As a student at Virginia Tech (a school in the smack dab in Nowhere, Appalachia, USA) finding a BJJ class was a quest in its own right. In my first semester I eagerly checked the catalogue of student organizations only to find bitter disappointment. The MMA club offered little more than a loosely organized open mat session, and the BJJ club had disbanded prior to my arrival.
Scouring the streets of the local town of Christiansburg via Google maps Chevy Malibu had become a monthly hobby entering the beginning of this year, but a tip from BE reader AboveThisFire seemed very promising. Following his advice I checked out Team Mannon lead by a Renzo Gracie black belt. Sadly, my goal met yet another obstacle as the website lead to a boarded up store front and a dead email account. I persevered.
Of all places I caught my lucky break while getting a waiting in line to get a haircut. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a flyer for one Tech MMA Academy and committed to check it out the following day. What followed exceeded my greatest expectations. The Tech MMA Academy has a fantastic 8,000 square foot facility much nicer than the Team Combat (the original home to Amir Sadollah and Anthony Morrison), where I trained Muay Thai while life guarding over the summer. As luck would have it, Tim Mannon was the in house ju-jitsu instructor for Tech MMA Academy.
I have followed MMA for four years now with an increasing amount of interest, but I had no idea what to expect stepping onto the mat for the first time. Everyone was very welcoming, and I was set to work with two partners for drills involving the knee on belly position. For the next forty minutes I focused on learning how to maintain side control, transition to knee on belly, over to the other side, and from knee on belly to mount. The amount of technique involved in what I had taken for granted was astounding! And the amount of pressure a well-trained one hundred and fifty pound partner can generate while pinning you the mat mercilessly is surprising to say the least. I couldn’t wait to learn more, and I knew I was hooked.
God and Parental Funding willing, my bjj journey will continue. Thanks for Reading, and any advice is appreciated! A special thanks goes to AboveThisFire for pointing me in a helpful direction.