Jiujitsu seminar for charity

Sunday the 8th of March 2015 marked a fantastic first for me. This was the first time I got to do something though jiujitsu. I have always loved and enjoyed jiujitsu and being around those who share the same passion but today, I taught a small seminar at a friend's academy and all the seminar proceeds went to charity. Two charities, to be specific.

For quite sometime I have wanted to do something that involved jiujitsu, my friends and good will but not really known how to or even where to start. I kept hearing about seminars in the US being held for charity but they were always by big names. Famous black belts with accolades and such.

One day I expressed my desire to a few friends who own academies and they immediately showed their support to the idea. Rob Dixon, a man with great vision, who is the instructor at the Gracie Academy affiliate in Stockport, UK was the keenest on the idea. We talked about this towards the end of last year but life got in the way so we agreed a March date, which at the time seemed so far away but as I got in the car this morning I was full with excitement and joy: I was doing something fun, enjoyable and completely selfless.

I arrived at the venue a little early and was very happy to see the mats practically full. 40 knowledge-thirsty souls had made their way to Stockport Gracie Academy to learn from me and, more importantly, support the cause. Rick, one of the local blue belts, had even supplied the event with water bottles from his employer Nestle and John, a dear friend and instructor at Union BJJ under Marcos de Matta, brought in his product which I've recently reviewed: IdeePure soap, and donated a portion of his sales to the cause. What a heart warming way to start your Sunday!

The seminar revolved around the theme of "Keep It Playful" which is a jiujitsu movement started and perpetuated by Grandmaster Helio's grandson Ryron Gracie. I've met and trained with Ryron a couple of times and discussed the why's and how's of keeping jiujitsu playful so I felt the topic would be great for the seminar.

We spent some time learning the solo drills that teach the movement patterns the progressed to how to reclaim the space and manage it using stiff arm levers first from the bottom and later on from the open guard aiming to pass.

The idea was to shift the conceptual focus from fighting to a finish to keeping the roll flowing. If you're struggling to see what I mean, think about playing badminton with a friend. There's no net. Just two buddies, two rackets and a shuttlecock. "Winning" isn't the objective. Keeping the ball in the air for the longest possible duration is the goal. "Playing" is the goal and the process at once, even though you still challenge each other by throwing some serious angles into your "conversation", you still want to keep the game flowing. Now translate that back to jiujitsu and you can begin to see what we were trying to create that Sunday in Stockport. All in the name of charity.

Thank you to all 40+ attendees who took time, money and energy to spend a couple of hours on the mat with us on a Sunday.



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