After the comp I was free to start the pilgrimage and turns out RGA wimbledon is actually alot closer than I thought!. One of the guys I met at the Brighton comp even gave me a lift from the station which was handy. They were a great bunch of guys and I had a good session. The class was taken by Marcio a black belt affiliated with RGA, I dont know him to well but Ive seen him before. Also in attendance was Ray Stevens who not only has an olympic silver medal in judo (1992 - the last awarded to a British person) but also is probaly one of the only people to attain a BJJ blackbelt without holding any prior rank. Due to his training with Roger Gracie and his aptitude at newaza. The club is run by him and also offers judo and other classes: Check the website here
First thing new I picked up on was a warm up exercise I hadnt seen. Essentially standing up in someones guard and picking them up ten times.
Technique wise we did a normal sprawl drill, a sprawl variation and the triangle. The sprawl variation was interesting.
One arm between you and them against their neck (as normal) and one out. The main difference was in hooking underneath there jaw, sprawling at an angle and driving your shoulder down into the back of their neck. The bonus is the extra head control and ability to completely stuff the shoot. Possible downside is breaking their neck? but definitely works.
Sparring was fun. 1st up was the guy closest to my size (big dudes in this class!), he was cool and relaxed but just made some normal new guy mistakes I capitilised on. Next up was a big blue belt guy, so I stepped it up a notch. Cross collar choke from guard did the business, turns out he hadnt trained in a year and a half!. So felt a lil mean but was still a fun roll, he nailed me with an ezekial choke from top half guard which I really should of defended. One move Ive used a fairbit in the past came in handy. Go for a collar choke from mount, when they try roll you off. Go with them, slide your leg over and a hey presto belly down armbar.
Then had a go with Lawrence (who beat my guy in the final in brighton), kept it light hearted but wanted to avenge my guy. Lawrence had great top control and patience. Went for a omoplata sweep which he countered well, subbed me a few times in the end.
After the lesson we all went for a pint! Ray had some very interesting stories.
Great start to the pilgrimage, hope each stop will be as good. Definitely going to investigate doing some judo with Ray.
Thanks again to Faixa Rua for outfitting me with 2 gi's for the pilgrimage and one massive A5 gi for all the patches.