I posted a couple of weeks ago about my experiences at the IBJJF Asian Open. Despite the competition being out of the way I still wanted to take the opportunity to train in Tokyo even if it squeezing it around my tourist fun and eating!
Now with the competition taking up a chunk of our time both in terms of competing and recovering we only had the chance to train a couple of times whilst in Tokyo. I’ve only ever had good experiences training at Carpe Diem BJJ in London so it made sense to visit one of their Tokyo branches. We settled on their Hiroo branch partially due to recommendations from friends but also the mixture of instructor sizes and the fact they make it really easy for visitors by having clear information on their website.
Like a lot of things I Tokyo to spot it you also have to look up! As the gym is on the 2nd floor of a building. We were warmly greeted at reception (where you take off your shoes) before being shown to the mat space and changing rooms. The ladies changing rooms are spacious with all the essentials (storage, toilets and shower) as well as nice touches such as makeup wipes and those essential spare bobbles. The gym its self has two nice mat spaces and there was also a nice free weights space as well.
Now despite being the main base for their women’s programme (on the floor above) I didn’t get to chance to train with any other ladies (except a visiting brown belt). Although that didn’t take away from the great instructional we received. One of the reasons we chose / were recommend this branch of Carpe Diem is that not only was it easy to get to and had great instructors but it also had a very international mat. Hiroo is the main area for Tokyo’s expat community and that mat had a number of nationalities on it including Americans and a range of Europeans. As a result it was very easy to find both bilingual training partners and the instruction was in a mixture of Japanese and English.
Classes all followed a similar format with a light mobility based warm up, a set of 3/4 techniques and drilling which are then finished with some rolling. Our first class was with Reda Mebtouche and unfortunately its content is top secret as hubby and me are still working on it! Lets just say once a lapel got pulled out my hubby became a very happy grappler! Kazuki Watanbe took our next class and covered the single leg x with a sweep variation that I had genuinely not seen before and have managed to incorporate into my game. Finally our last class was the over 40 session (yes, I snuck in as I’m 39yrs 3/4 lol!) with head instructor Kazuki Watanabe. Again another awesome technical session looking at improving my headquarters passing but also helpfully showing me one of the moves my opponent did on me in competition (I just wish he’d also shown the counter!).
Carpe Diem is a really nice gym, in a great location with some amazing top level instruction. Combine this with a really traveller friendly and you definitely have a gym that I am already planning to visit again (we loved Tokyo!). If you get the chance to train in Tokyo I would certainly recommend dropping by!