I arrived home over a month ago now – it took about 7 minutes in rainy Manchester until Rio felt some distant dream. Reality really sank in upon returning to the spot I inhabited with my bro and homie which was straight up crack den, this is bearing in mind I had just spent six months in a Brazilian favela. Initially, the weirdest thing was actually being able to understand the words that were coming out of people’s mouths, everyone spoke to me in English and obviously I had to respond back in English which felt very alien. I had to chiggity check myself not to greet the women at customs with a ‘Boa tarde’ and was forced to think before saying ‘excuse me’ as the phrase had seemingly been erased from my conscious memory. Most people seemed to assume it would suck ass to be home but it was actually awesome. After one whole year in Rio, I was ready to be up out of there at least for the time being. What I really needed were potato cakes, not being killed by homicidal bus drivers and Earl Grey, I hadn’t drank a cup of tea in a year and that shiiiiit was crazy! My first four weeks were spent travelling around seeing friends and family and of course getting that mat time in. During my time away I had realised the importance of kicking it with loved ones – the last six months in Rio I had spent a lot of time chilling on my tod, there really is only so much 90s pro-wrestling you can watch before your brain starts to melt away.
It was sweet being back in the gym with my bros at AVT and my coach, BJJ Black Belt, grappling whizz kid and my mat based mentor Danny ‘Cheesecake Assassin’ Mitchell. I guess, I felt a little pressure coming back onto my home mats that I had to be a bad mutha-fucker after a year out in Brazil. That thought was quickly put to bed when rolling with some my peoples who really are bad dudes and quickly showed me what time it was. It was very different in style going from training 10+ sessions in the Gi per week to a timetable which is more No-Gi centric. Saying that it was a beautiful thing to be jumping on those guillotines again without that big ass kimono lapel getting in the way of some serious choking action. There is nothing quite like that feeling of wrapping your arms around the neck’s out your closest friends and attempting to put a stop to their precious life force.
After my revelation towards the end of my trip that I had no takedowns and the thought of being on my feet scared me more than saying Candyman five times I had made a concerted effort to improve my wrestling by taking private lessons. I was determined to keep the momentum going especially as I now regarded all guard pullers as straight up chicks. At our gym, we are lucky enough to have Catch Wrestling beast, BJJ Brown Belt and the manliest dude I have ever meet in my life, Kam Atakura dropping mad knowledge in his wrestling classes twice a week. During these classes it has felt like I have returned to the land of white belt, I have been getting thrown more times than the Nature Boy ‘WOOOOOOOOS’. I actually think that my fear on being tossed on my swede is subsiding every-time someone makes me see the ceiling which is a lot. Check out my brother doing his thing:
So far, I have been pretty much haemorrhaging money. I have discovered whilst training Jiu-Jitsu full-time there is nobody jumping out trying to hand you any scrilla. Starting to teach private lessons has been dope and provided me with the first lot of fresh money I have seen in sixteen months, making that Jiu-Jitsu dough which is obviously the best kind that there is! It is super fun being able to impart some of the knowledge which I have spent the last five years killing myself everyday to acquire. Being home has also allowed me to maximise the hours in the day, getting in 6AM classes two days a week. When the alarm goes off at 4:15AM I would rather let someone kick my in the dick than have to get up, walk a mile and a half into town to get a bus to drop me at the gym. But after Busta Rhymes screams ‘Woo Ha’ in my ear this reminds me to get my shit in check. 6AM or not once you on the mats, slap hands with your dudes, life is beautiful.
My return has allowed me to do the rounds traveling both to train and to teach. I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to go and take a couple of sessions with my peoples at 12 Gauge MMA in my hometown of Macclesfield. Being up at the front of the class feels very natural which I guess could have something to do with being a high-school teacher for six years. It felt awesome to be able to share some of the new concepts and ideas that I have picked in my twelve months training with Terere as well as being able to make as many penis related jokes as possible without fear of being reprimanded.
I was also able to get over to Factory BJJ which is one of the best Jiu-Jitsu academies in the country. I was given some awesome instruction by world level competitor and newly promoted black belt Adam Adshead. Training there for nearly a week I was able to roll with some super high level dudes who were all playing the most contemporary styles of Jiu-Jitsu. The highlight of the week was taking part in the competition training class. The structure of class involved the creation of scenarios that one might encounter whilst fighting in a competition. For example you are 0-2 down with ninety seconds left in your match and you are stuck in closed guard, you really have to kill yourself in that time to pass the guard and get your three points to win which isn’t easy when you are paired with killers and you rotate twice through with a fresh man before switching. This format was super useful and necessary for anyone wanting to compete and succeed in today’s modern competition scene. Prior to this I had never experienced a class that was able to replicate the sensation of competing as successfully and by the end I felt like I had been put through the meat grinder in the most satisfying of ways.
This week my homeboy Adam Adshead showing a dope concept driven technique that will help you solve the most Rubix Cubian stylee of guards like it was a twelve piece jigsaw puzzle.