After sending out some messenger pigeons, I made contact with my friends in LA.
I decided that I will go and pay my respects to all of them and pay a visit to each of their academies.
On Thursday, first on deck was Javier Vazquez. I have known his wife Rose Gracie since the Ultimate Submission Showdown in 2003, so she was kind enough to extend an invitation to me to train with Javi. I respect Javier, as he is an old school MMA fighter. He has been in the game just as long as I and I like his approach to the fight game. He is very organized and methodical – just like me.
It was a bit of a trip to Rancho Cucamonga, but it was well worth it. He has recently opened his academy, (http://www.graciejiujitsurancho.com) and it has a very nice layout. We must have rolled around for an hour or so, and it was a great start to my training trip in LA. Afterwards, he was kind of enough to show me a sample of a training manual that he has been on working on for over 2 years. I was very impressed by the level of detail of the instruction, and I think it will be a great aid for students and instructors alike. If you are in the area, it is definitely worth the visit and a great place to train.
After having lunch with Javi and Rose, I headed back west to train with ADCC 2013 Champion Kron Gracie. After having trained and hanging out with Kron in Beijing, I wanted to be able to train with the “son of the man who beat the man who beat the man.” Kron was a great host, and I had a great conversation with one of his students as he was wrapping up his class.
Ryan was a Big Ten Wrestling champion, which is a pretty big deal in the wrestling world. Unfortunately, he suffered a complete tear of his meniscus in a training accident. He just had surgery a month ago, and was undergoing rehab so he was only watching class. I was happy to see that he was still taking the time to come to class, even though he couldn’t physically participate. I offered him some words of encouragement, which he thanked me for afterwards. It was great to see the humbleness he exhibited, which to me is a credit to Kron.
Once Kron finished his class, I jumped on the mats and got my workout in. I was impressed with Kron’s Academy, (http://krongraciejiujitsu.com) especially his mats, which is a floating mat. If you are no familiar, it is essentially a tatami style mat with springs on the bottom. It allows you to work throws with a soft landing, while still having the speed to move quickly. I was working purely on drilling exercises, and he had one of his students, Stefan, work with me. I got a good session in, and afterwards we grabbed Sushi for dinner. I am not much of a sushi guy, but I trusted in the champ’s picks and it paid off. The man knows his sushi. 🙂
For Friday, I woke up and moved to my new home with the coolest guy in BJJ – Scotty Nelson from On The Mat (http://www.OnTheMat.com). He is awesome to let me stay at his place, and I am very grateful to have such friends. He had to go early to work, and I went to work at Kron Gracie’s academy again. This time around, I had two partners who were also doing the No-Gi Worlds, so we took turns drilling with each other.
There is one drill that I enjoy doing a lot, which is trying to pass my opponent’s guard WITHOUT touching him with my hands. It helps develop footwork skills for passing, and allows you to develop fast hips to pass. I was doing a lot of Cart Wheel passes, which I showed afterwards to my partners. I have to say that I really enjoyed the camaraderie that I have seen in Kron’s academy. Reminds me of being back home at FFA. 🙂
After training, I went to eat some Persian cuisine at Pars & Jino by LAX. It was a pick made by Scotty, and what a pick it was! I was hungry, but this place has ridiculously large portion sizes, along with amazing flavors. I am just glad that I don’t have to worry about making weight for the No Gi Worlds, because that was a feast I partook in, lol!
Once I finished, I went back home and passed out for a few hours. Now I rest until tomorrow, where I will be training again at Kron’s for an open mat session. Next week, I will be paying visit to my friends at Selva BJJ and Alberto Crane’s BJJ. I am looking forward to more good times ahead, but keeping my focus on my goal – No Gi World Championships.
David, since the title of your note “training with the Gracie Family”, why you didnt go to the other Gracies from Torrance? (www.gracieacademy.com)
Rener and Ryron are in the UK for the UFC, so Torrance would not be an option.
Great to see the camaraderie in BJJ.
did you get to roll with Kron when you where there?
I didn’t work with him this time, although in Beijing we drilled together.