What a night. I walked into the Ottawa Academy of Martial Arts (A Renzo Gracie school) and I was nervous. You know that feeling you get when you get onto a rollercoaster and you start the first big climb? It was like that x100. I met the guys who run the place and they showed me around the facility and it was pretty impressive. Two BJJ rooms, a Muay Thai room complete with a ring, and a room that had a cage in it (nice sized too) for MMA work. I met some of the instructors, most notably Mark Holst (the head teacher of MT at OAMA) who actually has two fights in the UFC (losses, but still impressive). I watched his class for a bit before I headed over to the "Gracie Room" for my first class. I'm not out of shape by any means, I played collegiate basketball so I'm pretty athletic, but something told me I was about to get a rude awakening.
Our instructor was named Daniel, a black belt in Judo and a purple belt in BJJ. The very first thing he taught me was how to "shrimp" which is something I had never done before. It looked easy, but man was it a workout! He told me to get used to shrimping, because you'll be doing it all the time, which was encouraging because I wasn't too bad at it. After about 5 minutes of that, we paired up for some technique drills. The first thing we learned was the proper way to apply a triangle choke. I made a few rookie mistakes, like not securing the head tight enough, but all in all I felt pretty comfortable with the move. I was moving my hips well, and that what was important. After that drill, we learned how to counter a triangle defense two ways. If the guy leaves his arm straight, transition to an armbar. If he puts it behind his leg to block the triangle, shrimp out and swing into an Omaplata. This was probably the most fun for me, swinging to the outside to get into the Omaplata position was a natural move for me, and I think I even surprised the instructor a bit with how fast I was catching on. We drilled a few more techniques like how to escape/maintain mount, side control and guard before we went into live drilling.
Now this wasn't exactly rolling. The point of this was not to finish, but just advance/defend your position. In short, I was about to be humbled. First, I was on top in mount. I got swept in about 4 seconds. Reset and try again. Bucked off in about 6 seconds. My only thought was "2 seconds longer, we're making progress!" Then we switched, and I was on bottom. I probably would have gotten tapped 3 ways in a matter of 10 seconds and I really had problems escaping that position.
Next, we switched to guard. I was on bottom, and was getting passed like an old woman on the highway. We switched spots and I had more luck on top, I even managed to pass to side control once which prompted a high five from my training partner. Soon class was over, and I left with a massive smile on face. I signed up for a year of unlimited training, bought my Gi and was welcomed to the team.
All in all some the BE communities tips were awesome. I stayed relaxed and didn't spaz (my partner actually commented on how relaxed I seemed) and I allowed myself to just go with the flow of the techniques. I'm only a little sore this morning, my wrists more then anything. I'm not used to grabbing a collar and fighting for grips like that, but I'm sure with some cold/heat cream I'll be ok by tonight. I better be, my 2nd class starts at 7:45.
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