BJJ Black Belt
CGJJ Stories from Abroad
This was a Blog i wrote originally on the EFN forum Last Year.Many of you may have read it,but i'm reprinting it here for those that didn't.
As any of you who have known me a while know i have to travel a lot for work.
I am currently working in Spain.
I always try to train in new academies while away,and teach my workmates BJJ.
I normally travel with enough mats to teach 6 people and for one pair to roll unresricted by space.
I thought it would be interesting for you guys to read about my travels and teaching.
Arrived at my Hotel and went to check out the 'gym'.It is on the top floor of the hotel and overlooks the ocean.
It has an outdoor pool on a terrace,an indoor jacuzzi,steamroom and sauna.
The 'gym' part of it consists of a cheap running machine,old excersise bike and an elyptical walker.
The gym is really a 'spar'.I have decided not to ask the hotel about putting mats in there-i am just going to do it-
and if they say anything i will complain that their gym is not sufficient and my mats are for my daily yoga regime.
My assistants carry the mats into the hotel on their shoulders followed by me humping a suitcase containing some press up
bars,2x10kg dumbells and a single 30kg dumbell.We must look a little strange.I smile at the receptionist who looks slightly
confused and offer up a friendly "Buenos Dias!".We get in the lift before she can reply and hit the button for the 5th floor.
We are in the hotel off season so there is nobody in the spar-no staff and no guests.I set up the mats,then do
a 'weights' workout-
3xsets of press ups to failure using the press up bars that allow full range of movement a little like a bench press.
3x sets of one arm,bent over dumbell rows with the 30kg dumbell.
3x sets of lateral raises for side delts with the 10kg dumbells.
p.s. My weights routines on this blog do not represent how i train in London-they are a 'needs-must' way with minimal equipment
while travelling to maintain strength.
My first Jiu Jitsu workout in my new 'dojo'.The surroundings being slightly more upmarket than the Carlson Gracie London 'BoilerRoom'!
There have been no complaints from the hotel about the new mats and weights that have mysteriously appeared in their 'spar'.
My first new student is Paul.A 34 year old guy i am working with.He has no martial arts experience but does a physical job and is a good snowboarder.
We are,of course,going to be training 'No Gi'.This is because none of my workmates are experienced and will want to buy kimono's.They wouldn't understand
or want to wear a gi.They want me to teach them some 'gracie shit' like in the 'ufc'.
I do a really thorough warm up with Paul-including Carlson Gracie Neck crunches-anyone who has trained with Wilson,Me or Dickie will wince at
the thought of these!
We then do about 15 minutes of stretching which is a bastardisation of my old Taekwondo stretch routine (have you seen tkd high kicks.....?) and
I then show Paul what 'Guard,side control,knee on chest and mount' look like and explain the hierachy of positional dominance in BJJ.
I then teach him the basic 'knee in bum,elbows in quads,trap his leg under your leg' guard pass.
Then its onto side control and an americana submission-showing the secret details.................
We then spar from kneeling.I tell him he can go as crazy as he likes as long as he doesn't put his fingers in my eyes.
I jump guard and after 2 minutes rolling around he is gassed and can't continue.
I was careful not to submit him-because in my experience if you submit people on their 1st session their ego can't take it and they may
not return.I need Paul.I am away until April and i only have him to train with...............
We manage to sneak out of the spar without any questions from the Hotel Staff.Paul persuades me to dismantle the matts and leave them in a
pile in the corner of the spar so they are less conspicuous.It only takes 3 minutes-He's right.
To Be Continued.
Before i left England i had googled "BJJ Los Alazares" and got nothing-same with Judo,which is always my second google
if BJJ doesn't show anything up.
I then looked for the nearest city to 'Los Alcazares' and found it is Murcia.
I then googled 'BJJ Murcia' and found a small advertisement on a local sport forum advetising 'Rafael Santos-Jiu Jitsu Brasiliero Professor'.
I sent him an email saying i would like to come and train and he sent me an email back in spanish saying i would be welcome and not regret it!
