With both Budo Academy and Kombative Fitness having classes the same nights of the week (Tuesday and Thursday), I was excited to find out that there was often an open mat on Monday nights hosted at different locations, depending on what space was available.
I sent a quick message to my buddy Ming to see if there was going to be an open mat on Monday and if so, what were the chances of getting an invite. Within a couple hours Ming had responded with a YES and YES!
Ming picked me up around 7:30 pm on Monday and we headed off to Team Armada Facebook page), which was not far from my hotel in Georgetown.
We rolled in a few minutes early and I was introduced to Cheng, who runs Team Armada. There were about a dozen people or so stretching out and chatting with each other. I recognized several people from Budo including Gary and Poppy, who I know have a good game and are good training partners. There were also people from Kombatives and Cheng’s own students as well.
Team Armada is a relatively small facility. Probably the smallest I have trained in. It is kind of set-up like a personal training studio with an open space in the front of the room,some machines by the wall and racks of stabilizer bars, exercise balls, etc. Toward the back of the room is a small matted area about 4 x 5 meters.
Cheng is a blue belt under Professor Christiano Kaminishi, out of Tokyo and trains both gi and no-gi at his facility. Tonight was no-gi open mat and Cheng asked if I would spend some time showing some techniques before we all started rolling.
I chose to show a rolling back-take from top half-guard that I had been working on for a few months and finally pulled off while I was training at Phuket Top Team. We worked on it for about half-an hour and it looked a like it might be a little difficult for a lot of the guys to pick-up. Fortunately, Cheng picked it up pretty quickly and I felt confident that he would be able to continue working it with his guys.
The mat space was sufficient for everyone to work the technique, but when it came time to roll Cheng cleared the mat and had three pairs roll at a time, which worked out great and nobody was bumping into each other.
We rotated three pairs on and three pairs off for about an hour (Again, I got no break as these guys were keen to put it to me 🙂 ). We all had some really great rolls and I think I rolled with almost everybody, except for Ming, who said he would catch me tomorrow at Kombatives 🙂
By the time I left I was absolutely drenched in sweat. The space was small but had fans going strong, but still, after an hour of straight rolling I was, literally, dripping sweat off my rashy and shorts and was exhausted. It was really a lot of fun!
I was happy to be able to report that Penang, though a smallish island, has plenty of good, safe and fun training options. Team armada is one more example of the brotherhood and camaraderie you can find there.
Next-up, about three more days here with at least two more training sessions and then off to Langkawi (an even smaller island – with zero BJJ 😦 ) for about a week of relaxation before heading off to Cambodia.
Until then: Oss and good training!