Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Mauricio 'Maurição' Motta Gomes, Bristol, UK - 03/12/2011
I've been out of training for the last week, as last weekend I got some kind of nasty flu. That meant I wasn't sleeping well, so spend the day and night sniffling while wrapped up in a sleeping bag, my laptop at the ready. Also meant I finally got round to watching the commentaries of my Blackadder box set, then put on Battlestar Galactica, which I keep hearing is really good. Decent plot and acting so far, but then I've only been through the mini-series and first episode.
I was determined to make today, as we were going to have the rare treat of Mauricio 'Maurição' Gomes popping down to do a 'masterclass', before the regular internal Gracie Barra competition Geeza runs every few months. If you don't know who he is, Maurição has four major claims to fame: first, he is one of the very few people to be promoted to black belt by Rolls Gracie. Second, he is the man largely responsible for growing BJJ in the UK. Third, he is a member of another rare group, red and black belts (the belt after black belt). Finally, his son is Roger Gracie, whose name might ring a bell. ;)
I was also to grab Maurição for an interview later in the day, which was cool: we spent a good forty minutes chatting about Rolls Gracie, BJJ in the UK, Roger, belt tests, the first female black belt and various other topics. Always great to chat to the big names. I have met Maurição before, back when I was training regularly at the RGA HQ, but I was surprised that he remembered me. Clearly a man with a good memory for faces! ;)
There was no warm-up, as Maurição went straight into technique, keeping things fairly basic. He started off with a guard pass, where you grab both their collars with one hand and their sleeve with the other. Shove that sleeve into their hip, then hop up into a crouch, basing by pressing your weight through your hands. Stand up, letting go of the collars but pulling up on their sleeve. With your free hand, press inside their knee while simultaneously stepping your same side leg back.
Ideally, that should mean you can now open their guard and shove their knee to the floor. As soon as you do, slide your same side knee over, pinning their leg to the mat with your shin. You now have two options for passing. Either you can bump their other leg up onto your shoulder, reach for the collar with your outside hand then smash pass (like I showed last week), or you can go the other way, backstepping then pulling your leg through.
Maurição followed up with some knee on belly attacks, of which I think there were about four. However, I was drilling with Maeve, so that was a bit overwhelming for a white belt, meaning we just stuck with the first one. After you've passed and established knee on belly, sliding your knee across their belt line, get a deep grip in their collar, four fingers in, just like you were going for a cross choke. Your other hand goes on top, gripping the other collar thumb in. Once you've secured that grip, sprawl back with your feet, which puts all your weight through the neck, then twist your wrists to finish the submission.
Having covered knee on belly, Maurição moved rapidly onto attacks from mount. Specifically, it was technical mount, for when your opponent has turned to one side. Again, just like a class I've taught before (although obviously I don't teach it anywhere near as well as Maurição, who has literally been a black belt longer than I've been alive), during the technical mount portion of my attacking the mount lesson.
Finally, Maurição went through a couple of basic sweeps, the double ankle grab and one of my favourites, the sickle sweep (which I last taught here). He then handed over to one of the other black belts in attendance, Nick Brooks (if you're wondering who the other two were, it was Salvo from GB Bath and Raphael Dos Santos, who runs a number of schools under the GB Cornwall banner)
Having experienced Nick's excellent instruction at Mill Hill a couple of times, I knew he'd have something good up his sleeve. Today, that was a nifty but simple half guard sweep. The starting position is unusual. You have your inside foot over their upper leg, hooking around for control, but the knee of your leg is still in front of them, pressing into their hip. Your outside leg is just clamping tight against them, rather than locked up into an orthodox half guard.
Grab their sleeve on the outside leg side, while also gripping their trouser leg on the inside leg side. Bridge slightly, then turn towards the outside leg, driving your knees in that direction, pulling on their sleeve and lifting with your trouser grip. Very simple, but effective.
That marked the end of the masterclass, which ran for about an hour. Geeza then sorted out the brackets for the internal competition. This is open to all Gracie Barra students in the UK. Previously, the competitions have mainly consisted of Gracie Barra Bristol and Gracie Barra Bath, but this time a number of students came along from Cornwall, Birmingham, Swindon, Wales, the main RGA school in London and Nick Brooks' school in Mill Hill. GB Bristol has a lot of mat space, so Geeza was able to have five matches running at once.
I wasn't feeling up to competing (perhaps I'll give it a shot in the future, as I couldn't really ask for a more convenient environment), so instead I helped out as a ref. Of course, that wasn't a very demanding job, given the rules of this particular competition. Geeza, as you may know if you've ever watched his TheRealGeeza YouTube channel, is a firm believer that you should aim to finish the fight, not play for points. To that end, the internal GB comps he runs are submission only.
That meant my job as a ref was basically to stop people rolling into other fights, avoid hitting the wall, pause the action if trousers or jacket were falling off (more common than you'd expect!), stop the fight once someone was tapping and then raise the hand of the winner. Some techniques were illegal, such as cervical locks, slamming and all leglocks except straight ankle locks, but nobody ended up doing them and getting disqualified.
It was cool to get some reffing experience, as that's something I'd like to get into, in order to become a better teacher: I'll often have students ask, "so how many points would that be?", and I'm not always certain when the situation gets a bit more complex. Submission only is a good way to dip my toes, as it is so much simpler than the usual IBJJF rules. Most of the fights were pretty quick, but there were a few monsters, such as the epic eighty minute white belt battle. Among the women, Maeve also had an impressively long fight, going for fifty-three minutes.
Finaly, it was great to catch up with some old training partners from RGA and GB Brum, especially Conor, who I hadn't even realised was here in England now rather than Belfast. There should eventually be lots of videos, either on TheRealGeeza or the official Gracie Barra Bristol channel, so keep an eye on those. :)