Gracie Academy affiliate there. Not many weeks before me, the academy had been visited by Rener Gracie: one of the two head instructors at the Gracie Academy down in Torrence, California who posted this very enthusiastic video on YouTube:
Once again, the friendliness of Africa topped the chart. While I, unfortunately, didn't get a chance to attend a group session at the Cape Town affiliate of the Gracie Academy I can tell you all that James was not only kind enough to re-shuffle appointments in his schedule just to accommodate my late arrival (thank you driving instructions from Google!) but he stayed on the phone with me and helped me direct my poor (and by now quite pissed off) wife to the Gracie Academy. Once their, James was very thorough with his teaching but also very generous with the technical details. In Gracie Jiu Jitsu, "good enough" is never good enough. James made sure I learned all he showed and taught me and even helped me film and recap the details for future viewing. As a parting gift, James gave me a lovely embroidered "Gracie Jiu Jitsu Cape Town" gi patch. I can't wait to get home and put that gi patch up. In summary, I've noticed that BJJ students often pick up their instructor's habits and general demeanour and if that's the case then all students at the Gracie Academy in Cape Town must be very kind and generous with their knowledge and time.
James started his Jiu Jitsu path in the UK, where he's from originally, and has trained under a number of fantastic instructors such as Mark Walder, Royler Gracie and of course Ryron and Rener Gracie, sons of Rorion Gracie and the head instructors back at the Gracie Academy in Torrence, California with whom The Gracie Academy Cape Town are affiliated and fully qualified under as a Certified Training Centre. Not only did he show me the exact placement of arms, legs, hips and even head (the postures) and the different energies I should be playing with or aware off (the pressures) but he went on to show me the "why" behind these and what happens if I did or didn't do what he recommended (the possibilities). He stuck to the theme of the private session (attacks from closed guard) and presented me with a series of attacks and follow-up attacks with all the details my little brain could handle...and then some. I had a similar feel learning from him as I did learning from Royler Gracie black belt my friend Mr Eddie Kone: this is very technical jiu jitsu where details of frames and leverage beat strength and speed. Highly recommended.
The Gracie Academy in Cape Town has fantastic facilities. I got to do my private session with head instructor James Smart in the main training area, but as you can see in Rener's video above they have more. The facilities are huge, airy and just lovely and very welcoming. Ladies' and Gents' changing rooms and hot showers, a pro shop, a lounging area. You name it, the Gracie Academy in Cape Town has it! My only gripe, being a visitor, is that it's located in a suburb a little out of town. Undoubtedly, once you know where you're going, it's no further than a 20-30 minutes drive from the centre of Cape Town but as a visitor without a SatNav, it wasn't the easiest place to find. It is still located within quite a residential area so I'm sure it appealed to the local residents so no loss there. I guess I'm just spoiled with the geographic proximity we have here in Manchester, UK.
Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi ----Did You Like This Article?--- Click here to add The Part Time Grappler to your Favourites / Bookmarks