One of the people I look up to in judo, bjj, and life is my judo coach, Ray Huxen (Osagame). So I’m definitely glad I got a chance to take an overnight trip with him to a Saulo Ribeiro Seminar.
Friday night I got to train with Saulo while folks watched. I put forth good fundamentals, attacked with good technique, and luckily Saulo saw that and lead the roll as a sort of jiu jitsu conversation. He would let me do a technique if I was doing it well, and punish me with a sweep or submission when I wasn’t doing it well. It was truly an honor.
The seminar itself was excellent. I won’t say much about it here, except that I recommend it highly. Not all great competitors are good teachers. Saulo is both a great fighter and a great instructor. One thing he said that really stayed with me is that “it’s easy to be hammer, but the real test of character is when you’re the nail”. He was speaking specifically about challenging yourself in training, and that rang very true to me, and as something I very much need to work on, especially as my jiu jitsu improves.
We trained and ate first at John Terry’s home and gym, stayed overnight at Jim Terry’s, and then went to the seminar at his gym Tristate MMA/BJJ. Great coffee, great food, and a surprisingly great night sleep on an air mattress! Terry brothers are good people. I appreciated the hospitality, the tofu chili, and the abundance of large green/brown objects that are apparently called “trees”.
I met John Rozzi… what a guy! The mix of cynicism, self-deprecating humor, and a passion for jiu jitsu made for some memorable lines on everything from marriage to jiu jitsu.
The highlight of the night for me was Mike Bannon’s promotion to brown belt (after a hellish roll with Saulo, where he was truly put to the test). It’s not like I’ve been doing jiu jitsu a long time, but he was definitely one of the few people who have shaped the early days of my development (both in mindset and technique). I know a few jiu jitsu “soldiers” now, but for a long time he was the only one. By soldier, I mean a guy who competes often, brings it all, and wins it all (or at least gives everything trying).
Obviously, given all the excessively positive comments above, I had a great time. It was nice doing zero work for a day and just enjoying good jiu jitsu and good conversation.