Back from four days on the Andaman Sea, chasing Manta Rays, I was really stoked to get back on the mats at Combat 360X! I e-mailed Mike to make sure we were still a go for 5:30 no-gi and I got a fast response of “All good, look forward to seeing you”.
I rolled into 360 X in my 200 Baht taxi (about $6 ) and once again saw the short, ferocious Muay Thai instructor. He gave a quick and friendly smile, which I returned, as I washed my feet before bowing and stepping on the mat.
I quickly saw a group of guys sitting towards the back of the mat area. They had that “Chillin’ up against the wall between sessions” look that I knew belonged to the BJJ guys. 🙂 I headed over and shook each of there hands and gave an “Oss”!
– Sidebar: One thing I have learned from travelling all over the world is that not only has jiu-jitsu given us a common bond that brings people from completely different walks of life together to share in an equality that is hard to find elsewhere, but it has also gifted us this one word: “Oss”…which carries with it a positivism that let’s any BJJ’er know that “I am your friend and colleague”. 🙂
Anyway, it was 5:30 pm and time to get no-gi class started. Today, Eitan Anenberg was running the no-gi class. Eitan is a cool guy! He started us off with some shrimps up and down the mat to get warmed up and then stopped us and said…”Like we aren’t hot as hell already…let’s get started.”
We worked a lot of technique starting with a simple sweep that I remembered from training at De La Riva’s, then went into transitions to ankle-locks. He showed some very sweet details on making the straight ankle lock work with minimal effort. I remembered that my friend Raul Canto had shown very similar details while I was training with him in Cozumel, but I had failed to insert it into my game. I am going to make a concerted effort to actually use what I am learning a little more often so I don’t have to keep learning things twice.
We went over about three ankle lock variations and my head was swimming, (I am kind of a one or two technique person…what can I say, I am a bit thick at times). We drilled the sweep / ankle lock variations for about ten minutes and then it was time to roll.
Right off the bat I paired up with Eitan and, let me tell you, I was not prepared for what was about to happen. For the next five minutes, Eitan was spinning, inverting and locking me up from every which way. In all honesty, it only took about the first minute and a half for me to realize I was out of my league. I have no problem admitting it. Eitan was just a level or more above my game! He was working the “Kimura trap” alot!
I had heard about the kimura trap from a professor of mine after I pulled it off once against a training partner. At the time, I was just improvising and flowing from a kimura grip to an armlock. That’s when my professor explained to me that this, and variations, are known as the Kimura trap.
Well, Eitan must have been working it into his game because everywhere I turned he was locking that criss-cross grip and spinning, inverting, rolling and just confusing my brain all to hell! I can’t actually remember if he tapped me directly from the kimura trap or not, but I do remember tapping plenty.
It was pretty cool actually because it reminded me that there is a counter to the kimura trap and I was even trying to remember how to make it work but Eitan was too quick. I just couldn’t manage a counter. (If someone can find a video on it, please post in the comments so I can quit getting owned by Eitan the next time I am in Khao Lak 🙂 ).
It was a small group today and so, again, everybody rolled with everybody. I have to say…everyone at Combat 360X was on their game today! I think I managed 1 tap but otherwise they were all whooping my butt. Will Chope was especially technical today and we had a really great roll! He LOVES the “Anaconda” / “Brabo” combination and was working it in good style.
After a little more than an hour of training it was time to go as my taxi pulled in. My final impressions of Combat 360X?
I give them high marks for technique, sportsmanship and the really friendly atmosphere in the gym. Often times when I go to an “MMA” gym to train, I am just a little bit leary of the ego factor that I have found in the past with some fighters (in fairness, that is usually with the younger / newer fighters with something to prove). I did not feel at all uncomfortable training and rolling with Mike and his guys at Combat 360X! A super-welcoming group of guys training BJJ in a comfortable, awesome sportsmanship gym! I would definitely go back in a heartbeat.
Interestingly, I was out scuba diving last week and met a girl who lives in Khao Lak. I had told her that I was training at Combat 360X while I was in town and she actually said “I was going to work out there but the BIG GUY who runs it was kind of intimidating looking…”
Hahaha…I had to laugh at that. Yeah, Mike is a big guy with tats…so what? 🙂 He is a very cool practitioner of the martial arts. I found him to be welcoming and humble.
I told her this and encouraged her to give them a shot, I am sure she won’t regret it.
Next up…heading off to Malaysia and spending a couple weeks in Kuala Lumpur where I have been invited to train at monarchy MMA (remember those five rules…always contact ahead :-)).
Until then, Oss and good training!
d stepping on the mat.