Wow! Where do I begin? :)
I was on the East Coast for 10 days... and it was the time of my life!
I owe Danny Ives a HUGE "Thank You"! He was a GREAT host. I feel like I made a true friend/brother while I was out there. Before I made the trip, I had heard that he competed at 145lbs. in Jiu jitsu, so you can imagine my surprise when I got out there and he was 175lbs! Thankfully he was 175 while I was there, so I didn't get my ass kicked by him when he weighed 145 :) That would have REALLY been embarrassing! (I weigh 180!) He can eat like NOBODY that I have EVER seen before! He is a badass on the mat too. He showed me some very good sweeps and half guard stuff!
Well, the guys that I met out there were some of the nicest guys that I have ever met. I have heard the stories about Renzo's guys being like a "gang," or "thugs," etc. NOTHING could be farther from the truth! Although I know that Pat and Renzo have a very mutually respectful relationship, I was still a little worried that I would not be 100% welcome due to the POSSIBLE upcoming matchup between Jens and Matt Serra. However, EVERYONE, including MATT, was more than welcoming and made me feel like I was one of their long lost friends.
My trip consisted of a LOT of training and eating (thanks to Danny). First night there, I trained at Ricardo Almeida's school. I can tell you that his guys are all very tough, but I learned my first night there what the difference between a blue belt and a purple belt was. I guess I am what you would call "blue belt" level. Don't get me wrong, the blues there could beat me too, but at least I could hang with them. However, the purple belts were just incredible. The training consisted of some drills, some techniques, and then live rolling for what seemed to be an eternity. The length of the live rolling was the main difference that I was not used to. Most of Pat's classes last one hour, however at all of the schools that I visited out east, they went from approximately 7pm until 10 or 11pm! Believe it or not, I did not gas, but it was definitely a hell of a workout.
So, during the live rolling, I rolled with some blue belts who were all very good, but then I got to roll with Danny (purple belt), who basically swept me at will. I had no chance at passing his open guard, because I was too busy trying to keep my balance. Thankfully, he showed me some of his half guard and open guard tricks after he was done kicking my ass. I will be working on them like crazy in the future, and will be happy if I even get them half as good as he does them. Next up, was Rob Scheier (purple belt). He is just a freaking animal. I felt like a child while rolling with him. I mean he armlocked me from the guard like it was my first day doing Jiu jitsu! It was pretty much all a blur, but he did show me some very cool tricks that I had not seen before. One of the most intimidating looking guys, but he has to be one of the nicest guys that I have ever met. Like I said, I was completely amazed at how good these guys treated me. Ricardo was very nice and has a great sense of humor. He showed me a few things and answered a few of my questions. I was training without a gi, and most of the guys rolled with a gi, so they would show me how to make the changes to accommodate no gi training. After this session, Danny took me into Philly where we went and ate a "real" Philly Cheesesteak :)
Wow! Where do I begin? :)
Next day, we went to Renzo's. Unfortunately, Renzo wasn't there, which from what I was told is VERY rare. But, I did meet Rodrigo Gracie, which was very cool. I started out my night of getting my ass kicked, by rolling with New Zealand John (who just so happened to get his black belt while I was out there). The guy starts out by LETTING me sidemount him! But, it doesn't help me at all...he still proceeds to make me look like a tool. He was very cool though, I might add. Next up, I rolled with Carl Massaro-"Ye Lunatic" on the UG (purple belt). He was another guy that was extremely friendly, and after kicking my ass, helped me with a few questions that I had. He was very good with the omoplata and helped me with that move in particular. I rolled with a few other blue belts and did OK. A couple other guys that I had the chance to meet were Paul Creighton and Shawn Williams. Both were very down to earth and nice guys. After this session, Shannon a.k.a. "bjjbabe," Danny, and a couple other guys took me to a Peruvian restaurant near Renzo's. I tried "Won Ton" soup, but being from Iowa, and preferring the taste of steak and potatoes, I gave the soup to Danny, and ate a "half chicken." I also learned the hard way, that you do NOT mess with, nor look at, Shannon's food or she gets very angry :) lol
Saturday- back to Ricardo's for my daily ass kicking. After this session, we went out to a diner and ate until we were stuffed.
Sunday- went to Danny's school, and rolled with one of his students and watched him teach class. His students are very good and he is a very good teacher. As with all of Renzo's representatives, he really points out the basics. I believe after this session, we went to Don Pablo's (are you catching the pattern here yet?).
Monday- went to Danny's school again, and rolled with a few more guys that weren't there the day before. One of the guys that I rolled with at Danny's school was K.P.(Kurt Pellegrino). He was very cool and is a very funny guy. I would keep my eye on him, because I think he will be a very tough MMA competitor in the near future at 155lbs. Promoters, are you listening? :)
Tuesday- back to Renzo's school in Manhattan. This time, I was able to meet the "man"- Renzo Gracie. He is just what everyone had said he would be. Very personable, and friendly. I chatted with him for a little bit before we actually rolled and he was extremely nice and humble. I rolled with him for about 15-20 minutes and can't believe how easily he wiped the mat with me. He helped me with a few mistakes that I was making, and then answered any and all questions that I had. I got to meet Joe D'Arce, although I never got to roll with him, but was looking forward to having him kick my ass too. I think Joe is a very cool guy and we chat from time to time on IM, so I guess my ass kicking will have to come next time, and trust me-I saw him roll...he WILL kick my ass. I also got to meet Kon Ying, Lynn@Renzo's, I am going to kick myself for this one, but I can't remember the guys name that was visiting (Soup-something?). They were all VERY nice guys (Do I really even need to keep saying this?) Once again, I rolled with Carl Massaro, who gave me another nice ass kicking. Then, Danny helped me with some half guard stuff. After this session, it was a trip to Times Square to get some pizza and cheesecake.
