It is official. I have signed the lease, ordered the mats and completed all the necessary paperwork. Many of you have been wondering exactly where my school will be and now I’m prepared to tell you! I am happy to announce, our school will be located at 2132 Carolina Place Dr, Fort Mill, SC 29708.

There were a lot of factors that went into choosing that location and trust me when I tell you that we looked at a lot of different places. In the end this was by far the best of the locations and the facility is perfect. This is an excellent place to grow a team. The academy is half a mile away from Baxter Village (a very large, well off neighborhood) and about 30 seconds off of a major highway (highway 77).

There is some work that needs to be done to the space (some paint, logo decals, enlarge windows, ect.) which is typical for anyone starting a new business, but by May 1st we will be open for classes. That is only 40 days. Although that seems like a lot of time it will go by quickly because Megan, my family, my friends and of course myself will be putting in a lot of man hours to get this school to where we want it to be. Here is a photo that was taken this week. As you can see they are still cleaning out some of the debris and trash from the last tenants.

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There are more photos on the school’s facebook page and if you want to see more I would suggest that you friend us, like us, follow us or whatever other lingo I can use in order to make you go there and look at the photos (yes I’m begging, and no I’m not to proud). Regardless of whether or not you go look at the other photos, you will be able to see our progress over the next month.

Megan and I have discussed a few options for rewarding my blog readers, faithful students, and friends when we open up the school. So many people have inquired about wanting to train with me that it’s difficult to figure out a way to effectively give them all something that they would like. I mean a T-shirt is cool and patches are neat but nothing beats a price break.

So in the end we decided to give 20% off for anyone that signs up between April 1st and May 1st. I really want to say that this 20% will include shirts, patches, and possibly kimonos, but Megan might drag me into the street and beat me with a stick…so stand by on that one.

Training has been going well. To be honest I’ve been taking an easy for two big reasons. Number one we’ve been doing a lot to get the business going and the business meetings for things like t-shirts, the website, and the billing software have been scheduled during my typical training times. The second reason that I’ve been taking an easy is because I know that when the school opens I’m going to be grappling all day every day (which is the way that I like it, but unfortunately my knee does not).

I have still been making between four and five classes a week so it’s not that I’m not training, just making sure to give my body the chance that it deserves to heal before I try and destroy it.

Last week, amongst all the craziness of getting a business started, we made the time to go to Florida so that I could meet Megan’s family. We have been meaning to get down there since I got back from Brazil but between the business, Moses getting sick, and training it kept getting put off. While looking at the calendar we realized that if we didn’t go right away, we weren’t going to have the time to go at all. So we packed the car and headed off.

Like many die hard grapplers, I took a kimono with me so that I could train while I was out of town. While there are a lot of different teams in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I have never seen or heard of anyone turned away when they want to train from out of town. On the contrary, every time I’ve gone to another school I’ve been greeted with open arms, including in Brazil. If you dont remember the red carpet treatment that I received at De La Riva’s school then you need to go back and read that blog.

This visit to another academy was no different. Four hours after arriving in Florida I went to train at a Brazilian Top Team school run by second degree black belt Edgard Dutra. I’ve grappled with black belts from all over the world and I must say that Edgard is a world class grappler. His top pressure was amazing and he really exposed some holes in my game. He passed my guard five times in twelve minutes of grappling. For those of you who have rolled with me that just isnt something that I’m used to. I was way out of my comfort zone and that’s a good thing. What I took away from those two days of training is that I have a significant problem with people who pass to my off side.

I, like many other practitioners, have a strong side and a weak side. I’m usually good enough to enforce my grappling game plan and if it does go to my off side I’m not bad, I’m just not as proficient as my other side. Although I was never totally dominated, and I got some decent positions as well I always felt like I was behind the curve and I definitely did more defending than I feel comfortable doing. I guess this means it’s time for me to change up how I train, rep out some things on my “off side” and use this as a learning experience. So all of you who train with me and read my blog, you need to pass my guard to your right (my left).

 

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As you can see from the photo Edgard and I are roughly the same size. I am a little taller but we weigh about the same. It was a rare treat to get some grappling time against another black belt that is my size, that’s not something I get a whole lot of.

In addition to the training, our trip to Florida went well. I got to meet the new half of my family and we had a good time. Evidently it is common place in Megan’s family to try and impress new family members by stuffing them full of the best food that you can imagine. I had lobster one night and filet mignon the next. The four days that we spent in Florida was a blur of awesome food, friendly people and training…what better way to spend four days? It was like a mini vacation.

