Thursday, 24 April 2014

10 Years of BJJ - My Jiu-Jitsu Journey - Part 5 (We Moved Gym)

(This is part 5 of this series. If you haven't seen part 4 it can be found here.)

Woop woop! I won something!

So, as I explained last time, I won my first medal in competition. And that feeling of victory in competition is amazing! It's something like no other. In my experience, once I have won my first match in competition, pretty much all my nerves melt away and you feel way more comfortable out on the mats. Obviously, they don't completely go away, especially in a final. Although, sometimes I think it is good to have some nerves, it just makes you feel more alert of everything that is happening.

That competition was in November, and Christmas was coming up in a few weeks, so naturally my dad thought to buy me and my brother some BJJ related gifts. Now, our team is Gracie Barra, but not according to my dad. To him anything with the word 'Gracie' in the title is obviously related to our team. So he gets me and my brother a Gracie Academy gi each, and a book called "Gracie Jiu-Jitsu".

If I'm honest the book was okay, but it featured lots of 'street' Jiu-Jitsu stuff like how to block punches from the guard, how to close the distance in a fight etc. Which to be honest is useful, but is not relevant to what I do. The book also featured lots of weapon defences, which I would say are particularly questionable, as most of them are not from real situations.

Now, to be honest my dad got those shipped over from California, so that couldn't have been cheap.  

He also got some patches for my new gi; they were a Carlson Gracie patch, a Brazilian Top Team (BTT) patch, and two Brazilian flags made by Vitamins & Minerals. So here I was fighting for Gracie Barra but with a Gracie Academy gi on, and with Carlson Gracie and BTT patches on. So my gi had three different teams on it, and none of them were my team. As a kid I didn't really understand, but if I'm honest I must have looked like a total tw*t!

So in the years 2005 and 2006 not a lot really happened. I entered a few more competitions, and I won a few more medals, a couple of bronzes and silvers, but I could never win gold! It wasn't until 2010 until I won my first gold. Every time I would make it to the final I would always lose, and it was extremely frustrating. My technique got better as a result of training, and I thought at the time I was making decent progress, and doing well against everybody in the kid’s class.

But in October 2006, our club moved to a new gym in Cwmbwrla, Swansea, which we used to share with my old kickboxing gym. I thought I saw the end of my days at that kickboxing gym, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be there again doing something completely different. Actually, we weren't at that gym for very long. I'm pretty certain it was less than a year. To be honest, I absolutely hated that gym! It was quite narrow but really long, with lots of mirrors on one side. For you guys, who didn't have the pleasure of experiencing it, watch the two videos below from a Braulio seminar in 2006:

Did you spot anyone? Most of the people in these videos do not train anymore, or have move moved elsewhere.

Once we moved to the new club, I did an Eddie Bravo and ditched the gi. For some reason I only wanted to train nogi, probably because I watched too much UFC. Actually, I didn't go back training in the gi full time until early 2008.

But then I hit a bump in the road. All of our good training partners stopped coming, and really the only decent training partner I had was my brother, and maybe one or two others, and from there on in lots of things were about to change.

I hope you guys enjoyed!

The next part will be uploaded soon.

Catch you later,



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