If you're looking to train BJJ in London you will be truly spoiled for choice. Meerkatsu wrote a beautiful article on training BJJ in London for "Jiujitsu Style Magazine " not too long ago. One such academy that has built a fantastic reputation over the years is New School BJJ in the Battersea area and, as Battersea is only a cycle ride away from where I now live in Clapham, I paid them a visit to train at the lunch time session.
|"Hi, I'm here to try out this Brazilian Jiujitsu thing?"|
When I arrived at BATTERSEA YOUTH CENTRE, the receptionist directed me to the dojo, which is a beautifully matted fitness studio with hanging mats covering the mirrors. The instructor Antony Chahal, black belt under Felipe Souza and a familiar face on the jiujitsu competition scene, welcomed me very warmly. The class started promptly at 12 and lasted, officially, until 1.30, with several people staying behind to stretch, chat or roll some more.
|The spacious and UBER clean mats|
Antony's teaching style is very clear and he takes his time explaining the finer details of every technique, but what impressed me more was that he paid just as much attention to the details of the warm up. This resulted in an engaged class from the get go, as opposed to some people knowing what "shrimping" means and getting on with it while the beginners struggle to make heads or tails of the movement. Very impressed indeed.
It was also clear that drilling is very much emphasised at NewSchoolBJJ. Much of the lesson, after the warm up and before the sparring (both situational and free), centred around drilling entries, set-ups and sweeps from the open guard (DeLaRiva, spider and lasso to be exact). This made me very happy as not only do I enjoy drilling, but I find I learn better from it.
The session ended with a formal bow-out, both to the masters' pictures on the wall and to the instructors, and a train of handshakes.
I had a chance to hang out a little with Antony and a few of the guys after the session and grab some lunch, during which I found out Antony and his partner Nick were both full time martial artists and that they were both heading out to the ADCC Pro trials in Amsterdam that weekend. We talked lots about their trips to Brazil, the journey that the BJJ School had gone through over the past couple of years and where they saw its future heading. Antony and everyone else were very generous with their time, even though it was the first time they had met me.
I returned to NS/BJJ for the daytime session the following Friday and was very happy to see the mat full with multiple black and brown belts, not to mention a heap of purple,blue and white belts. I asked and quickly found out that that was indeed the norm. At the start of the session, Antony reminded everyone that this was an open mat session. I immediately interpreted that to be an hour-hour and a half of rolling but I was wrong. Instead, we partnered up, Antony put 3 minutes on the clock and we took turns drilling our chosen technique combinations. We drilled like this for 50 minutes straight! I felt so lucky that I had this opportunity to practice my own "game", visiting and re-visiting every detail, not to mention feel out and learn the best techniques of my training partner on a 1-2-1 basis.
|19 jiujitsu practitioners in the lunch time session!|
Following the drilling, we had a water break and approximately 35 minutes worth of 5 minute sparring rounds. I met a ton of new people, all of whom were very polite and careful not to injure the new guy, still while tying me up in knots and pretzels.
In summary, if you're in London you'd be a fool not to visit NEWSchoolBJJ for a session or three.