Grappling Scout – Bolton

Over the Christmas period, I became aware of a book regarding some guys trip around the world training BJJ. I hadn’t really heard much about it, but thought I would give it a whirl. That book changed the way I view the sport.

It was BJJ Globetrotter, by Christian Graugart.  Now here we are,  a couple of short months later, and I’ve just had a seminar with the guy. I was made aware that he was teaching a seminar at the Combat Base in Bolton, so I made an effort to catch a train up and see the man in action.

After walking through the city for what seemed like forever, I finally arrived at the gym, much quicker than I had anticipated. It took just short of an hour before anyone else arrived. Eventually, the gyms owner, Carl Fisher, arrived, with Part Time Grappler, Liam Wandi, and the BJJ Globetrotter, Christian Graugart, squished into his car.

We walked into the gym, which reminded me heavily of my home at Fighting Fit. After warming up, Christian took the seminar, despite having only one eye (he had injured it just prior to coming over). The logic and concepts were game changing for me. It was easy to see how travelling all over the world had shaped his game and his understanding of the sport.

After a fun session rolling with Liam and various other people, I was offered a lift back to the train station by Carl, along with Liam and Christian. My journey involved catching a connecting train in Manchester, which was also where both Liam and Christian were heading as well. At this point, fanboy doesn’t seem to quite cut how excited I was. I was already aware of Part-Time Grappler, and I had just spent my winter repeatedly reading The BJJ Globetrotter book, and here I was talking Jiu-Jitsu with them.

I look forward to the next time I catch up with everyone, in what ever way that may be.

Grappling Scout – London

Yesterday, a couple of students and myself made a journey down to London, with the intent of visiting a couple of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu clubs, picking up some techniques, and heading back filled with knowledge. We got more than we bargained for.

After some careful deliberation and investigation, the 2 clubs we chose to visit were London Fight Factory, and Urban Kings, both situated in the middle of London. I had contacted both clubs ahead of time, to make sure we were welcome, and London Fight Factory offered us a free session for our troubles.

We arrived in London just before lunch and made our way straight to London Fight Factory. Upon entering the building, we followed the signs to the basement, where there was an eerie silence. Once we had peaked through the door, we could see why. Behind the counter, the BJJ legend, Terere, was conducting an interview. Shock doesn’t seem to cover our reaction.

After speaking to the head coach, and donning our uniforms, we took to the mats, to discover the session we were about to have was at the hands of the master himself.

The amount of detail present was beyond comprehension. It was a small class, no more than 15 people. Despite the language barrier, aided by the head coach of the gym, Terere conveyed to us some really important details on maintaining mount, transitioning to a mounted triangle, and finally a fantastic session on X Guard Sweeps.

Once we had said our thanks and left the building, we spent some time exploring the city. I have been to London numerous times, but am always happy to be a tourist once more if I’m travelling with anyone who has yet to visit the capital.

That evening we went to Urban Kings at Kings Cross. This session however was due to be No-Gi, which was a profound relief considering my Gi was still festering in numerous smells from the class earlier that day.

From my research I had expected this class to be taught by Jude Samuel, someone who I had read great things about. Instead, due to him being unavailable, it was held by someone I had met many years previously in competition, Viking Wong.

I had met Viking back in 2009 at Ground Control in Manchester. Due to the amount of fighters that took part, it took 4 fights to end up in the Final together. My route to the final had been invigorating. Every fight finished in a submission. So I walked on expecting Gold, little did I know, Viking had an extensive history in Jiu-Jitsu, much more than my own, making for a very tough final where he eventually won on points. This was due to be our rematch…

And…much like our first meeting, it ended in stalemate. Neither of us could pull off anything of profound interest. Maybe one day we will meet again.