes from the clips.
What sometimes gets lost due to Kurt’s charisma: the dude is a badass. He’s a third-degree Ralph Gracie black belt, which means his toughness and technique are both at legendary levels. If you’ve been around jiu-jitsu for any amount of time, chances are you’ve heard stories of how the Ralph Gracie guys go after each other in training, and Kurt’s contemporaries include beasts like Dave Camarillo and Luke Stewart.
Most important for me, Kurt’s style is similar to the style I’ve been taught: it’s fundamental, not flashy, and based on positional dominance. Some seminar material is so different from your game that you struggle to understand the concepts (or at least I do): this was more like taking an advanced class on material you’ve seen before.
And what an advanced class. The seminar was four hours long, which made it ridiculous value at $60. Although my brain was full by the end, I would’ve done another session the next day.
I’ve already talked about Kurt’s rhetorical strategy, so I have to tell the tale of the one kid who stayed. The place was packed (there must have been more than 80 people there), so Kurt had to walk around a lot. He wasn’t always near where you were. I was drilling with my partner next to the brave youngster, a guy who must have really cool parents.
He was probably 10 years old, and was drilling the S-mount armbar when Kurt walked up. At first, he didn’t notice Kurt, because he was so intent on getting the right position before falling back for the finish. When he saw the huge man with the long hair looming over him, his eyes got as big as dinner plates. He stopped drilling just for a split-second.
And Kurt looks at him and says: “Well, don’t fuck it up now, bro!”
I am happy to report that the young fella executed the technique perfectly, and seemed to be having a blast at all times. The rest of the crowd all looked like they were getting a lot out of it too, and there was a lot of talent in the room: tons of upper belts.
Despite the four hours of mainlining hardcore jiu-jitsu, one of my teammates and I wanted more, so we split a private lesson with him. I really wanted to work my guard passing, and he showed me several details I was missing on my favorite passes. I also asked Kurt for ideas on how to chain passes together, and I think his tips will really help.
At the end, I asked Kurt to pose for a picture with me where he was doing Simple Choke from Knee on Belly. The results were predictably spectacular, since Kurt isn’t shy about mugging for the camera.
I didn’t notice until afterward that we were both wearing Shoyoroll gis. Given Kurt’s famous catchphrase, how could I NOT make this parody advertisement?
Taking a private with Kurt is worth it just for the stories. The techniques are also awesome, of course — but you’ll get your money’s worth in more than one way. That’s all I’ll say about that.
Plus, afterward, we took him out for Orange Mocha Frappucinos*:
The bottom line: five hours of first-rate instruction (and even better entertainment) with a uniquely charismatic individual. It was one of the best jiu-jitsu weekends I’ve spent in a long time, and I’m looking forward to training at Kurt’s place when I make it back to the West Coast sometime.
*This may not have actually happened. Although I could see the gasoline scene happening in a different context.