One of the people I look up to in judo, bjj, and life is my judo coach, Ray Huxen (Osagame). So Iâ€™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 wasnâ€™t doing it well. It was truly an honor.
The seminar itself was excellent. I wonâ€™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 â€œitâ€™s easy to be hammer, but the real test of character is when youâ€™re the nailâ€. 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 Terryâ€™s home and gym, stayed overnight at Jim Terryâ€™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 â€œtreesâ€.
I met John Rozziâ€¦ 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 Bannonâ€™s promotion to brown belt (after a hellish roll with Saulo, where he was truly put to the test). Itâ€™s not like Iâ€™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 â€œsoldiersâ€ 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.