I believe it is summer down under, oh gee, what I'd give just for a smidgeon of warm sun right now. Oh well, at least I have this postcard from Irish BJJer, Stephen McKirgan, to keep me warm as he tells of his fun training in Sydney right now...
G’day (See, learning the lingo and everything),
I'm Steve, 26 years old blue belt BJJer from Ireland but I’ve been bouncing around the globe over the last 4 months in a desperate bid to escape the British wintertime and for the most part (discounting the monsoon in Phuket), I’ve succeeded.
I started my Jiu-Jitsu life in London with Cesar Lima at RGA Vie. There’s not enough I can say about the level of coaching or the guys there, but I couldn’t of had a better club or training partners. To be honest, my only worry about travel was not finding a club that would push me as hard, or more importantly, hard in the right direction.
Anyhow, the first stop on my way was Bangkok BJJ, where the head instructor was a guy called Adam Kayoom who got his black belt from Prof Ricardo Liborio. I showed up during a seminar class and while there was no real rolling to be done, the seminar was great, with guys from all over asia appearing to show their techniques. As a side note, BJJ in Bangkok is a hard find, with only 2 academies that were easily located.
Next I ventured out of Bangkok and braved a 14 hour bus journey to Phuket, although once there found Tiger Muay Thai very quickly, and got an awesome apartment five minutes away. Everything about the area, from the restaurants to the apartments hinge off the camp, and everyone is there for the same reason, so it’s a great atmosphere to train in. The main guy is Ray Elbe (Black Belt), though the most frequent instructor for my time there was Andrew Gardineer (Brown Belt) who was over from Lotus BJJ in Arizona until next April. BJJ is still only a small segment of the Tiger timetable, Monday to Friday evenings, and always no-gi, unless you let slip to Andrew you have your gi with you, then he’ll roll gi with you at the end. If you want to do BJJ and nothing else, then maybe not the place to go, but if you want to give MMA a go, then there’s nothing like total immersion, with a BBQ and comp every month or so, and other opens every so often you can get a lot of experience very quickly and if you’re really trying there’s a full diet plan inc. all your food if you want to go full tilt.
On a quick note, they had a Royce Gracie seminar on the 18th of Nov, which I missed as I flew out on the 15th, so if you time it right, or plan ahead, it’s worth the time.
Next I flew to Sydney, and again I’ve had to hunt down a new club, and I’ve went with Roots BJJ under Prof Paolo Guimaraes (3rd degree black belt under Jorge Pereira). Due to the hell on earth temperature of Sydney at this time of the year the majority of classes are no-gi, with Mon-Wed no gi, and Thur/Fri Gi, and dozens of conditioning classes thrown in for good measure.
All classes are taken by Paolo, and focus on one position and the variations that can run off it over the course of the week, with the following week working on the opposing position and so forth.