I made my way into the heart of Miami on Friday. The first thing I did was go to Little Havana and eat some Cuban food. I had a skirt steak, some yellow rice with pork, and mashed plantains. Excellent.
That evening, I trained at Roberto Abreu‘s gym, Fight Sports.
Fight Sports is about ten minutes from Biscayne Bay, on a busy street across from a Ferrari dealership. They have a cool open air weight lifting area out front and a spacious mat inside.
The first hour was a beginner’s class where we drilled an over-under pass. It’s a move I don’t use much so it was entertaining to work on.
After an hour, we had an open mat. I went with a big and tall purple belt first. He surprised me with a Roleta sweep, but he failed to control me after the roll and we came back to a neutral position. He opted for spider guard and I had little chance of breaking his grips, but he didn’t create anything. After a few minutes he went for closed guard, but I got one knee up through the middle pushed it to the floor. I stayed glued to his chest as he tried to force my head away and eventually completed my pass. The timer went off about ten seconds later.
I did a second round with a solid blue belt and finished two shoulder locks from omoplatas.
My last round was with a white belt who was maybe 190lbs, strong and a little spastic. I made sure not to catch any knees or elbows in the face and tried more omoplatas. (just in the mood for omoplatas I guess?)
I stayed near the gym for the night so I could go back in the morning. It was hot all night and I woke up sweaty in my baking metal box.
That Saturday session was a good one. The mats were full, with four black belts, two browns and a handful of purples.
It was a sparring session, so I warmed up for a couple minutes then found a partner.
I did a lot of rounds and honestly it’s hard to recall their order 3 days later.
So here’s a non-chronological recap:
I rolled with two different purples, one male, one female. I did well against both of them.
I rolled with a black belt who was my size and was happy with my performance. Nobody tapped, but we both had passes and sweeps.
I trained with two brown belts- one bigger and one smaller. I had a lot of success with my wrestling type moves.
I also went with three different blue belts. One was a little bigger and pretty technical and the other two were smaller and less skilled.
I felt like my style matched up well against the general style at this gym. I came to the top frequently on single legs and I took many backs.
The first part of my rdlr was working, but almost everyone was able to turn back to face me when I went behind them. I asked the black belt if he knew why this was happening and he introduced me to his brown belt brother who used the move a lot. He explained that he has the same problem sometimes when he forgets to use his non-hooking leg to control their far hip. We drilled it for a few minutes and it seemed to be the piece I was missing.
At one point, someone announced that the next round would be the last. After that round, the same person announced that we all had ten minutes to vacate the gym. I rushed to the locker room and was the last guy eligible to use the shower.
This place had a good vibe. I was approached to roll every round and had a little conversation with all of my training partners. The talent was good and the intensity was just right.
They also did a secret hand shake because Roberto Abreu comes from a Carlson lineage. Their hand shake isn’t like the one in Chicago though. They interlace all of their fingers instead of just the pinky.
I didn’t get to see Abreu himself, but it wasn’t a big deal.
One other thing: I rolled with a guy from the Caribbean who lived in Polson, MT for a year for some reason. He talked about Flathead and the mountains and said he enjoyed it, even the winter.
He also knew former MT State quarterback Denarius McGee.
After training, I drove out to Miami Beach. I cruised through the Art Deco neighborhood, and then went to the beach.
The water was warm and teal and super salty and there were thousands of people out. I swam around for a little while and then walked about a half mile up the beach while I dried off in the sun.
At night, I went to a Buffalo Wild Wings to watch UFC 194. I spent a little too much money, but it was worth it to see such a good card. People went ape shit when McGregor dropped Aldo in 13 seconds.
I made a plan for Sunday to drive out to the Florida Keys. That adventure will be my next post.