The only negative moment in the whole trip came when I decided to get off the highway at Daytona Beach to get gas. In case you didn’t know (because I sure as heck didn’t) March 4-14th is bike week. It was a zoo off that exit and as I was coming down the ramp I realized what I had done. It was like realizing that you’re in an accident which is significantly different than realizing you’re ABOUT to be in an accident. The moment to change course had been missed. I paid about 20 cents more per gallon of gas and had to dodge hundreds of motorcycles but things still went well. I guess if that’s the worst part of a trip I have nothing to worry about (although Megan will never let me forget it).

Changing subjects

In addition to opening a school over the next month we’re going to be relocating where we live also. We’re going to move right around the corner from the business so that we can effectively eat, sleep and breathe Great Grappling Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

One of the positives about the move is the fact that we’re going to have a space for a washer and dryer. Right now we make weekly (sometimes bi weekly) trips to the laundry mat. It’s not that I particularly dislike the laundry mat because let’s be honest, the people watching at the laundry mat is almost as good as the people watching at the Waffle House, but the problem is that it can just be inconvenient to drop everything and go sit at the laundry mat for a couple of hours. I even tried putting my things in the washing machine and leaving but I get so paranoid that something is going to happen to my kimonos that I had to stop doing that.

I fully realize how much kimonos cost (which I think is crazy) and while I was in college if I had a kimono in the back seat I would stress all day that someone might steal it (yes I know this sounds crazy). It even got to the point where I would leave my stereo face on the console but purposefully put my kimonos from the back seat into the trunk of my car. I would have been upset if someone had broken my window to take my CDs, I would have been heartbroken if they had taken my kimono…or heaven forbid…my belt.

This week, the unthinkable happened. My poor kimono was assaulted at the local laundry mat. When we went to move all the clothes into the dryer I opened up the washing machine and I was greeted with this.

 

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Of course my first question to Megan was “how much laundry detergent did you use” but evidently someone had either filled up the soap dispenser before she did or the machine was broken. Either way we had to switch machines and put it through another time. I was concerned that it would be slimy but fortunately one more run through the machine was sufficient.

Honestly the last thing I should be worried about is the washing machine eating my kimonos or making them unwearable. I think it it much more likely that I will outgrow my kimonos…and not in the “I’m growing up” way, more so the “I’m growing out” way.

I am happy to report that I havent eaten at Waffle House in over a week. I’m going cold turkey. No patches, no pills, no meetings, just good old fashioned quitting. The only problem is that I’ve been filling that void with other bad food. In general I try to stay away from things that sound like they might kill you if you eat it, but this week I saw something on the menu that sounded so good that I just couldn’t pass it up. The title should have given me pause but I ignored all the warning signs and just went for it. I’ll spare you the photo of the actual sandwich and just let you see the menu item itself.

 

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Although I’m taking an easy on my knee I’m still able to provide you guys with videos. This is the last of the videos I taped last time so I’m going to be taking more requests. I still have my list laying around here somewhere of the other techniques that I didn’t get to last time, so if I dont get any new requests I’ll just go off of that list. Please remember that the channel that these are on right now is going to stop having new videos posted on it when I open the school. I will continue doing videos but they will be posted on my GreatGrappling youtube channel instead of my personal channel. I would like it greatly if you subscribed to that channel as well!

This week’s video is a continuation of last week’s Knee on Belly escape. I call this technique “Stuff the Ankle”, basically because you’re stuffing the ankle. This is a very high percentage move and is probably my go-to move. I use this a lot because it’s hard to screw up and it puts me in Half Guard which is a place that I like to be.

A couple of things to remember about this technique: first, do not ever let them control the bottom arm. It is not so much of a problem without the kimono but if your opponent does have a sleeve to grab ahold of he can make your life terrible. Get your hand to his ankle as soon as possible so that he can’t control it. Secondly make sure to keep that elbow plastered to your hip. Being armbarred is embarrassing, being armbarred from Knee on Belly is even worse.

This move does not replace last week’s move, they work in conjunction. You need to know and practice the other move because it builds strong fundamentals, and if you are used to having good hip movement and understand the power of having the underhook while at the same time being weary of your opponent submission attempts then this technique will really be a boon for you.

As usual, thank you for reading. You inspire me as much as I inspire you.

 

The Gerbil




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