Friday, March 9, 2007
Just tried a class at Tenth Planet...
Thursday nights are going to be the night where a group of friends and I seek out other bjj/subwrestling schools to cross train and see what's out there. I'm really trying to live up to the "community" expectations as connotated by "Community Jiu-Jitsu".
Last night, Dave, Jake, Haley, and I decided to check out Eddie Bravo's Tenth Planet in Hollywood. Let me preface this blogpost by saying that we all train solely in the gi and that everything we learned was pretty new to us (at least to myself). I was hoping my friend 'Fredo would be there to meet up with us, but a las we missed him. Next time.
My first impression was that Legends was nice, it had a large area, good mat space, tons of bags, and a fully functioning locker room with showers. It professional there. We were greeted by Eddie and he is a funny and relaxed guy that liked to joke a lot and bust people's balls a little (he got Dave pretty good). I was happy to see the mats being mopped before our class and we sat outside of the main matted room and stretched for about a half hour and just talked with Eddie and amongst ourselves. I was also happy to see a couple of guys randomly practicing takedowns and rolling and no one lifted a finger; they were just all about the training.
When the class got started it was like a whirlwind - very fast paced. Eddie did something I love to see - he started warmups by drilling jiu-jitsu positions. It was all very quick and to the point. We covered three moves and each move was practiced for what felt like a few minutes for each person. I had a little trouble figuring out the complexity of some of the moves, but I appreciated that Eddie did not hold anything back nor did he treat us like toddlers. My partner Ziggy and Eddie both helped to fix my lockdown and positioning, everyone was cool and patient.
The moves (note: it will be easier to understand what I'm getting at if you have read or seen Eddie's books): (1) The first move was a D'Arce choke that originated from the 1/2 guard. Like Shawn, Eddie incorporates a lot of wrestling and I appreciated this. We started with the partner "whipping us up" with the double underhooks and lockdown from 1/2 guard. Following this the top guy sets in the whizzer feeds the hand through like they are going for a D'Arce, grab the other hand, and crank the opponents head towards their own body to pressure them to release the half guard. From here, the person on top allows the opponent to come up on top and head whips them to their back using the same control. This transitions very easily into a D'Arce from the top (kinda North South) with hips putting pressure into the choke. It was a great chain, because both partners really got to work their moves.
(2) The second move was a back control with both hooks to the twister. Starting with the back control with a harness grip, you fall down towards your top arm, remove your top hook and use the lockdown on their bottom leg, remove your harness and switch your underhooking arms, you a baseball bat control to pull their arm behind your head, use hip bumping to get your bottom arm around their head, and use what Eddie called "Wing Chun" movements (everybody laughed) to get your free top arm around the front of their head, and finally clasp your hands together and finish the spine lock.
(3) The final move was a armbar from that originated from the butterfly guard. Starting from butterfly with double underhooks, remove one hook and get a front harness grip, clasp it down by the side of their head and pull to full guard, and use a foot on the hip to stretch them out in a head and arm type of position. When they release the arm and start posturing back, take a high shoulder guard loop the arm and finish the armbar over the defense (just like Dave Camarillo likes to do and Cobrinha attempted to do to Feitosa in the match below). It was very tight.
Next up we did some positional sparring. Everyone started from butterfly with double underhooks and had to sweep or submit with the top guy having to pass. I won't get into details as to how I did, but I had a lot of fun and no one that I rolled with had a bad attitude or anyhting. We had 3-4 rounds switching top to bottom and then changing partners - it was a blast for me to start from such a dominated position and try to pass. I kept trying to use the frame to break their grip, but I felt pretty dirty. I really need to work on my no-gi game.
Afterwards, we all had some water and came back to spar. Like Shawn's, you spar with who you want when you want. I got to roll a few times and had a good time. Oddly enough no one really worked a rubber guard game or lockdown game on me. Instead I saw a lot of the butterfly, xguard, and transitioning. I kept trying to play an open butterfly to 1/2 butterfly to upside down guard game and was having some fun. My last roll would be with Eddie.
Eddie just got done rolling with Jake and I was next. Without getting to muddled into his details here is how I felt about his game: he is very TIGHT. When he passed it was tight, twister side control was tight, mount was tight, the twisters were tight, and the triangle was tight. Asides from tight grips and positions, Eddie uses this tight game to set up some very creative rolls and transitions that led to more submissions. An example was when I was defending a head and arm choke by recovering 1/2 guard, Eddie rolled me into what he called a "samurai" (everyone "oohh"ed) and finished me with a calf slicer. We talked a lot afterwards about some of the subs he got me in and he showed me how to do them on the spot and let me practice them on himself. That was cool.
Not being a no-gi guy, I was left totally amazed. The game that Eddie was teaching was very different the classic BJJ that I learn at the academy and it was refreshing to see so many people being creative and pushing the envelope. I would love to see Eddie in this year's ADCC to see what he could do in there, win, lose, or draw.
One point of disagreement that I had was the gi versus no gi talk. Although I agree that you have to do no-gi to be good at no-gi, I also really enjoy the gi. Taking a quote from a private I had with Marcelo Garcia (I asked him which is more important gi or no-gi), "Do what is fun... if you like training with the gi then do it, and if you like rolling without the gi than do that too... The only reason I train both is because they are fun." I thought that was a great perspective.
Although I could never see myself at a solely no-gi school (I love the gi!), I was really into what Eddie showed and I appreciated his candor. I will definitely drop by from time to time to check it out and experiment with my no-gi game (i.e. get tapped!). The place is really dynamic, the tuition is very affordable (I think its around the $100 area), and I didn't run into any jerkoffs - in fact everyone was really helpful and friendly.
One last note - this is what Dave's calf muscle looked like after getting caught in a really nice slicer!
LA just has too much great BJJ - so far Shawn and Eddie have lived up to the expectations and in ways exceeded the hype. For more of Eddie, check him out at www.thetwister.tv.
Next week? Who knows? If you're at a school and you think your program is doing some really cool stuff and it has that open minded thing goin' on - shoot me a message and we'll check it out!
Next for the blog? Just finishing up my Marcelo analysis. It should be up this weekend.