Wednesday- went to a school in New Jersey. I can't remember whose school we went to, but Danny was kind of the "guest" teacher that night. I took it easy, and just watched and learned. Afterwards, we went to a diner and ate.
Thursday- Ricardo's school. Another series of ass kickings for me. I loved every minute of it. Afterwards, a group of us guys went to a diner and we had dinner, although they messed up my Rueben :(
Friday- road trip out to Long Island to Matt Serra's school. Matt Serra is one of the coolest guys that I have ever met. I have been a Matt Serra fan for a long time, so this was one of my highlights of my trip. To be honest with you, I was very worried once again that being from Pat's might give Matt a little hesitancy towards me. I couldn't have been more wrong. The possibility that he and Jens could end up fighting has me torn. I am a HUGE fan of both guys. However, he treated me like I was a long lost friend. He was very friendly, and I did a private lesson with him, where he showed me some very cool things and answered any questions that I had for him. He introduced me to his brother Nick, who is one of the funniest guys that I have ever met. I still believe that a guy with a sense of humor like he has, is very intelligent (I don't care what his students say-lol!). Nick was also very welcoming. In addition to these guys, I met Pete "Drago" Sell, the infamous GabrielNHBnyc, TexasRedneck, and Joe Scarola. After training, we went to eat at a sub sandwich place, and then to a movie with Matt ("All About the Benjamins"-if you are curious, and YES, it was very funny). It was a late night and we got home around 3am. Ps-Combat Stance, I guess I will have to wait to meet you next time :(
Saturday- my last day of training with a hell of a workout at Ricardo's school. Rob and James were working some NHB stuff so they suckered me into working out with them. I felt like I was back at Miletich's. I have come to discover that it doesn't matter where I go, I am inevitably going to get my ass kicked :) After this session, we went back to the diner, and they got my Rueben correct this time.
Among the other highlights of my trip: seeing the Statue of Liberty, seeing the Ocean (which I had NEVER seen before), visiting the World Trade Center site, seeing a guy throw a gallon of milk at a taxi cab, having a lady try to kick me in the elevators of Renzo's (she was going to the 2nd or 3rd floor), going to some Philly nightclubs the last night I was there and seeing Danny puke :) lol
I met soooo many cool guys while I was there, that I am bound to forget some/most of them. So, if I did meet you, please post on here and let me know who you are! Some of the guys told me their screen names, but I can't remember them.
Well, I think this is a fairly long list of what my trip consisted of, although I greatly shortened it so that it would be somewhat more readable. If I forgot something or someone, I apologize ahead of time.
Overall, as you can tell...this trip was AWESOME! I know that some of Renzo's guys are planning on making a visit out here to train with Pat for a little bit, and I will definitely be going back sometime in the future. If you are on the East Coast and you aren't training with Renzo or at one of his academies, what is wrong with you? ;)
THANK YOU TO ALL of the guys that I met while on the East Coast. You are all first class!
Any questions? Please feel free to post them here and I will be more than happy to respond.
Can you beat Pat Militech now? :)
Great story! Makes me jealous.
It was great meeting you. You rolled and met more people at Renzo's in one week, than I have in 1 year :)
Anyways, I guess that means next time I happen to be in Iowa, I can train with Pat, Matt, and Jens, right?
Then again, I dont think I'll ever go to Iowa....
Great post, bro. This is what MMA is all about, brotherhood, friendship, and good hard training.
"Can you beat Pat Militech now? :)"
ROFLMAO! Not a chance! :)
You are VERY correct! :)
Very nice! Thanks. (Next time take me.)
ttt for BZLJJ
Good post bro. I hope to see you the next time you are in town. Glad you had a good time.
TTT for BZLJJ-sounds like you had a great time.
Danny is THE BEST host. Just like you described-a brother. No one believed me about his eating...
The Renzo crew is great, everyone is super cool, talented and fun to be around.
TTT for TEAM RENZO
I second all of the above. Great guys...great jiu jitsu.
Wow! Great detail! Post more of these will you?
Sweet. Lucky guy.
Awesome review...it was really cool meeting you Ron...you are more than welcome anytime you are back in the area...give me a heads up and I can put you up I am sure for a couple of days whilst you are in town again...that way you can get a few back to back days in at the academy....drop me a line when you get a chance...oh gear is coming in...a few things have arrived.
Renzo Gracie Academy
Ron it was nice to meet you,and look forward to training again.Anyone who has not met him in person I would like to say he is no different than his posts,which IMO are respectful and honest.Good luck with training,and I will keep your daughter and the rest of your family in my prayers.Good luck and God bless.
Btw, BZLJJ, did you recieve my e-mail?