Here’s where I’ve been lately. 5 solid gyms, black belts teaching every class, good competitive training.
At Port City, I trained in a racquetball court converted to a grappling room, pretty cool. Class was led by a sixty year old black belt who warmed us up with some judo, then ran allowed us to drill our preferred sweeps and passes before sparring.
The guys and girl at this gym were interested in my trip and gave me lots of info about bjj in the area. I also met a purple belt who runs a soap company that gave me a few bars and a sticker. Tortuga Soap – this guy makes the serious gourmet shit. Try it, grapplers.
My rolls here were just the right level- hard, but controlled. They also played live Roger Waters during class.
Boston. Boston makes Montreal feel like Phoenix. After the first day, I parked the van near the gym and took the bicycle everywhere.
Boston BJJ has been around for twenty years and has produced over thirty black belts. Most of the schools in New England have some relation to Roberto Maia’s team. The training was good and I rolled with 6 different black belts in three classes, including one called Big Steve who was like 6’6″ 275- built like a linebacker.
After my time there, I tried out Kenny Florian’s gym for a night. No gi class was led by Keith Florian. I liked that Keith demonstrated quickly so that we had extra time to drill. I picked up two good details on defending chokes from the back and had a good roll with a Jordanian brown belt called Sanna.(sp?)
I liked Boston and enjoyed some good food and cool history. But I was getting claustrophobic, so I headed down to Providence, RI late at night after Florian’s.
Providence is beautiful. It’s a smaller city with canals and rivers and big parks.
I had a good night of training at Tim Burrill’s gym. The space looked oddly familiar, and I figured out that I’d seen it in demo videos when I met a purple belt named Vinny who is the owner of Armor Kimonos.
Vinny has good straight ankle locks.
Tim was a very soft spoken teacher with a loose approach to drilling that I liked. He would show three or four different knee slice passes and let us drill the versions we liked.
Tim taught the first hour and the second hour was led by a black belt they call Tattoo Jimmy. Jimmy is the most animated teacher I’ve ever seen. It took him a long time to show a move, but he was funny and he energized the class.
I’ve trained my last two days at Soucraft BJJ in New Haven, CT.
Soulcraft is run by Brad Wolfson, whom you might recognize from his involvement with BJJ Globetrotters. Brad is obviously down with my trip and he’s been a great host.
The atmosphere at his school is perfect. Clean facility, good attitudes and thoughtful instruction from a variety of coaches who seem to genuinely care about each student. Their music is good too- the Dead and Iron Maiden, along with quality rap and reggae.
I made a CLAMP for my camera tripod today. Hopefully this helps me get into the video game.
I feel like writing in depth about the practices is getting stale. You can only describe training in so many ways. What does the audience think? More vids?
The big ones are coming up- MGA, Unity and Renzo’s. When I first conceived of the trip, the goal I had in mind was to train with Marcelo and his team. Now I’m just a few days from that and I couldn’t be more excited.
Thanks for reading so far, and keep with me for these next few weeks, which could be the best yet.