I traveled out to Michigan over a month ago. Back then, I wrote a blog post about training around Detroit, and now, a month later, here are some notes about my experience training in Port Huron, Michigan.
Most of the Michigan trip, I stayed at a cottage on Lake Huron in a town called Lexington. In my book, as far as names of towns go, it’s hard to do better than “Lexington”, a beautiful little town with a 200 year history.
Most evenings, I ventured 20 miles south to Port Huron to hang out in the town and get some jiu jitsu training in at Alliance BJJ of Port Huron (check out their Facebook page). I trained there four times (both gi and no-gi) over a period of a week.
The school is run by Paul Elezaj, an excellent black belt instructor. I felt very welcome. Paul introduced me at every class to any of the students that haven’t seen me previously. Paul is friendly, funny, knowledgeable, and carries himself with an air like he has nothing to prove. He’s there to teach, learn and have fun. I had several long troubleshooting discussions with him about specific techniques.
The teaching was excellent. He gave good details (most of which I haven’t seen) for every technique he showed, and still was very concise and to the point, which I really appreciate as a student. I tend to zone out a bit if there is an excessive amount of talking for each technique. I took four classes and picked up a great new detail from every class. It’s like I took 4 mini-seminars.
One thing that I particularly enjoyed about this school was the 15-20 minute warm up drills. This wasn’t the usual warm-up drills that are only tangentially related to jiu jitsu, but the kind of drills you would see in Andre Galvao’s Drill to Win book. It was basically actual jiu jitsu techniques with slight adjustments to make them flow naturally as a high-paced drill. No gi class had a lot of wrestling drills and gi class had a lot of guard and guard-passing drills.
There was a good mix of skill levels in training, from white belt to black belt. I definitely got a good sweat in. People trained hard but technical, and there was very little ego on the mat. In general, my experience in the midwest with training has been that people are nicer on and off the mat.