My Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Tour: Leg One – Garra BJJ, Australia

(…or “What I did on my holidays”, part 1)

Before I talk about the training I did in Australia I think I should quickly cover the country itself. So here it goes, Tartovski’s short encapsulating review: Australia is insane.

I mean, it’s proper fucking bonkers: For a country that is essentially a vast desert with a few green bits around the edges desperately clinging on for dear life (I’m not being flippant – 35% of the country is listed as desert, 70% of it as Arid/Semi-Arid i.e. get less that 500mm of rain a year – Drought is a massive problem) It manages to contain 7 of the 10 most venomous snakes in the world,  several of the most venomous spiders, the most venomous fish in the world, killer jellyfish, killer octopi, saltwater crocodiles, man eating sharks, and 40million people who are mad enough to live there voluntarily – some of whom I was planning to fight. Schoolboy error.

Given that I was going to be rolling with people I’d never met before and that I wanted to give the best impression of the UK BJJ scene I could, I decided that before I attended a club I should put myself through a punishing regime of lounging about, drinking too much, eating too much and going surfing. Although I must say that surfing in choppy waters was oddly like BJJ – it’s impossible to stand up, you can’t breathe half the time, and you have someone shouting at you telling you what you are doing wrong. Luckily for me though rather than having Andy shouting “HIPS! HIPS!!! HIIIIIPPPPSSS!!!” I had Stacey the terrifyingly fit surfing instructor shouting “KNEES! BEND YOUR KNEES!!” – I’m strangely not sure which I prefer.

The first school I visited was Eduardo Dias’ Garra BJJ. I’d spoken to Eduardo via email before flying out and he was very friendly and happy for me to train so I was looking forwards to meeting him and seeing his academy. It was 34°C in the car on the way there and I was praying for airconditioning. My prayers were not answered: The school itself is set in a (large) metal roofed industrial unit with nothing but 2 fans to cool it. Did I mention that Australians are all mad?

As it was my first time in a strange school I fully went with the prison yard philosophy of “Make someone your bitch on the first day, or be a bitch for life” and sensibly took the first option. I’d like to claim this was easy but it wasn’t – The heat was oppressively bad, I was almost certainly dehydrated, and I was gassing. I ended up fighting so hard to win that all I did for the first half of the round was exhaust myself and get nowhere. Luckily I realised what I was doing and stopped myself. I took halfguard (as it was the safest poistion I could get to) locked it down, and waited. I slowed my breathing, relaxed, and then starting working a sensible game: sweep, pass, mount, choke. Once I’d got my first sub I relaxed even more and even managed to pull off a nice triangle before the end of the round.

After that I took it alot easier, partly due to being alot calmer after my first roll, and partly due to the stupid heat. We were sparring in 7 minute rounds, one on, one off. I got to roll with their Brown Belt, Ty, who just so happened to be from the UK orginally and knew my instructor (or knew of him), another white belt who outweighed me by about 20kg but was unable to sub me and vice-versa, and a blue belt who knocked me around the room for the entire 7 minutes whilst giving me tips on my game. All in all, a fairly typical BJJ session! The one thing that struck me though was the different style of game they had compared to what I was used to.  They played a much looser game which meant whilst I still ended up fighting from the bottom quite a bit, I never felt anywhere near the pressure I was used to back home which allowed me to reverse positions I really shouldn’t be getting out of easily – especially mount and side control. Not that I’m complaining…

Once we were done with the free rolling we did a drill I’d never seen before. One person is on their back using open guard, and the person on top has to pass whilst holding a tennis ball in each hand so they can’t use grips – Meaning they have to rely on moving their body movement alone. I thought it would make passing nigh-on impossible, but actually it didn’t effect my game too much. I’m not sure if this was due to the way I train normally with emphasis on hip pressure and pushing weight through, or due to it generally being more about body movement/weight and less about grips  – but either way it was an interesting drill to make you concertrate and think about how you go about passing and definately worth giving a go.

The people there were all very friendly, even to a bloody pom like myself, and all were very interested in the fact that I’d met/trained with Roger Gracie. They all were interested to know what he was like so I told them that he’s a really friendly, very open, and cannot be killed by conventional weapons.

After the session I got a quick photo with Eduardo to prove I was there*, and thanked him for letting me train. He gave me nice Garra BJJ window sticker as a momento and finished by saying he shared a mutual friend with Roger in Fabricio Predador (owner of Pride Fightwear). So Roger, when you read this** – Tell Fabricio that Eduardo says Hi.

Yes, I am red. Did I mention it was a tad hot?

Eduardo & Me

That’s all for part one… Tune into part 2 soon where I get get crushed by a 107kg purple belt, submit a shark, and almost die from jet lag. To be concluded…

*Pics or it didn’t happen!

