Thursday, February 22, 2007
Training at Shawn Williams' in Hollywood, CA.
My friend Dave and I thought it was time for us to do some crosstraining at another BJJ school and boy were we suprised. We had heard a lot of good things on forums about Shawn, so we definitely wanted to see what the hype was all about.
Well, here's the verdict - Shawn Williams definintely lives up to all the hype and actually surpassed our expectations. If I had to give Shawn's place a theme it would be - open and incredibly technical/deep. From the second we set in the door everyone was very warm and we did not feel the tough guy vibe prevalent at so many schools. Shawn himself is a great guy and he is sure to find success at this place. I would put Shawn right at the top of a select few instructors who love jiu-jitsu, show their students everything, and teach some of the best BJJ classes in the world. Shawn's students were equally as impressive.
Teaching- After a nice jogging warmup (Dave and I were actually sweating - GREAT!!!), Shawn taught a leg pick off of a "Russian Grip" to a torreando style guard pass. The move makes a ton of sense and you can really see a strong wrestling influence.
Next up, we started a series on attacking the turtle, but Shawn first of all surveyed putting the hooks in. He showed two different ways to put in a single hook and surveyed the control position that is similar to a 1/2 guard on the back. The leg ride was so simple I will be using it all the time. Everything shown had a detail that I have never seen.
Following this, Shawn taught the calf crank and Almeida choke as submissions off the single hook. What I liked more than the subs was how Shawn framed them. For example Shawn showed how to go for the calf crank, but then showed how to avoid being armbarred (therefore showing how to armbar from that position) and then how to get the back if they defend (therefore showing the defense). It was all very dynamic. The Almeida Guilloting was the same way. He showed how to tighten up and sink a tight choke, but then showed an armdrag to go back to the position if they got out. Simply amazing.
Next up was sparring and everyone partnered up with whomever they wanted. I started with a big purple named Todd and he was really smooth for a big guy and we had a great time. Next up I sparred with one of the white belts who also showed good technique. My last sparring session was with Sean Conley who completely kicked my ass! I felt so humbled. This guy is heads and shoulders above most browns (in actuality probably every) that I roll with and he was very open with his knowledge and skills. In fact after every move he dominated me with he would show me how to get it to work for me; he really let me into his game. Man, he passed my hooks like they weren't there! Afterwards we all got to talking and they are a great group of guys.
When I left I was a little envious, but in a good way. These guys have it made and they were all a great group of guys! Although I wouldn't move that far north (Im happy living in Huntington), I think these guys have an atmosphere and instructor that leads to great jiu-jitsu -kudos to the HBJJ crew. There were no egos and a ton of respect that I would categorize as non obligatory. In other words, these guys enjoyed and respected each other because they are acting as good training partners - not because of any forced upon notions. It was a great experience and introduction to BJJ in Los Angeles.
Shawn's place is very affordable and he is in the heart of Hollywood right off of N. La Cienega past the Beverly Center. Check it out if you are in the area.
I'll be coming back as soon as I have the time. I already told a few friends who live in LA to go and i'll hopefully go up with them in the coming weeks to see some new friends. After I figure out this blog thing I will add pics and video of what Shawn showed - hopefully I will do it justice.
You can check out Hollywood Brazilian JiuJitsu at www.hollywoodbjj.com