Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lovato Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy

I am going to be reprinting some old classic entries from my previous blog called The Angry Grappler. It will chronicle the evolution in my understanding of martial arts.

08 March 2008 @ 10:43 pm

I got to spend a couple days in Oklahoma City training at Lovato BJJ Academy. They just opened up their new facility and I guess I had just missed Xande and Gumby who had just left. I had accidentally went to their old academy but luckily they had info posted on their window regarding their new academy. The Lovatos welcomed me like no other academy before. Father and son both were so hospitable. Rafael Jr. personally returned my e-mail with his contact info in case I needed anything. Rafael Sr. knew I was coming and talked to me and gave me a bit of history on the school and asked me all about my jiu jitsu journey with genuine interest. He even gave me a Lovato team shirt. Score! Rafael Jr. made an announcement to welcome me to his academy and asked me to roll right away so I wouldn't leave without having a chance to roll with the man himself. Oh man I feel so grateful to the Lovatos. Makes me want to move here and train...

I didn't get to do any of the class but better than that, I went to their open mat and got to see the Lovato team training session. Let me say the new facility is big, has a cage, showers and they are still working on it. Even got a little store. It's a huge facility but its not about size its about quality.

The room is filled with Pan Am and World Champs. Rafael having a huge year last year and the year before. Rolling with him was great. Truly a level above. But the great thing was afterwards he asked me if I had any questions. Wow. The first time anyone asked me that. I asked him a few things and he helped me with my guard telling me to bring my knees closer to my chest to always keep a wedge between myself and my opponent. Great advice. The little things make all the difference.

He invited me to eat with him but I had to go before it got too late. But I did get to watch the team training. I can see now this is not a school for just techniques, This is an academy and team for people who want to be champions. Their team training was unlike anything I had seen before. Not in California, not in Vegas, nowhere.

Eafael still actively competes so I can see he makes the training tough not only for his students but also himself. It's bitter cold in there, you can see your breath. But they steam up the windows after a while. But man when you first step on the mats, your feet sting. It was a mix of high school wrestling training, Crossfit, kettlebells, sparring, and hell.

Rafael Jr. told me to prepare to see pain. And thats what I did see and it made me salivate. Man it was like watching Rocky train. And they all motivate each other to gut through it. Its not like one person motivating the group, everyone is in it to the end. That is awesome.

This supports my theory jiu jitsu thrives in towns that are already competitive and good at wrestling. They also offer striking and the Lovatos have a background in amateur boxing! They also make you test for a blue belt to see if you got the fundamentals. That's brilliant.

I got to roll with one of their purples who was smooth as butter. And a wrestler who is also a blue belt getting ready for the Pan Ams. I had a lot of fun with those guys rolling and getting smashed. I feel bad I bled on one of their gis haha.

I loved it here and will probably some day come again!
About the Author:

Sam Y. is a Master Personal Trainer, Certified Nutritionist, Coach, Performance Enhancement Specialist, Corrective Enhancement Specialist, Yoga and Pilates instructor, and holds multiple certifications. He is also an avid Martial Artist, training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, Boxing, and MMA. He is also the author of the popular fitness blog All Out Effort as well as the popular martial arts blog Inner BJJ. You can find him in the Los Angeles area personal training his clients, or at home annoying his wife, or on Facebook at his personal fitness page.

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