Friday, May 25, 2012

On Switching Schools

So, people in martial arts change change schools for a variety of reasons and come and go for different things and with different attitudes about their experiences at a given academy.  By the time you've been doing this since young adulthood or late adolescence you've said hello and goodbye to many training partners and facilities for several reasons.  I've been very lucky in my time to have said good bye to very few on unfriendly circumstances.

Conversely, I've had to deal with new training environments in different arts enough that it's well past being an event that causes nerves for me.  If anything, it's an exciting opportunity to take a different step.   However, it does not make it easier to leave a group of training partners full time.

This week, I said goodbye once again.  This time it was a much harder event than it has been in a long time.  Last night was, in all likelihood, my final night on the mat at Ohana Martial Arts as one of the students there.  For those that don't know, I travel about 45 in one way to attend BJJ classes with Chris at Ohana.  It has been time well spent.  Chris is an amazing instructor and the group of individuals that train there are equally as incredible.

However, for about a year Triton MMA has been open in my very own little town of Woodstock and it boasts an excellent BJJ program.  The owner, Mike, is equally amazing at what he does and since I've got to know him I've found him to be an excellent individual as well.  I count he and his senior students as friends.

So, for some time, I have struggled with the fact that I've had access to a great program that offers what I love to do 5 minutes from my house while I've been driving 45 minutes to a great program to which I have much loyalty.  Finally, I have come to the only decision that I could really make.  I've taken off the Nova Uniao flag and elected to switch schools.  After speaking with both coaches, it seemed to be the option that made the most sense across the most domains.  

Chris and the guys at Ohana, you are the best.  I will miss training with you all on a routine basis.  To the guys at Triton, I am thrilled and excited to be part of your academy and thank you for the warm welcome and acceptance.  It is an amazing new step in my journey that's been on going for so long I can't picture my life without it. 

For everyone else, I truly hope that you have such difficult decisions to make when it comes to electing where to train.  It is a major blessing to have such legit academies around me and I do realize how lucky that makes me.

On the upside, along this path I have collected training partners that run the gambit of organizations, arts, and affiliations and  to those who've I've become attached I still manage to get time with them here or there every now and again.  I have no reason, or desire, for it to be otherwise this time. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

05/14/2012 Roy Harris Private

On the 14th, I got the amazing opportunity to take a semi-private with Roy Harris while he was in the area conducting JKD training for one of his affiliates.  Luckily, he was also scheduling privates in BJJ with his off-time.  The hour that we spent working with him was just beyond words.

First up, let my just say that Roy is a stand up guy and great individual to hang out with, regardless of his many martial accomplishments.  Can't say enough about that.

Next up, he took on the topic that we had requested, his pressure game from top, and really broke down lots of great material for us.  More than just a collection of techniques, he really shared the background information and the "why" of the movements rather than just the tactics themselves.

It was a great reminder, to me, about the greatest thing in jiu jitsu.  You can take a position that you've used for years, in this case we worked out of side mount quite a bit, and suddenly realize that you don't know it nearly as well as you thought you did.  Then, you tack on his total relaxation during each of the movements and total eschewing of strength to make them work and you've pretty much summed up everything that is awesome about jiu jitsu.  All in an hour of superb instruction.

Money and time well spent.  Some post training shots:


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Yesterday was the annual Super Cop Boxing Exhibition here in Chicago.  For those not familiar with the event, it's a charity event for the families of officers who've lost their lives in the line of duty.  Active duty, sworn law enforcement officers sign up for exhibition boxing bouts and their departments come to cheer them on.  Bragging rights are the only pay off beyond the charity.  For more info on the organization here it is:

The past few years there have been a grappling division as well.  I'm not lying, I've been wanting this title.  There, I said it.  IBJJF medals are more highly valued among BJJers, NAGA is more widely recognized, but I've always wanted to win the cop grappling tournament.  I've given it a couple of tries. Gotten close a time or two, but never sealed the deal. Finally, the stars lined up this year.

The other competitors were great.  Each a class act and another cop.  Here's the breakdown on how it went:

Round 1

Round 2

And Round 3

It's not my most exciting work, but the strategy of the match worked really well.  Enjoy.