Rubens Charles Maciel, aka Cobrinha - multiple World Champion, possessor of the finest quiff in BJJ, ace baker and devastating game player, yup THAT Rubens Charles, is prancing around the mat mimicking a cat - to the great amusement of everyone around. His animal impression is swiftly followed by a crawling baby impression and by now we're pissing our pants. World Champions don't do these kinds of things, do they? Read on to find out why!
Okay well Cobrinha wasn't just mucking around, he was trying to demonstrate the reason why it was important to move around on the balls of your feet, rather than slopping around on your knees: "you see you can move around fast, just like a cat, not like this...like a little baby, you cannot go anywhere."
Cobrinha was here in the UK for a three day seminar tour whirlwind hosted by professional BJJ events organisation Champ Camp. He touched down in Manchester on Saturday, taught a seminar, which you can read about on The Fighting Photographer's blog, then whizzed up to Mansfield where he taught an entirely different set of tricks at Victor Estima's brand new academy. Finally, he whizzed on down to London, at the Battersea Youth Centre where 65 or so eager BJJ fans, including yours truly, waited to see what bag of tricks he would unleash this time.
If you watch Cobrinha on YouTube, you'll immediately notice that he is a non-stop ball of jiu-jitsu energy. He literally attacks and attacks and keeps on going until his opponents make a mistake, or more likely, he has found the tiny gap he needs to execute his winning submission. It is artful, it is skillful and it is a jaw dropping display of BJJ at its finest. Today, we wanted a piece of that magic. I wanted a piece of the magic!
Cobrinha kicked off with a basic method to get into the sitting up guard position - you open guard, pull both sleeves, push one of your opponent's knees and then use your other leg to create momentum as you sit up. Wrap your arm behind his leg and cross grip his far arm. Pretty standard position which most should know.
He then showed us three or four sweeps from here all based on what if's. What if the opponent did nothing, what if he countered by moving his furthest leg, what if he stepped out, etc.
Although the sweeps he showed us were each technically different, and all of them very usable, there was definitely a common theme to the way he ended each sequence. In each scenario, Cobrinha would perform the sweep and then follow up by moving his body around to side position, gathering the opponent's top leg between his own legs as he moved around. The result was that for the opponent underneath, it felt his spine was being contorted and twisted, with no option to escape. I have to say, it was a very very sweet way to manoeuvre into side control.
Once in side control, Cobrinha took use through three or four submissions. Probably my favourite was where you allow your opponent to escape with him pushing your hip with his arm and then attempts to get to his knees. Like a lot of cool jiu-jitsu moves, this one was actually a trap - the opponent thinks he can escape but by giving you his arm, it becomes a stepping stone for you to try a series of sweet arm bar attacks. Yes a series - Cobrinha doesn't do one submission, he has the skill to have a veritable hydra's head of tricks ready and waiting.
There were far too many little tips and details that Cobrinha showed us to list here. But the overall selection of techniques that he taught us was pitched (for me anyway) absolutely spot on. I love playing open guard and I'm keen to work on my sitting up guard but I often fail to progress from a sweep into anything effective. Cobrinha showed us the route map in which to do so. So I'm pretty pumped to try these out in class next session!
Unusually for me, I did not get to interview Cobrinha. Carl Fisher (author of the Fighting Photographer blog) will be doing that honour. This gave me plenty of time to relax and really enjoy the seminar without having to go through my mental Q&A list all the time.
But I did chat a lot (of smalltalk) to him before the seminar as I arrived quite early and I have to say he is absolutely the most pleasant person you could ever meet. And small! I mean I'm small, but he's just as small. I never knew. I mean I knew he fights feather but he just looks like a very muscly rooster such is his slightness of build. Anyway, yeah, Cobrinha is just so polite, relaxed and well mannered - what a gent!
I have to give thanks to Ed Brown from Champ Camp for inviting me down to the seminar to report on the event. Him and Leo who run Champ Camp came under a bit of stick with their first attempt to bring Andre Galvao over so I'm really pleased to see they finally pulled off their very first Champ Camp Tour. More is to come they promise and I very much look forward to seeing what goodies they have in store over the coming months.
A big event like this brought many familiar faces - too many to mention and for me I love the social side of meeting BJJers from other teams. During the sparring portion of the session I got to spar with ADCC World Pro Gi Champion Daniel Agardof my team-mate Daniel Strauss,'Oh my goodness' he said to me, 'you Mill Hill guys all have the same style.' To which I countered the rather obvious and stated that I only WISH I had the talent of my Mill Hill guys like Dan S and Nick B. Still, it was a fun roll and great experience for me to spar with such talented friends. I also played some set-position sparring with my Gi-Addict buddy James Carey and to lady grappler Leoni Munslow. And pretty much got my ass whooped by both..well I was carrying a neck injury so that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it.
|MeerKan't vs Daniel Agard|
So guys, if you ever have the chance to attend a Cobrinha seminar or visit his growing number of academies, I thoroughly recommend it. I might go and buy his instructional DVDs now I am so in love with his teaching style and fighting style. Definitely an ace day out.
|Me with Cobrinha!|
|Very happy to be here!|