On October 24th I flew to Florida for the opportunity to train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with several Robson Moura Nova União Black Belts and roughly 100 students from that association that ranged from White to Brown Belts over the course of the weekend.
I thought it would be a nice surprise to visit with my parents while I as in the Sunshine State so the PLAN was to stop by on my way back from Tampa on Sunday. Little did I know that my mom had made homemade pasta and was waiting for my plane to land to hatch her plan. Once I landed I sent a text to my family to let them know I landed and was gearing up for the 2-hour drive to Tampa.
My mom called to ask what I was doing for dinner and when I told her that I was going to pick something up on my way to Tampa; she replied with the fact that she and my dad are on my way to Tampa. So I agreed to add an hour to my trip to go 20-minutes off my route to visit with them for 20-minutes so I could be at the hotel around 12:30AM Friday morning.
It worked out great and she had two huge plates of homemade chocolate chips and peanut butter cookies too! After a short visit, a few cups of coffee, and one for the road; I was back on my way to Tampa. I was making great time in the Chevy Equinox and then with 3-miles left before the hotel: construction work. It took me another 20-minutes to hit the hotel. When I checked in, I was informed that my room had been given away since I didn’t check in yet as the Hilton was experiencing hot water issues with some of the rooms. Thankfully some of my teammates were still up and let me crash in their room for the night.
After 5-hours of sleep, we were off the the RMNU Headquarters to train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for the day. We basically had two seminars with Josef Manuel and Vitor Shaolin before we broke for lunch. Their teaching and willingness the share their knowledge was amazing and really set the bar for the rest of the weekend. After the lunch break all of the Black Belts from the association took the center of the mat and all of students lined the walls as we played “King of the Mat” where we had the opportunity to roll with them for an hour. Needless to say, being able to hold my own with some of the elite Black Belts for longer than 30-seconds was a goal; that got squashed. I’m pretty sure I was swept within the first 25-seconds of each round.
After lunch we were treated to another seminar from RMNU Black Belt, Andre Ushirobira and 4th Degree Black Belt & EIGHT-TIME Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Champion, Robson Moura. I was drilling their techniques and picking up a lot of information that I was able to add to my current game. They were not showing a lot of LOW PERCENTAGE Techniques. Everything was a high percentage move, techniques that would work 9 out of 10 times.
After a dinner a Five Guys in Tampa, we called it a night as we needed to be up and back at the gym by 8:30 for another day of training. During the next 6 hours of training, I had to opportunity to work one-on-one with BJJ Black Belt and Bellator Veteran, Robert Villegas. He was able to tweek my techniques and positioning while drilling which really helped me get more out of the training. That’s the great thing about this camp: No Egos. Everyone was there to help everyone get better and answer their questions.
When training wrapped up the team had some time to clean up and throw on some of their best threads since we’ve been in Gis for pretty much 2-days straight, and went to dinner at Texas de Brazil. The food never stopped coming out! Steak, chicken, ribs, lamb chops, bacon wrapped chicken, it was a lot of meat. We had a great time and after everyone left, I decided to surprise my parents and drive out to Haines City several hours earlier than planned.
I checked out of the hotel and made the drive in record time and crashed at their place for the night. My mom was thrilled to be able to make me breakfast and I enjoyed just hanging out with my parents for several hours before needing to head to Sanford for my flight back to Bloomington.
As I continue my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training and reach my goal of competing once every three months in various tournaments, I am extremely proud of the team that I train with here in Bloomington and the teammates that I have all over the country. I’m looking forward to next year’s camp and the various seminars that will be taking place in and around Illinois leading up to that camp.
Again, none of this would have been possible without the amazing support from my wife.