18 Oct 2007

Gracie time

The MEERKAT is back.
I’m back! After a brief hiatus spent moving home, I am finally settled into my new den in leafy Borehamwood. But before severing my ties with Hackney altogether, I had one more commitment – to attend a seminar at Eddie’s RGDA-UK gym given by the dashing Rodrigo Gracie.
Rodrigo is what some refer to as one of the ‘new’ generation of Gracies. Actually he is a bit older than the current crop of ‘new’ generation Gracies (Rener, Ralek etc), but he is clearly still a fighter in his prime.
The session didn’t begin until Rodrigo completed a TV interview, so we all sat around listening to him bat away some rather strange and off the cuff questions by the WOMA interviewer.
Rodrigo, like many Brazilian BJJ instructors, cuts an air of laid back calm with perhaps the added twang of having spent many years in the good old US of A. He seemed to come alive only when talking about fighting (both sport and ‘street’ fights) and girls - no difference to the rest of us then ;)
The seminar began with Rodgrigo introducing some simple self defence techniques against a head lock, then almost immediately progressed to sport BJJ where you use your own gi to strangle the uke. This was my favourite technique which, although a bit tricky, is probably one of the flashier moves in groundwork. After a few more gi techniques, Rodrigo moved to subgrappling techniques, and it was here that he clearly relished teaching – and spent most time on. I must admit, that my fading energy levels and concentration on the camera lens meant I did not really take in what Rodgrigo was teaching us so this part of the session flew over my head.
After the taught part of the session, Rodrigo offered to roll with students. Sadly, this Meerkat missed out yet again, as there were simply too many queuing up for their chance to be tapped out by the master…and he did not disappoint as tap after tap, all of our toughest guys got subbed within seconds. It was pretty amazing to watch.
The night ended with photos and smiles all round. Everyone warmed greatly to Rodrigo and he carries the Gracie name with honour and pride.
My night was not quite over as I offered to spar with long time training pal Ozy. Oz has just spent a year in Korea and has been training hard in BJJ over there, and cor blimey it really showed as this poor old Meerkat was rather ripped to shreds with Ozy’s now trademark butterfly and x-guard sweeps. Gulp, back to the drawing board for me! But nice to visibly see a fellow BJJer make such a great improvement and rise to his potential. It makes me wish I could devote more time to training. Still, I’m happy to take whatever I can get and this seminar was a great experience. Thanks once again to Eddie and the RGDA crew.

About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.



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