I then googled his name and found a you tube video of 'Rafael Santos vs another guy'.They both looked like monsters-over 90kg and at a high level-
i would say Brown or Black Belt (the fight was No Gi).I was going to have my work cut out.
When i arrived at work i asked some of the spanish crew how far it was to Murcia.They told me about 40km's and about 40 euro's each way in a cab.
Phew.This was going to be an expensive excercise.
After work i ordered a cab for 6.30pm at the hotel (the class started at 7.30) and got in the cab with an address written on a scrap of paper.
The cab driver didn't speak any english and i don't speak any spanish apart from
"Donde estas SPACE por favor" from my Ibiza days of the past..............
I had been in the Cab about 50 minutes and the fare had gone to about 55 euro's before i started getting concerned.
We were in the Northern Outskirts of a strange city,and maybe it was my arsehole going-because travelling to a new club in
a new country is always a little 'challenging' on the old bottle (a bit like going to a competition),the surroundings were looking
a little industrial and rough.
The cab driver stopped and asked a couple of people if they knew where the gym was.They didn't.He eventually found a policeman who
immediately knew the gym-he said it was new.I managed to understand that.
We eventually arrived at the gym at 7.35- i was 5 minutes late and had been in the cab for over an hour.
The journey cost me 70 euro's (about £50.)
The gym had a glass front and looked like a very high quality Body Building gym-and it was packed with monsters.
I scoped it from the outside and saw a first floor with glass walls overlooking the ground floor weights room.
There were two first floor rooms-one with an aerobics class going on and another with 4 guys wearing Gi's standing and talking.
The way the Dojo had a glass wall and overlooked the main gym reminded me of 'The Third Space' in London's Soho.
I made my way into the gym,and stopped at the desk where there was a turnstile.
I smiled at the female bodybuilder there and just said "Jiu Jitsu",hoping she wouldn't
tell me i had to be a member,pay insurance or do an induction.
She clicked the turnstile and in i walked.I carried on through all the steroid heads
training over to the stairs in the corner.Up the stairs and into the dojo,taking my shoes off and bowing
at the door.There was a 35 year old Purple Belt who was about 6ft 2in and about 85kgs.
I knew immediately he would have a guard game specialising in triangles.
Its funny how after all these years you know by looking at someone what their BJJ will consist of
after 2 seconds.
He was with a small young Blue Belt and 2 big white belts who were in their Thirties.
The Purple belt walked over to me and i asked "Professor?" he said "Si" and i said "Simon Hayes-Email!"
He said "Porra" and i realised
1.He was not the Rafael Santos from You Tube (phew)
2.He spoke NO english.
3.I spoke a few words of Spanish and a few words of Portuguese-like 'Porra' 'Puta Kipario' 'passe le guard' 'Valeo' 'porra' 'PORRA!!' and 'poooorrrrraaaaa'.
This was going to be interesting.
One of the white belts came over-and his english was about as good as my french-he could understand many single words but got lost on sentences.
I tried to explain that i was sorry i was late,and that i came 'muito kilometres' and that i would like to train and none of them understood a word i said.
I then just said 'OK.Me-kimono' and pointed downstairs to the changing room.They all looked happy and then the Instructor asked the White Belt something
in spanish.The white belt asked me 'You-what belt'.I said Brown and he looked shocked.He said something in spanish to the instructor and the instructors
smile left his face.He said to me 'Faixa Marom?' and i said "Si".
I then turned and left the dojo to go and get changed.
I got into my plain white Mizuno Judo Gi.Wearing a plain judo gi when you are at other peoples academy is a mark of respect to them.
It is disrespectful to turn up with Bulldogs all over your Gi,and can change a nice welcoming reception into resentment and
competitiveness very quickly.
I know how i feel when someone turns up with another teams patch at Carlsons.Much as i try to be mature about it,it bothers me-i am being honest here.
Its like turning up to train at Chelsea with an Arsenal Kit.
I also use a Judo Gi so if i can't find a Jiu Jitsu Club i can go and train at a Judo Club without being immediately labelled a 'BJJ guy'.