Sunday, September 6, 2009

Royler Gracie Seminar and Dinner

For people that don’t know Royler Gracie is the younger brother of Royce Gracie who is the guy who won the first 2 UFC back in the day. Royler is a dude that had competed for a long time in various Brazilian jiu-jitsu comps and won a fair amount of them. Pretty much he is a celebrity in the BJJ world.

Royler came to Australia to run a series of seminars and to also make a stack of money. My sponsor from grappling store was the main sponsor for all of the seminars and so i got free access to his last seminar up in Sydney last Saturday. Now this is a big deal. A 3 hour seminar with this guy is $120. And me and my friend Ivo a judo guy from Melbourne) were lucky enough to attend the seminar with around 100 other participants.

The seminar was overall good fun. I didn’t learn all that much that I could apply to competition Judo but i did learn a good way of how to market the ‘sport’ of Judo into more of a self defence rather than a just a sport. The problem is many people look a certain techniques saying ‘oh that wouldn’t work i would do this’ but they always tend to forget that not everyone that’s going to attack you is going to know the counter to your technique. The people who will hopefully never attack you wouldn’t really know any fighting skills.

I don’t want to get into the debate saying yeah he was pretty much teaching judo or whatever because i don’t really care to be honest. All i care about is that people respect each other right to enjoy something they enjoy. Too often in martial arts many participants put dirt on other guys for the martial art they do and how its crap etc etc.

The seminar was 1.5hours stand up and 1.5 hours ground work techniques.
He taught some basic defence from front chokes and some front gi control and a few grip breaking techniques. All useless for Judo competition but once again great if you want to teach self defence. He also taught some headlock escapes, a koshi guruma and a guillotine defence.
Royler then taught some groundwork technique but only one was good for competition judo, it was a variation of the john buchannon strangle. Or the banana bend one. He just used the skirt of the judogi instead.
He also taught a very fancy kata gatame (head and arm choke) from the bottom a technique very easy to defend, but still, everything works once. I cant really remember the rest of the stuff he taught, i maybe should have taken a notebook. Not many people did.

Royler seemed like a nice guy with quite good English and tried to help as many people as possible throughout the seminar. He was constantly walking around giving advice and laughing away.

Then it was time to ask questions the questions were ok at the start but by the end they were stuff like, “do you regard bjj is a martial art or a sport.” “will bjj be at the Olympics” and my favourite “show me an armbar defence.” To which he answered ‘there are hundreds of arm locks, just don’t get stuck in one.’

That night we were lucky enough to go to dinner with Bruno Panno his fiancé Juliette and royler Gracie. Just me, Sam, Ivo and Pat and those three at a very fancy and famous Brazilian restaurant. We couldn’t believe that so many people pay $120 to be in the same room with Royler and here we are having a pretty much personal dinner with him and we didn’t pay and we didn’t ask we were invited along. Makes me feel pretty lucky to experience all this stuff.
The dinner we had was absolutely awesome, pure Brazilian dinner. We ate chicken heart and pork belly. We had heated up pineapple and cinnamon and just a variety of the best meat on skewers you could possibly have. We chatted to Royler bout heaps of stuff he talked about how much he loved Judo and he gave Ivo and I his card and said we can email him and go train with him at his Dojo in California for free. Man, that’s crazy.

I think he really enjoyed the fact the Ivo and I didn’t really know too much about him, so we didn’t talk to much jiu-jitsu or fighting but talked about random stuff like how hard it is to make a book and dvd series, talked about his favourites Gis he likes to wear (which is mizuno by the way,) we talked about him coming to Australia every year and where to hold the seminars etc.
We talked about Brazil as i went there in 2007 for the judo worlds and we talked about how i ask Samantha to marry me there etc. It was funny because Samantha wasn’t really looking forward to dinner that much but another famous BJJ guy there Bruno Pannos brought his fiancé along so Samantha and her just chatted all night about random girl stuff.

It was such an awesome night with the best dessert you could possibly ever ever have. No joke, because Bruno knew the owner we got a massive discount on our meal but we were lucky enough for Pat to take care of the bill.

Overall Saturday was a great day, Seminar with Royler Gracie followed by dinner with Royler that many people would pay a lot of money to be able to do, and we were lucky enough to be invited.

Bruno Panno, Me, Royler Ivo and Pat

Me and Morgan Endicott Davies (fastest ever win at the Olympic games)

Me and Paulo Taveres. Nice guy who loves Judo also runs his own club

Royler graice and I

Me 1st place -73kg Purple belt Dave 2nd Ivo 3rd

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