Just came back from Carlson Gracie Hammersmith. Had a great time and was made to feel very welcome, good session run by Wilson junior. That place is hot!. On walking in you ascend up a set of stairs lined with photo's from the last 8 years, the place is well worn and I can the jiu jitsu. Funnily enough noticed a picture of one of the instructers and my instructer reffing his fight.
Got in very early but it gave me a chance to observe their basics class and to talk to some of their guys, including a canadian called Vince who seemed to be a member of staff. I say hello to Wilson junior their main instructer. Then I get to meet Dickie their other blackbelt instructer who with Simon Hayes (another blackbelt)sorted my faixa rua gi's. Simon gives me a very warm welcome and I feel good about training here.
Class was pretty busy, met some very cool people and had some enjoyable conversations. Covered the toreando and a bunch of counters, including some crazy knee on head bow and arrow type choke from top turtle. As is my custom I wanted to roll with the instructer. So I got to roll with Simon Hayes, Dickie AND Wilson. Only the 2nd time Ive seen 3 bjj blackbelts in the same room never mind getting to spar with them. Was great fun though and each of them gave me some different and really usefull pointers.
First up Simon Hayes:
Big guy and tough. Initially pulled guard a few times but couldnt stop his pass for toffee, he did the single lapel stack choke on me which I love. Picked up on a new detail on gripping the trouser legs. At some point I got figure four footlocked. In his guard I never got a chance to pass and was defending collar chokes and scissor sweeps plenty and getting caught plenty. Defended a few moves but got caught in some subs I cant even describe.Simon gave me some praise for my hip movement which made me feel good about myself, as its easy to get down when being totally outclassed.
Next Dickie Martin:
Flexable and triangly. Was in his guard mostly, and found myself getting caught in to many triangles. I did have one hand in and one out (a bad habit of mine) but the hand that was in was by his thigh so in my mind should be safe. Dickie demonstrated how it was not and that if I moved it to his knee I could then block the elbow coming out, but would be better off just using 2 in or 2 out. Another fun roll.
The boss - Wilson junior:
PRESSURE. Arg man...seriously, pressure!. He let me make the first moves but he made sure always to have a good grip. He commented on the importance of grip fighting and how it gets them to play your game. Also got triangled here plenty, trying to work on what Dickie had shown me. But if Wilson got a grip, it was game over straight away - he as able to pull my arm right through. At one point he was just holding side control on me and I couldnt move much so I just waited for a gap. 15 or so seconds go by and Im finding it hard to breath and am thinking about tapping, 5 more seconds and Im feeling very claustrophobic and short of air. I thrash about abit and luckily he changes position before kimuring me from a very odd angle. Another 5-10 seconds and I would of been extremely uncomfortable. He shows me how he put on the extra pressure by getting hip to hip and putting his weight on my diapragm. Great roll and learnt alot inbetween tapping every 5 seconds.
Another guy I dont know asks to go no-gi with me. Simon says something about him being very old friends with Braulio. Simon tells him to go easy which worries me more. Was fun rolling with this guy, think I should of been more attacking though I was putting myself into needless guillotines and could of imposed myself more. He covers my mouth BJ Penn style, neck cranks me and goes for a heel hook - but to be fair he does them with control and does not crank or use to much strength.
I was to be truthfull expecting a very different experience and Im glad I had the oppertunity to correct my assumptions. They dont care where you are from, everyone is welcome and they treat visitors very well. I felt proud to recieve a class Osssss meant for me. Very friendly bunch.
Thank you Carlson Gracie Hammersmith for the good training.