BJJ back belts Yousuf Nabi and Miad Najafi (CFS BJJ / De La Riva International) run a very smooth operation down in Brighton and Hove. The academy offers a range of martial arts that reflects the two competent black belts' own rich background and breadth and depth of knowledge:
I was recently in Brighton, a seaside city in the very south end of England, to celebrate a friend's birthday but I couldn't face coming all the way down here and not hook up with these guys for a session, so I packed the uber light "Globetrotters Travel Gi" that Christian Graugart sent me along with my Sunday best.
I've known Yousuf and Miad for a couple of years now, both through the Combined Fighting Systems under David Onuma's lead but also from through Miad's MMA clothing brand iMMAculate which you can read about here.
The Saturday session run by Yousuf was a competition prep class, with the upcoming IBBJF Euros in mind in particular. The session was open to all teams, which saw several black and brown belts present on the mat from local (and in my case far) academies alongside purple, blue and white belts all working and drilling hard.
The 2pm session started with an hour of positional drills with changing opponents. Escape-progress-or-submit.The pace was high and the athletes left their all on the mats. Being a recreational athlete and a part time grappler, I was more interested in seeing how I could get surprised and what openings I was leaving exposed in my positional grappling game. I wanted to see how and when I would get caught when escaping and how and when people where escaping when I was on top and I came out of that first hour two small techniques richer. Very happy with the outcome.
The second hour saw us sparring, but in a very particular way. We split into groups of three: 2 people sparred while one watched for two minutes, replacing one of them at the end of the two minutes and so on. This resulted in 4 minute rounds where you faced a fresh opponent half way through. Again, the pace was high and the quality was super sharp.
As I left the academy, I was chatting to some people in the changing room and was offered a lift back to my hotel by an up-and-coming young MMA athlete who had driven all the way in from Eastbourne, which is approximately an hour's drive from Elements Martial Arts in Brighton & Hove. The reason I mention this is to stress how welcoming the academy is and how good the training there is. If you live in South England and want to learn jiujitsu, Jeet Kune Do or even Yoga, I urge you to get in touch with this academy.
I'd like to thank Yousuf, Miad and all the fantastic people down at the academy for making my visit such a healthy and productive one. As the CFS moto goes: Intelligent Combat
In other news, Brighton has a lot to be proud of. Ice cream by the sea, boozy brunch and some of the best tapas I've ever had (some dishes were in fact better than Barcelona).
ZHOO ZHITSU IS FOR EVERYONE!
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