Wednesday, 3 October 2012

First day at school!

After a superb first night’s training, it was shower, eat and an early night, ready for my first day teaching; the schools begin early in the morning, when it’s a lot cooler and my supervisor Romero picked me up at 630am and drove me to the school, where I’ll be working from now on.

The drive to work took me through the desert dunes on either side of the road, quite a difference from the streets of the UK and after a fifteen minute drive, we arrived at the Aladel Scool in Al Yahar, a region in Al Ain.
Aladel School, Al Yahar

As I arrived, I met my black belt coach, Jiddu Bastos, who I met the previous night and he introduced me to the Prinicpal, who made me feel very welcome and as the children filed into the covered playground, I met the PE coach, Osama Elbatrawy and most of the teachers in the school.

Before classes commenced the kids lined up and listened as the Prinicpal spoke to  his students and after five minutes or so, I heard the words, ‘Coach Carlos’ and over 750 kids turned to look at me and started clapping and cheering like Wayne Rooney had scored a last minute winner at Old Trafford.  Beat that for a welcome!  After the introductions, all the staff and students stood in front of the UAE flag as their National Anthem played from the microphones located in the playground.

Since being here, I have learned it is far easier to call myself Carlos, instead of Carl, as my dulcet Boltonian tones can be sometimes hard to understand, so Coach Carlos is my name from now on at the schools and plain Carlos at the training centre in the evenings.

The jiu jitsu tuition is set out like any other coaching programme and I had a chance to read the coaching manual, detailing the technical side of the jiu jitsu instruction; this covered the basics of breakfalls, shrimps, and many other warm up exercises specific to BJJ and progressed to simple techniques and guard passes, as well as a large reference point for jiu jitsu related games.

Like anywhere in the world, kids are kids.  Loud.  Boisterous and full of beans.  Here in Al Ain , there was no exception, as the kids came into the room, changed into a wide variety of UK Premiership football tops and track suit pants and ran round the mats.  All the students approached me with wide smiling faces and greeted me in English and Arabic and I returned the favour, together with much shaking of hands.  This was repeated throughout the whole day in all the different classes.

All classes followed the same format; I was introduced to the children again in each class, again to much applause and started the class with break falls and forward rolls.  Depending on the age group of the class, a few different techniques were demonstrated by Jiddu and myself, namely Americana from mount, arm lock from mount and double leg takedown.  Translation was given by the class teacher and Jiddu, who can speak enough Arabic to get by and I was learning myself at a fast rate.

After techniques came their favourite part of the class – sparring, what else?  All the kids had a grapple with each other and any promising kids were told to give their names to their teacher to join the after club class.

At the end of the class, the kids lined up and after a loud Ooos, they came to shake hands with the coaches and each other in traditional BJJ style; most of the kids shook hands and over a dozen approached me and did things their way, which involves the touching of noses and a quick kissing sound.  I’d noticed this at the airport, waiting at the immigration desk, between two adults and I asked Jiddu what it meant.  He told me, if they really like a person they greet each other in this manner and this happening in my first my first day,  I felt very privileged indeed to say the least.  After handshakes and nose rubs, it was a short break before the next class and before you know it, my first day was over.  Jiddu and I went to speak to Osama and handed in observation sheets and headed back into Al Ain for more red tape adventures, before returning home and getting ready for class.

So there you have it; a most enjoyable and memorable day for Coach Carlos!


Liam H Wandi said...

You don't understand how I look forward to these posts all day long. I stand by my words homes, A BOOK!!!

The nose thing is such a cool thing and I'll tell you why. Because it shows how close the world really is. What do you think Haole ( means in Hawaii? It means "no breath" because Polynesian folk have the same greeting tons of miles away from the UAE. If you like someone, you put your face near theirs.

Next post next post!!!!

TFP said...

Hi there Liam and many thanks for the kind words, I really am humbled you look forward to the posts!

Yes, a book is looking likely, let me settle in here, I'm here long term and I'll get the ball rolling.

Next post is up bro :)