**this is probably one the funniest things I will ever say on this blog.

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17 thoughts on “My Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Tour: Leg One – Garra BJJ, Australia

  1. GnP says:

    Quality read! Let me know when Part II goes up, esp the story about submitting a shark. RNC?

  2. Meerkatsu says:

    News just in, word is out that Roger just added you to his blogroll. Only joking, he’s too busy being the best in the universe. But if its any consolation, I like your post.

  3. Matt says:

    Well your off on the venomous snakes.. Australia does NOT have 7 of the top 10 most venomous snakes on a drop for drop basis to people… Australia has 6 of the top 10 most venomous snakes on a drop for drop basis to MICE… Mice are not people and the most venomous snakes are by a long shot Asian snakes. Australia probably has 1 or 2 of the top 10 drop for drop to people… but no where near 6 or 7.. Mice aren’t people

    • Tartovski says:

      Doesn’t it? I confess I can’t remember exactly all the sources I looked at when I wrote this article, but a quick google See here and here. And possibly most detailed HERE seems to show the number varies from about 5 out of 10 up to 9 out of 10 at the highest.
      I’m not sure what your point is about mice not being people. No, they obviously aren’t. But then I didn’t make a statment the Australia has 7 out of 10 most deadly snakes to Humans, did I?

      Do you have any decent sources to back up your Asian snakes claim? If you do I’ll edit the post and make a footnote of it.

  4. matt says:

    What the hell? Lol did my last post not go through or something cause it’s not showing up?? I’m sure I hit post common and it went through.. does the site not allow you to post links because I posted a few?… Well I will wait and make another post if it didnt go through

    • Tartovski says:

      Um. No idea! I’m not an admin. Links should be fine. After all I linked to stuff in my original reply. So where you from/where do you train? Or are you some random Herpetologist who stumbled on my blog?

      • matt says:

        I’ve actullay never trained bjj before…Muay thai is the only martial art that I train/have trained and its a huge part of my life[ been doing it for 7 years… fought a raja stadium a few times and trying to get a fight a lumpinee]… I never really had much interest in Bjj until about a year ago when I “rolled” with a friend who trained at 10th planet… Needless to say I got my ass kicked.. lol and I have been curious to do it ever since. I would have started 6 months ago but I had to get knee surgery… I still love muay thai more than anything and that will be mainly what I train but bjj is just to effective and cool to not train…. I was googling stuff about bjj and I came upon this site and noticed the venomous snake comment…

        As soon as I saw Australia I knew that their incredibly overrated snakes were going to pop in the paragraph somewhere as it seems that no matter what the topic is about Australia… somehow their so called “6 or 7 of the top 10 most venomous snakes” are put in the paragraph… You could be writing a page on the price of living in Melbourne and the stupid snake comments would show up somehow….. And I dont blame you… as your not Australian and obviously wouldn’t know how ridiculous that claim is in reality and how far from the truth is…. Australians love to ridiculously overrate their animals to foreigners and its really pathetic…. but I guess they think it makes them sound tough or something…….I will elaborate alot more on this later as I have class[ I’m in college] When I get back I will rewrite my post[ that for some reason didnt go through] on snakes

        Where do you train at? Do you train under a gracie?

      • Tartovski says:

        I train at Andy Roberts BJJ. It’s part of the Roger Gracie network.

  5. matt says:

    Sorry for the grammar errors[ I was rushing because I have class].. And once again I’m not blaming you for the snake comment… I’m blaming Australians [ who should know better] who overrate the danger and lethality of their animals to foreigners to make it seem like Australians are tough or something… I discussed this with another guy on a different site just recently and he was from Australia and my question was

    “Why does it seems that in every thread about australia somehow turns into an ” we have the most deadly animals and you will die in 5 days if you come here” thread and its just retarded and riduculous when you look at facts… Why do you guys seem to love exaggerating you animals so much? Especially when 80 percent of it is just complete garbage?”

    And then he replied

    “Probably as an attempt to differentiate ourselves from other western cultures. As our culture is very similar/influenced by USA/UK, we use our nature to make Australia seem unique.”

    Best answer I have heard so far.. And I agree fully with it.. Now for the actual evidence that Australian animals are overrated and the danger they pose overhyped by Australians compared to animals elsewhere… I will get to that part later after my class.

  6. Matt says:

    Wtf that’s 2 separate posts of mine that have been deleted..Hmm are the moderators Australians or something lol… Will post again later on tonight… unless of course it gets deleted again

  7. Matt says:

    Are you back from Ghana yet?? I would like to further talk about this subject

  8. Matt says:

    Back yet…. I want to discuss this further… Australian snakes are OVERRATED and the most deadly snakes are Asian snakes

    • Tartovski says:

      I’m back. Go for it!
      I literally have no interest at all in this subject (it’s a BJJ Blog, you go that – right?) but I’m up for learning. Prove your point. With references.

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