Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Black Belt Open Mat - Al Ain style!

After settling in at the apartment and managing a quick power nap, I was picked up at the apartment by Romero and taken to my first training session, the black belt open mat at 6pm.  This class is solely for the black belt coaches to have one hour's training before the regular class and now the coaching staff has taken on brown belts, I was warmly welcomed onto the session by all my new team mates.

Al Ain FC  

The training centre is located at the Al Ain Football Club (Al Qattarah Branch), one of three football clubs in the Al Ain area; the black belts started to arrive at 545pm and I was introduced to each one as they arrived and by 6pm, there were over 20 black belts ready to train - WOW!  Many different academies are represented here in the UAE, a real melting pot of styles, probably unique to anywhere else in the world and I was bang in the middle of it, so all that was left was to get the gi on and get cracking.

To give you an idea of the broad range of clubs represented at the training club, a few names of the black belts:-

  • Gilberto Cerqueira - Ryan Gracie
  • Jose Lopes Zelo - Gabas Jiu Jitsu
  • Leonardo Lopes - Pitbull Academy
  • Junior Borsato - DLR
  • Paulo Melo - Bolao BJJ
  • Polyana Lago - Alliance
  • Leopoldo Pires - Alliance
  • Filipe Alvaranja - Carlson Gracie
  • Erik Cardoso - PRBJJ
  • Jiddu Bastos - Checkmat
Spot the black belt
After a warm up, the guys partnered up and started of rolling for 8 minutes and I managed 5 rounds during the session, not bad going considering it was 34C outside and it was my first class.  Each roll was different from the next, some guys were crushing guard passers, others encouraged me to attack them 100% and black belt Tiago Bravo was super cool and we had the most technical roll out of the lot.  

The guys didn't smash me up and take limbs away with them, they rolled hard and tough but when in position for the submission , they applied it with enough time for me to tap, without causing injury, pretty sensible really as everyone is teaching in the schools the following day.
Fernando Gomes (l) yt, Leo Pires and Paulo Melo
3 stripe black belt Erik Cardoso and Leo Pires took the regular class at 7pm and Erik started the class with the regular drills found in any BJJ class and showed a sweet series of sweeps from butterfly and a cool transition into x guard and after specifics and sparring the session was at an end and I was still in one piece.

First class was over and after a quick stretch off, I was dropped off back to my apartment and prepared myself for my first day teaching class, which will be my next post on here.  For now, I am getting ready for another training session, so see you on the mats and drill to won!

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