I wrote this blog back in March 2015 but as it was an awesome seminar and a great snapshot of Eddie Kone’s Gym in London I thought I’d rescue it from my husband’s blog….
So there’s a brown belt, a purple belt and a white belt in a car……? This isn’t the start of a bad BJJ joke, but actually the start of my Sunday morning road trip! To a Royler Gracie Seminar in the UK!!! When my good friend and jitsu big brother Liam Wandi (aka The Part Time Grappler) asked me if I would be interested in a road trip to train with Master Royler Gracie I jumped at the chance. The last time there was a Royler Gracie in the UK was nine years ago, so this was a unique opportunity to train with one of Helio Gracie’s sons.
The seminar was being held at the Eddie Kone Academy Headquarters in London. I was instantly impressed with how friendly it was. This is one of the great things about BJJ. Despite the gym being obviously busy I was greeted warmly and directed to the female changing. The gym itself was actually very stylish with beautiful matting and was spotlessly clean so it passed all my checklists. Very quickly I was sat with the other girls attending the seminar swapping training notes and information on crucial topics like finding a female gi!
The seminar itself was very much focused around the self-defence aspect of jiu jitsu so was much more street than sport. Now I know this is a point of debate for some jiu jitsu practitioners, as people have their personal preferences. So I’m not going into my thoughts on either side other than that I simply love jiu jitsu. I train the majority of the time the “sport” side of the art and love competing including at IBJJF events. But I was fortunate enough to be taught a solid self-defence base when I first stepped onto the mats, as well as some great self-defence instruction from Paul Schriener at the MG Academy NYC last year. So for me, this seminar was a chance to spoil myself, enjoy some great instruction and train an aspect of my jiu jitsu that I don’t tend to focus on.
I am not going to cover the technical details of the seminar as I simply won’t do it justice. The best way I have generically described it to friends was that I felt that I’d been to an awesome interactive BJJ show. The technical aspects of the training were delivered in a really relaxed and humorous style and despite full mats, Master Royler managed to constantly move around the group ensuring that everyone got attention. He was totally approachable and made the whole class feel at ease. We were also treated to a range of stories and insights ranging from explanations of concepts and principles,
through to life stories and insights going into growing up as Gracie. The Q&A session went on far longer than planned (but in a totally positive way) with answers on everything and anything from his Metamoris fight with Eddie Bravo and his thoughts on competition, through to demonstrating options and techniques for peoples technical challenges. I was totally thrilled to be helped with one of my own technical sticking points, but I am not sharing the ninja secrets details on this blog and spoiling the element of surprise, there are people in my gym I need to catch with it first!
As the seminar closed there were a number of promotions including Eddie Kone himself receiving his 2nd-degree black belt. Although I had no personal attachment with the school, it was great to witness a full lineage and family celebrating together. After a lot of photo opportunities, signings, hugs and generally excited chatter the seminar ended and everyone left with a smile on their face.
Overall, I had an amazing day. Obviously, thank you to Master Royler for sharing his knowledge and time, but also to everyone at the Eddie Kone academy for simply being lovely and making a Manchester Minion feel welcome (I’d recommend people to visit). Finally, huge thanks to Liam and Ross for being great road trip buddies and ensuring jits and giggles!
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