In what I hope will become a regular feature especially as I continue my recovery and am a bit slow putting stuff out here is a column by the man Lagarto called Samurai.
Quiet down, quiet down!
My name is Mr. Samurai.
Meerkatsu! Stop doodling at the back of class.
Now…as you all know Mr. Grandao is unwell and as a result you have not had your regular supply of blog posts. I have been drafted in as your substitute poster until he regains his health.
Seriously, I’m honoured to be given a chance to post on Grandao’s blog. I hope I can maintain the standards he’s set and, above all, I wish Grandao a speedy recovery. We miss you big fella!
If you’ve not figured it out already, I also train at Gracie Barra Sheffield under the knowledgeable and watchful eye of John Goldson; brown belt under Lucio “Lagarto” Rodriguez.
On 22nd January we had the pleasure of hosting a seminar with Bruno Alves. He is a BJJ World Champion (2008) 2x European Champion, 2009 Pan American Silver medallist, 2010 South American Champion and 2010 silver Rio Open and World Cup medallist.
The session started with a short, focused warm up and good stretch. It was then straight into techniques…and boy did we see techniques!
Now as a humble beginner I often find that many of the techniques taught at seminars, whilst effective and impressive, are difficult to practically weave into my game. Now I’m not suggesting for a second seminars should be tailored towards the skill set of the weakest link present. However, I have wondered whether it is possible to devise a seminar that gave everything to everyone present. Well…Bruno did it.
I don’t intend to rehearse everything he did; not least of all because I couldn’t do it justice but also because you simply need to get to the man’s seminar yourself to experience it firsthand you cheap skates!
As a starter we began with pointers on controlling your opponent when he has turtled up; then moved on to rolling him over, taking the back and finishing with a choke.
Now if you like those 3 sided green sweets from a box of ‘Quality Street’ you’d have loved the main course as it was a triangle fest!
Bruno demonstrated ways of transitioning into the triangle from 3 different positions. These were positions which naturally flowed from one to the other so you not only had 3 individual techniques but also a chain of submission attempts.
Now these techniques didn’t involve multiple spins or hand stands but their beauty was in their simplicity. Simple moves should not be undervalued; one only needs to look at the success Roger Gracie has achieved through the masterful use of techniques we learn in our formative year of BJJ. Bruno was to later tell me that the techniques he had shown us were ones he had used consistently when competing.
After each technique was demonstrated every man on the mat was grinning…grinning because he understood something over and above the shear simplicity and effectiveness of the move; that, as John was to say at the end of the seminar, these were techniques that everyone present (from brown belt to white) could immediately slot into their game.
Bruno is a softly spoken man and he explained the techniques methodically and clearly. He was happy to take questions whilst demonstrating and answered them fully. The end of each technical demonstration was punctuated with a motivational “Go!” He made a point of moving around the mat and spending time with beginners and advanced students alike.
Dessert was half an hour of rolling. Bruno himself rolled with students at both ends of the experience spectrum. It was a mark of the success of the seminar that a number of students wanted to engage in positional sparring and pressure test what they had been shown.
We finished with a recap of some essential points and some obligatory photographs. Bruno was even brave enough to agree to have a photo taken with one of GB Sheffield’s future world champions, 5 year old white belt 4 stripe Sal – my son
It was a great seminar and everyone was buzzing at the end. Bruno is someone we will definitely be inviting back.
I suppose it’s a mark of how good the seminar was that I’m writing this blog on the same day and when I have a stack of pressing work to do!