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BJJ Dim Sum

BJJ Dim Sum

I travel a lot for work. I have a choice, I can take the days off from BJJ (which as a senior citizen is sometimes an important part of my training…rest days!) or I can go online and search out local BJJ academies and go train.

I travel a lot for work. I have a choice, I can take the days off from BJJ (which as a senior citizen is sometimes an important part of my training…rest days!) or I can go online and search out local BJJ academies and go train.
This is kind of like going to eat dim sum. Sometimes I bite into the pastry, wait a second and then I need to look around that no ones watching as I spit the mystery “meat” into my hand. Other bites are spectacular, an explosion of flavor and texture, I am left searching out the cart with the dim sum I just had and that is often times elusive…sometimes I think they are just messing with me!
Finding the right academy to train at can be like biting into Dim Sum. I have dropped into a ton of academies around the world. At one academy I watched the professor roll with the teenagers…when they would tap from the choke he would then hold it and put them to sleep, then the next teenager would come in and meet the same fate. The instructor, I have to tell you, was having a great time! Maybe this was special training? He then lined up everyone, introduced me and one by one I had to train with each, while the others stood there and watched. The first 2-3 trainings were okay, but you can imagine how it went as I became increasingly more fatigued. Finally by guy number 10 or 11 I was completely dead and I made someone’s day as I got choked by a student who was probably in his first week of training, I couldn’t even lift my arms. At that point the instructor was satisfied (with what I have no clue) and class started. The funny thing is, since it was close to where I was staying I returned each day that week rather than not train!
I found an outrageously racist instructor, who embodied nothing of what I believe. I mean a really hateful guy, and with a Portuguese accent it almost seemed funny…well almost. He saw a “transexual” walking down the street in Rio and said “Shim’s got a look for me…he no hespect myself…I got a punch for her!” as he shook his fist in his/her’s direction. I think he took his hate out on me and destroyed me on the mat, I thought my shoulders were going to pop. He no hespected myself!! And yes…I returned to his academy the rest of that week too as I didn’t know where else to train.
However…like I said with Dim Sum…you can bite into some amazing morsels of food too! And through traveling I discovered Gordo, and Professor Correa. I’ve found tiny academies in the middle of nowhere in the north of Brazil. And this past week from reading a post on the internet I discovered an amazing academy 2 miles from where I am staying in Miami (Roberto Abreu). I have made a bunch of new friends and found a teacher for myself when I have to be in Miami for work, which is every 3 weeks!
A lot of my posts here on Eastonbjj.com discuss “mental training” and here is the thing. As an academy we grow through personal discovery but most importantly we all rise when everyone lifts together. You’ve all heard “there is no “I” in team”…which is a platitude that has always kinda bugged me. But one of my yoga instructors sent out a flyer the other day that said “There is a U in Community” and I liked that better.
If your expectation is, I will show up to class, and 3000 classes later I will have a black belt. Well…I think you will have a very limited game of Jiu Jitsu. Jimi Hendrix said “It’s the space in between the notes” Well, I say “it’s the space in between the classes!”
Let’s say you were in medical or law school…you absolutely have to attend class and learn the curriculum. Let’s be clear –That is imperative. However, much of the learning comes in the smaller study groups outside of the actual class.   Could you graduate if you only attended class and that was it? Probably not.   At the very least, equal time is spent studying what you learned in class and doing projects with your peers.   The same is essential to your progress in BJJ.

“Jeff Suskin with his new friends at Professor Roberto Abreu’s (Cyborg) academy in Miami Beach”
Are you going to learn the “helicopter sweep” in a typical class? Probably not. I can’t even imagine how you would teach more than one person at a time a complicated sweep like that. So many details, such weird body movement…no way! That technique is learned because one of us goes to another school or has a friend that is very good at the technique, which a friend showed to them and you said “hey that is really cool, show me that” and then drilled it over and over, then tried it drilling live in class and now call it your own as you sweep people in randori. It doesn’t come from Prof Correa posting on the board…”we will be instructing the “octopus guard” all week in purple belt class…be sure to make class!”
Maybe I’m wrong, maybe that is the way it happens. But in my experience, the complexities of BJJ are learned by each of us sharing with each other and drilling in between class. Not just rolling around, but sharing techniques and really drilling. Matt Jubera’s “smash pass,” I learned that through endless drilling with Amal, James, Ian and Mike…not from a specific class on “smash pass”
So the lesson to be had here is…with a community of almost 600 students from Ft Collins to Arvada there is a lot of BJJ to be shared! Specifically drill the moves you learn in class or see on the internet, find schools to train at wherever you travel to and bring back exotic treats and delights of BJJ treasure, drill drill drill and teach teach teach to each other so we can all be the academy where people come and say “it’s like a university, there is more BJJ going on there then I ever thought possible…things I have never seen!!” Yes, it is like the age of discovery…for BJJ!! For BJJ and MMA these are very exciting time! There has been a crazy evolution of our sport in the past 5 years. And 600 students bringing all their collective knowledge to one place… well you can imagine the possibilities. And as one of my Muay Thai coaches Oscar Martinez likes to say “If you teach it, you own it!”
Learn, teach, train! Forte Abracos!
Prof Sus!

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