Ribeiro S.B. was one of the first places I was invited to when I announced my trip on Reddit. I called the school and the man on the phone said they had a decent open may scheduled for that evening, so I took off from Chicago to make it.
We don’t have toll roads back home. But they have them around here and I ended up paying $8.50 to get to South Bend. It seemed excessive.
I exited towards Mishawaka and found the gym easily. I thought I had an hour to kill, but realized I’d crossed into another time zone when I looked at my phone, so I went inside.
I met Gary, the owner, a four stripe brown belt. Gary has been affiliated with Ribeiro JJ since he first started training thirteen years ago.
Ten people were already rolling so I put my gi on and warmed up as quickly as possible.
My first partner was a huge purple belt named Jurrell. Jurrell was exponentially stronger than me, but he had great body control and did his best to use technique when he could have just crushed me.
I rolled with a purple named Jack next. He played a slow and tight top game that was difficult for me to deal with. He sat heavily on my bottom leg in half guard and remained very upright. I couldn’t initiate X guard or an under hook and I was worried about his folding pass, so I abandoned the position and tried open guard instead. It took the entire round, but I managed one sweep to his half guard.
I rolled with Gary next and we kept it light, exchanging a variety of positions. He used a lot of butterfly and single X and I tried folding passes and berimbolo stuff.
I had three rounds with white belts, then one more with Gary.
After class, myself, Jack, Gary and a purple named Tyler walked across the street to a biker bar called Murphy’s. There were people wearing patches and smoking cigs inside- just one microbrew. I liked it. We drank a little and talked for a couple of hours about all things bjj. They were hilarious. They’ve trained together for years and have some unbelievable stories- some of reddit’s more notable ones actually.
We called it a night around 11 and I went for a short tour of the area. I didn’t see much, but Coast to Coast AM’s show about EMP’s was interesting so I drove for a while and listened.
The next morning was another open mat. I got more rounds with purples Jack and Tyler and a round with a four stripe blue who must have only weighed 120lbs. I also got a roll with an aggro white belt who was pushing 300. It was challenging but fun and he asked a couple good questions after.
I showered at Planet Fitness afterwards and saw Lorenzo Fertitta doing leg presses. I assume he was in town because his son is at Notre Dame. He was wearing Reeboks. (Notre Dame football was huge in Butte in the 90’s and I’ve hated them ever since.)
On both Friday and Saturday, people talked about a really good gym in Toledo. I hadn’t planned on going there, but it’s on the way to Detroit, so why not? I assume it’s a Ribeiro place.
Next stop Toledo.