OK, Technically this was before the day I decided to begin my life as a BJJ Nomad but Master Marcio Stambowsky is so significant I felt he belonged here.
This was a combo seminar with a private session just before the seminar. This seminar took place at at the Ohio Combat Sports Academy in Reynoldsburg, OH. I got a last minute opportunity to split a private with my training mate Andrew so I jumped on it.
I was a three stripe blue at the time and Andrew had just received his purple a few weeks prior. We showed up a few minutes early to find that Marcio (Mestre Stambowsky) was already changed and on the mat. After a quick change we joined him and, after some short introductions we got right down to business.
Before I say anything more I want to throw this out there. If you have never stood in front of a BJJ Coral Belt,complete with 8-10 inches of striped tab, you can’t really understand the effect it can have on you once the realization sinks in…At one point really early on, While Mestre was in the midst of explaining the concept of playing open guard I actually stopped him and said….”wait a sec…I need a minute”. Andrew and Mestre both looked at me kind of strange. I had been getting distracted from his teachings because I kept looking at that belt, trying to count the stripes, calculate the number of years they represented….I had just realized that I was never going to get anything out of this private if I couldn’t get past that belt! I knew I just had to stare at that belt, be in awe for a minute and get it out of the way. After what seemed like a minute or two, all I could muster was….”That’s a lot of stripes…”
Mestre just laughed and then the show got underway! We went over some old school stuff like double armbars from high guard and went over a bunch of stuff I had never seen, or imagined before. As a matter of fact, we went over so much stuff that I was only really able to absorb about ten percent of it all. And, after the private, the seminar went over all the same stuff he showed in our private, which was great because without that redundancy I don’t think I would have remembered even 10%.
Remember, I was a three stripe blue at the time and this was my first private session and first seminar with ANYONE of the caliber of a Coral Belt Master! Towards the end of the seminar, Kroyler Gracie – who had driven in from Indiana for the seminar, gave me this advice…”At seminars like these you are going to be exposed to A LOT of stuff. Don’t try to remember it all, you won’t. Just try to take a few things with you that you understand and can integrate into your game.
Well, as it turned out, I did just that. A few months later, at the American Grappling Challenge submission only tournament, I was able to win my first match with a wristlock (Which I learned at an Andris Brunovskis seminar) in an “Omoplata / sweep / wristlock combo that started with the “leg lace / inverted omoplata” that Mestre had shown in our private. Also, in several tournaments I have used the “Macarrao”sweep (aka: balao sweep) many times (my favorite to pull-on unsuspecting whites and blues 🙂 Other than that, I once – during a training session – pulled off the “leg lace / modified scissor sweep / to armlock” series he had shown us. Definitely not “basic” stuff, for sure.
In short – When you get the opportunity to train with (especially privately) a coral belt Master, do yourself the favor and pony up the cash. Just being there on the mat, speaking and interacting one-on-one with a master can have amazing repercussions on your psyche. Just an amazing feeling to train with a living legend!