My Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Tour: Leg One, Part 2 – Peter de Been BJJ, Australia

(…Part 2 of “What I did on my holidays”)

Welcome back Angry Huggers! Last episode we left our intrepid hero sweating and dehydrated after rolling in 34°C heat, and making new friends by showing off his Roger Gracie photo like a badge of honour*. This episode we pick up the action a few days later as he visits yet another school and makes some interesting observations about international travel.

Before I get into it though, a quick aside: After visiting the Garra BJJ school I went out for a few beers on the town (cos rehydrating with beer is both manly and sensible) and whilst there I saw some something I never knew existed – Australian goths.  It was still over 25°C and yet the guys were still dressed in regulation long black leather trench coats, black jeans/combats, and big boots; The ladies opting for big boots, long skirts, corsets and chokers.  As I said in my last post, Australians are clearly all insane. I’m amazed they aren’t regularly found passed out on the side of the road – Remember kids, goths die in hot cars!  Now, I am not one to bemoan the presence of hot goth chicks* – anyone who knows me will know I am normally very enthusiastic about the presence of goth chicks** – but this represents a dedication to fashion I cannot fucking relate to. Still, to be fair the girl in question, she did look very nice. Very nice indeed. Mmmmmmm, gothy…

*Ahem* Sorry. Distracted. Now where was I? Ah, yes:

The second club I visited was a Peter de Been school, training out of the sassom gym in Brisbane.

I was really looking forward to visiting the club.  Firstly, I’d been told it was “the best comp team in oz and always has been,” which I think is about as good a recommendation as you can get. Secondly, I’d had a nice chat with Marcus (a Purple Belt who runs the gym the club trains out of) when I’d called up about coming to train. When I said I was from the RGA he told me that one of his guys was currently over in the UK training at the main london club – making me wonder if I was unwittingly part of some bizarre cultural exchange  – and asked what it was like. We chatted a bit about the Notting Hill club, my club, and BJJ in general.  He asked if I’d ever trained with Roger (I’m beginning to sense a theme on that one) and said I was more than welcome to come along to train. I asked how much a session would cost, but he said not to bother paying, just come along. Clearly the RGA name opens doors…

Due to time constraints the only session I could make ended up being the 9am session the day after Australia Day, which meant it was (unsurprisingly) dead: Only  one other person turned up. This meant that rather than a full out class I essentially ended up with  a 2 on 1 private session with a purple belt. Not bad for the totally price of nothing!

There is one word I will use to describe the session, and it’s “painful”. Marcus is by no means a slight fellow: Before the session he weighed in at a trim 107kg, and given that i’d weighed in at 71kg, I knew it wasn’t going to be fun. It wasn’t. We warmed up by rolling together and I witnessed the power of this fully operational purple belt. I spent 90% of the time under side control or mount, which pretty much set the standard for the session. He’d hold me in one position until he got bored then move to another one and I felt pretty much powerless to stop him. He also used a lot of lapel wraps to control my limbs – not something I’m used to – which just added to the helplessness. After he’d got bored of crushing me like a bug he moved on to showing me some of the techniques he liked to use, and gave me some tips where I was going wrong. He wonderfully described the correct hip position for standing up in someones guard as “Pissing off a cliff” which I think should be a phrase much more happy in common usage. Though I’m sure 10th planet Jiu-Jitsu probably call it something equally stupid.

Sadly the session was over all too quickly and it was time to go.  I got my obligatory photo to mark the occasion and Marcus presented me with a T-shirt and Gi-Patch as mementos.  I know they probably didn’t cost much but it was a nice thing to do for a random stranger. The one thing I am beginning to notice in general about the BJJ community is that everyone is really really friendly. Perhaps it’s because we spend so much of the rest of the time trying to kill each other! All in all I had an awesome (if somewhat painful) time. If all the Peter de Been schools are along similar lines, I can definitely see why they have a fearsome reputation. I highly recommend you visit the club if you can. Just remember to pack your game face.

So that, as they say, was that. I flew back to the UK the very next day. I endured 24hrs of economy class travel to get back, got in at 8am, crashed out for a few hours, got up, ate, and then went to training. I am all kinds of hardcore. Ok, I was good for nothing when I got there and was practically falling asleep on the mats – Seriously, people had to poke me to stop me drifting off whilst Andy was demonstrating – but at least I trained.

I will finish this post with a quick observation about jet lag. It’s evil. Possibly the worst thing I have ever experienced. I didn’t realise at the time but standard recovery rates are 1 day per timezone. In other words, if you fly to the east coast of Australia (a 10hr time difference) it will take you roughly 10 days to recover. Given I was only in Brisbane for 13 days it’s no wonder I suffered most of the time! The other thing I didn’t realise until after the fact was not only can it cause the obvious sleep issues, grogginess, and fatigue – it also can cause mild depression. Which, if you are prone to depression anyway, really can’t be a good thing. However there is hope : Apparently if you feed Viagra to hamsters (and why wouldn’t you?) and put them on an eastbound flight they recover 50% quicker than their non-aroused counterparts. This hasn’t been tested on humans yet, but quite frankly: If you know that someone has conducted this research in all seriousness – I don’t care how depressed you are feeling – it’s gonna make you smile.

Marcus, someone who may well be called James, and me.

* Which it totally is.

** I just want to wash them, is that wierd?

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