Official Opening Night with Dean Lister

We were delighted to have one of the world’s greatest grapplers officially open our gym last Wednesday. Dean Lister is one of the most decorated submission wrestlers of all time, with 3 ADCC gold medals to his name, a feat very few can claim to have equaled. Dean arrived in Dublin on Wednesday having beaten Rodney Moore in an MMA match up the previous Saturday. In good spirits and always willing to talk fighting and technique, Dean arrived with his student and UFC veteran Shannon Gugerty and had some photos taken with the team and with the younger members of the gym.


After the official photos, Dean took a 3 hour seminar for us, teaching us some of the techniques that won him the ADCC title last September. First, Dean took us through an arm-drag sequence, starting with the very fundamental technique of clamping your opponents arm and moving to his back. He then showed a variety of options from there, dependent on your opponent’s reaction to the pressure you’re applying. Some of these were very simple yet ingenious, and as such everyone in the class was able to get something from them whether they were a grizzled veteran or a green newbie. Then came the real eye-opener as Dean showed a pretty unique sweep and armlock from the arm drag. Needless to say the notebooks and camera phones were quickly in people’s hands to record the little bit of genius.


We then moved on to questions and answers, which Dean answered patiently and with the benefit of his many years experience on the mats and in competition against the very best in the world. Among the questions were mounted attacks when your opponent is shelling up and defending tightly, the ‘long range Kimura’ (that was my question), correct heel hooking technique, and one of the nastiest, most painful footlocks I have ever had the displeasure of having demonstrated on me!

After the training was done, we sat down and Dean answered some general questions on training and Jiu Jitsu in general. Some of the main points we got from it were that he trains extremely specifically for his sport- in other words he doesn’t do much in the way of strength and conditioning training, preferring instead to wrestle, roll, or box harder and more intensely. He believes that the number one thing to do when you’re starting out in Jiu Jitsu is to find a good coach who can identify your strengths and weaknesses to help guide you, and he spoke a bit about the rite of passage of getting smashed a little bit when you start out, and when you’re a beginner you have to accept that it might be a few months in the sport before you “get it” and begin to be able to just train properly. I also asked about leglock rules and his opinion on the extremely strict rules on leglocks and “knee reaping” that exist in BJJ. Dean explained that while he understood the thinking behind the rules, that he felt the style was being weakened a little by discouraging people from attacking the legs, and reiterated his belief that all leglocks and submissions are safe and easy to train as long as you have good training partners.

Dean is great fun and always up for a bit of a laugh too. On that note I really recommend hearing his Arnold Schwarzenegger impression if you get the chance.


We took Dean and Shannon out that night to sample some of Dublin’s hospitality, but regrettably only made it as far as a North Dublin haunt that’s famous for it’s Garda and Nurse customer base. Nonetheless we had a great night and the two guys left promising to return soon.

Thank you Dean and Shannon, and a very happy birthday and official opening to Kyuzo!



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