The rains have hit us sooner than expected here in Bangkok but not before we were able to complete a very successful seminar weekend at Bangkok BJJ. Mauricio 'Tinguinha' Mariano flew in from Los Angeles on Friday afternoon to settle in before the 2-day seminar, Saturday and Sunday. I was very pleased to find we had full attendance on both days and at just the right numbers. Had there been more, people would have been training over each other.
SATURDAY (04.25.2009) A bit of a slow start the first day in, Tinguinha introduced to us several bjj-specific drills for warming up the hips and legs. Which was a great way to strengthen my core as it requires the person to have a balance of tight and loose posture. While your grips remain strong and steady in controlling your opponent's sleeves, your hips should be relaxed so that they remain sensitive to how/where you opponent is moving. With the group consisting of both beginner and intermediate students Tinguinha began with a basic introduction in how to establish the spiderguard and major points to maintain control and mobility. It was here that I was reminded of some basic details that made all the difference in the world and already I knew it was going to be a good weekend.
The entire time Tinguinha was very open to answer questions and explain how each position transitioned to the other. The basic mechanics that ran true through several of the techniques only needed slight adjustments when the opponent is on his/knees, kneeling or standing. I won't go into the details of each technique here cause that's meant for those that attended, haha.
The seminar went through the full 3 hours with just 1-2 short breaks for water. Even with the AC and fans going at full-blast, the outside temperature and body-heat from all the students made the academy a very very hot place to train. Perhaps bikhram-jitsu will be a new trend some day, haha. Which is kinda funny for those of us here in Bangkok cause it was reported that Monday (today) would have record breaking heat but it's actually very cool cause of the rain. Anyways, at the end Tinguinha opened it up for some Q&A and was very generous with his wealth of knowledge.
SUNDAY (04.26.2009) The day started on time and with a very special announcement. One of the reasons that we were able to make this seminar tour happen is because of Phil Denzau. I had met Phil several years ago in Bangkok since he had his own training spot in the downtown area. Phil had recently gotten married and moved to Thailand with his wife from LA, already a purple-belt. Having trained BJJ for nearly 10 years and a long-time student of Tinguinha's, Phil was awarded his brown-belt. Both Tinguinha and Adam Kayoom recognized Phil's dedication to jiu-jitsu not only as a student but as a teacher and teammate to all of us here. I was lucky enough to hear the news the night before as both black-belts discussed the matter and could hardly keep my excitement to myself. Phil had no idea this was coming and when he received the belt, was in utter shock. Congratulations Phil!!! Oh, and we owe you a whipping after your back heals up, lucky excuse.
OK, so back to the seminar. Tinguinha opened things up with a quick Q&A to address any questions on the previous series of techniques before expanding on sweeps and taking the back. Using the same mechanics from the first day but more so in dealing with changing levels. Being able to deal with your opponent as he/she transitions from the knees, kneeling and standing as well as how to deal with transition from the half-guard to spider/open. A series of questions followed from the students about how to recover or maintain the guard as the opponent looks to disengage, smother or hip-switch through. Overall there were less techniques covered in the second day compared to the first but we were able to address more of the concepts and finer details.
The last third of the seminar was then dedicated to reviewing both days' material and a final Q&A session. I was most surprised by some of the questions brought up from the white-belts as they were quite good. I forget the Portuguese version but a running theme of the seminar was 'rice & beans' which means the basics. Even though some of the stuff may seem complicated, it's all rooted in basic mechanics of jiu-jitsu and playing to the strengths of the hip-movement and taking the person off their center/base.
OVERALL I couldn't be happier with the results as this is our first BJJ-ASIA sponsored seminar. I could not have wished for a better guest than Prof. Tinguinha as he is an excellent instructor with his ability to address students of all levels. Bangkok is the first stop in a four-city tour of Southeast Asia. Tinguinha leaves tomorrow morning for Manila (Gracie Barra), then to Hong Kong (Impakt) and finishing things off in Singapore (Evolve MMA). I want to thank Prof. Tinguinha for his generosity and for making long trip out to Southeast Asia from the US. To Phil, Niti, Amps, Adam, Christopher I., Danny H., Kei, and Chatri thank you for being a part of this tour and showing your support by making the seminar happen on your end.
I know that each location has limited space so if you haven't booked already, you better get going fast. I took a lot of pics but will not be posting everything cause that's reserved for those who attended. No video was allowed due to Tinguinha's involvement with the producer of his DVD instructionals. This will be the same for all locations so don't be bummed out, you've been warned. ENJOY!!!