I flew out of Phnom Penh, Cambodia and arrived in Cebu City, Philippines at around 4:00 pm on a Wednesday. I had some great and consistent training with BJJ Cambodia and I didn’t want to break the streak.
I knew I had time to catch the evening class Deftac BJJ, about a ten minute walk down the road. I hurriedly sent a message to the Deftac Facebook page to see if it would be cool to come and train. I got an almost instant reply saying…”Sure, it will be great to have you”.
Their schedule said it was No-gi training so I had a quick dinner and threw on my no-gi gear (I typically just wear my no-gi gear to class, though for gi, I would pack a gi and change when arriving).
I headed out to the location (I almost always book a hostel / hotel within walking distance, if at all possible) and arrived there about ten minutes early. It was pretty hard to find the gym and I ended up asking a waiter and a nearby restaurant if he knew where it was. He pointed me in the right direction (up the stairs to the third floor – above the Vienna Restaurant.) and I found the place right on time.
Deftac’s Cebu City gym is probably the smallest gym I have trained in so far. It is, essentially an office space that they have covered with 1 inch puzzle mats. It was about 4 mtrs across and 10 mtrs. long (12ft x 30 ft.). The good news is that there is no space left uncovered by mats so the entire space is usable. Honestly, it worked out just fine and I bumped into fewer people during rolling than I did at De la Riva’s, that’s for sure.
Besides being the smallest gym I have trained in, it was also the weirdest introduction I have had so far.
I peaked my head in the door and said hello. I got a bunch of weird looks and so I said…”Hi, I’m Eric…I’ve been messaging with you guys through Facebook…”?
More awkward stares and a bunch of guys looking around the room all shaking their heads…’nope’…
“Uhh…I’ve been messaging someone on Facebook and they said it would be cool to come by and train tonight….?….uhhh…I’m with YoloBJJ…?” still, everybody was looking at each other confused…
“Ummm”, I said…”Is this Deftac Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu”? Finally someone said…
“Yes, that’s us”! he was smiling and I knew everything would be alright 🙂
“Would it be cool to train with you guys tonight”? I asked hopefully.
“Yeah man, for sure! C’mon in”! He was enthusiastic and I walked over and shook his hand. His name was Edgy (Spelling unknown) and he was running class tonight.
All awkwardness ended there. I went around introducing myself to everyone and we got started with warm-ups. Let me tell you, this as the hardest warm-up I have done in a very long time! Unbeknownst to me, I had walked in on the second night of “Tournament Prep” for team Deftac. They had started on Monday night to get ready for an upcoming tournament to be held in June here in Cebu City. (8 weeks of tournament prep!).
It started off normal enough with running, high-stepping, shuffling, etc. But after twenty minutes or so, I began to wonder when it would stop. I’ve never done so many jumping jacks that it became tough to do another! The warm-up went on and on (I still didn’t know that it was tournament prep!). Edgy had us doing planks, then jumping jacks, head stand pikes, jumping jacks, push ups, jumping jacks, sprawls, jumping jacks, Lunges, etc…
Finally after 45 minutes of warming up it was over. Kind of.
“Okay guys”, Edgy said…”No technique tonight, straight into takedowns”, and for twenty more minutes we drilled takedowns. We all lined up and one guy would go down the line taking each person down as fast as he could, then would run back to the top of the order and go some more, for two minutes each.
After that drill it was straight into rolling. Edgy would pair us up and it was 7 minute rounds. I never even stopped for a break. Every round a couple people would sit out (to make space) but Edgy wasn’t going to make his guest feel left out 😉 so every round he paired me up with someone.
I’m not going to lie. They’re were a couple times that I thought I would throw up, but I just couldn’t bring myself to represent myself like that so I just sucked it up and kept on going. We rolled or a hour straight and at 9:30 it was time to call it quits. we got a quick group photo and my wife and I took off. we had a 5:30 wake up call to look forward to in the morning and it was getting late.
Like I said, this experience was really surreal. We never did find out who I messaged with. It was like I stepped into the twilight zone, rolled with some awesome dudes, and then stepped back through the looking glass. Haha… they are probably as confused as I was, like: “Who the hell was that guy”?, “Beats me, but some decent rolls…”
Haha! I will say this. They’re was not a single “soft” roll that night. Everyone one of these guys brings it on the mats. Nobody other than me had a ranked rashguard so I have no clue who was what belt level but whoever gets them come tournament time is in for one hell of a tough day!
Thanks to everyone at Deftac Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Cebu City! If you get to Cebu, give them a look. Just hope its not tournament prep time 🙂
Contact: Facebook Be warned of the twilight zone though 🙂