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Note: I am describing this in detail because it’s my first week in a new school and it’s a new place to my regular blog buddies and readers.
Wednesday was my second day back at Gracie Barra (SJ). The first time I was a spectator and I wanted to see how classes were conducted. It was short and sweet. Class was an hour long and it was a fundamentals class. I was a little late getting there, so I missed the warm-up, but when I arrived they were working on a take-down. While they were drilling the take-down the instructor came over and introduced himself. He told me his name was Prof. Robierto (sp.). We talked a bit about where I trained before and my experience.
After talking to me he went and demonstrated a technique to follow the takedown. They drilled again and then he showed them another technique that followed the previous one. It was a chain sequence. They finished up by working on a measured guard passing drill. Then they lined up, performed a few crunches and triangle leg switches (I don’t know what you call them), some stretches and bowed out. I knew then that I wanted to join but I wanted to wait until I had a chance to participate in a class.
I was finally able to do that this past Wednesday (fundamentals class). When I arrived I was warmly greeted by Prof. Robierto and I asked if I could join in. He said that was fine and I quickly changed. There were about 10 or so people there, there were two other blue belts besides me and the rest were white belts (some with stripes/some not). We bowed to the instructor, then bowed to the Professors and Masters on the wall and then the senior student collected all of the cards for attendance. Then the instructor called up the senior blue belt and he led us through calisthenics.
We performed jumping jacks, squats, crunches, bridges, breakfalls, neck exercises and triangle leg switches (TLS). After that, Prof Robierto led us through drills.
The first was a defense against a front bear hug and it ends with the defender on the side of the aggressor.
Second, we worked on an entry to a hip throw from that position and it ends with knee on belly. My partner’s name was Dave and he’s about 6’4 or 5 and after class he told me he weighs 270 pounds. He’s a white belt with about 2 or 3 stripes. At first I thought that he might ‘chuck’ me hard but he handled me like a kitten (Can I write that here?). That was a plus in my book.
Third, we practiced an arm bar from that position in case the initial aggressor decides to push off the knee.
After that sequence we practiced obtaining the arm bar from the mount and next performed an exercise where we practiced going around the legs to get knee on belly (over and over again for about 1 1/2 minutes each). During the arm bar from the mount sequence Dave’s foot slipped and all 270 pounds came crashing on my stomach. I let out an involuntary “BRUUUUUUOOOOOOOOOOHHHHH!” sound as all of the air left my body and class stopped for few seconds until I managed an, “I’m alright!
We ended with crunches, TLS, stretches and then bowed out.
I loved the chain technique sequence they use. I swear I didn’t have to try at all to remember the sequence even two days after class was over.
After class, Prof. Robierto asked when I was going to start coming out and I told him that we just finished moving in this week and I would be back on Friday. Dave, in passing, said it was good to have another big guy in class and another guy yelled out, “Hey, I’m jealous!” —– I kid you not, there were at least four guys there that were 6’2 or higher and over 220 plus pounds.
I really like the way classes are structured. They are 1 hr each (even the advanced classes). This bodes well for a guy like me. I began my BJJ journey (in 2004) with a one hour class. In and out. That’s how I like it.