I spent most of Sunday searching the city for Miami Hurricanes apparel. I like the U and figured I was in the right place to score some cheap gear. But the ‘Canes haven’t been very good lately and the department stores were mostly carrying Florida and Florida State stuff. ( I hate FL St.)
I went all over, even the U of M campus, and couldn’t anything good at a reasonable price. I gave up after a while and wasted the rest of the day on the internet.
On Monday, I decided to check out the Florida Keys.
Key West is the last island on a chain of islands (keys) that hangs off the tip of Florida. I’d seen this image before and always wanted to drive down that road.
It took about three hours for me to drive all the way to the end of Highway 1. It was late afternoon and I had no hope of making it back to the city for a practice, so I wandered around and observed the tourist trap at the west end of the island. I tried key lime pie. It was good but not amazing. I also saw a bar that Hemingway apparently frequented although I’m sure it’s no longer like it was when he was there.
It occurred to me that there might actually be a gym out here. The city of Key West was decent sized and some of thee tourists probly trained. I googled it and sure enough, there was a Relson Gracie affiliate nearby.
My white gi’s were dirty and I believe Relson schools only wear white, so I called to check. The owner of the school answered and informed that it was no gi that evening. Problem solved.
So at 6pm I found the gym, located between a scooter shop and a bar.
The head coach Eddy ran the class. He put us through some regular warmup drills, then showed us a duck under (gif), followed by an arm drag (gif), then a double leg off of an arm drag.
After that, Eddy showed a basic kick back pass. He stuck with basics because most of the guys were new.
After about 30 minutes of drilling we rolled a few six minute rounds. I went with Eddy first. He was about 200 lbs and pretty rough. I managed to avoid being submitted but I didn’t get any offense going.
I did the next few rounds with novice guys. I tried to move around a lot and make it fun.
I got a round later with a guy with some experience. He went into bottom half guard again and again and each time back stepped and passed to side control. He began blocking my back step and trying to take my back, so I tried using some wrestling switch-type maneuvers to turn back into him. They worked, but only because he was unfamiliar with them. I thought about it afterwards and realized that trying this had gotten me stuck in crucifixes in the past. I decided that I need to abandon this idea- it will only lead to failure against good competition.
I ended the night with one more round with Eddy. It was the same story, but he caught me in a heel hook this time. I didn’t know they were in play, but that probly wouldn’t have changed the outcome.
I drove back to Miami in the dark. It was extra black out on the water and I could see the stars clearly.
At Key Largo, the road was blocked off by police who were attending to what looked like a fatal accident. I followed some local cars onto side streets which got me around the wreck and I continued back to the mainland.
It would have been worth the drive without the training, but I’m glad I got some anyway. That must be the southern most gym in America.