Let me start this review by saying holy s**t! What an amazing experience! A kid in the candy store feeling doesn’t describe the feeling I had as I sat watched world, national, and international Black Belt champions walk through the door of Atos head, Andre Galvao’s San Diego California Academy. That description would do it justice. I would say what I was feeling that evening was closer to the feeling of one of those kids in the Disney commercial when they jut they realize they’re going to Disneyland for the first time. I was star struck and in awe! I was in the same room as some of the world’s best Black Belts. I was in the same room with Black Belts I look up to, Black Belts I strive to be like, Black Belts I only see from a far, on the internet, or on the DVD’s! This was an experience of a lifetime!
This seminar played host to 12 Atos Black Belts! Some of the best the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world has to offer. Black Belts such as Andre Galvao, Rafael and Guilherme Mendes, Gilbert “Durinho” Burns, Brunno Frazatto, Guto Campos, Claudio Calasans, Rodrigo Caporal, Ed Ramos, Vitor “Giant”, Angelica Ferreira, and Davi Ramos. When I first heard of this super seminar, I was excited! When I heard where, even better! When I heard when, the excitement dropped! This super seminar was on a Wednesday evening the evening prior to the seminar. Within 12 hours and with the encouragement of one of my students and my wife, I decided to go! I made the arrangements to have my classes covered; I left at 11 AM and headed out to San Diego for a quick day trip. Go there, do the seminar, and come back in one trip! This was a first for me! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t the slightest bit hesitant or skeptical about doing a last minute seminar, 6 hours away the day after finding out about it. I have to say, it was more than worth it! It’s an experience I would never trade for anything in the world. I got to train with some of the best in the world! Would you?
I’ve been to many seminars, most were good, some were bad, and some were okay. This however was a polar opposite to the worst seminar I’ve ever done! This seminar was one of the best if not the best ever been to. I’ve never been to a seminar with more than 2 black belts teaching and be one of the best seminars I’ve ever been to. I had access to 12! Did you read that? 12! Twelve of the best at my disposal! I had 12 different Black Belts helping me fine tune my technique, give me tips, and help me with any flaws I may have had (which I did. No one is perfect)! During the seminar, the feature that stood out most in this seminar is how all the technique shown flowed from one to the other building on or off other technique shown throughout the evening. It helps retaining the information that much better. A quality in seminars rarely seen! Especially with multiple instructors teaching under the same roof!
Another element of the seminar that stood out was not that I was learning 12 techniques throughout the evening from the best but I was learning 12 variants of each of those 12 techniques. So, if you were to break it down, I easily could have learned 144 approaches to 12 of the same technique. On top of that, with the help of the Black Belts in attendance, I was also able to fix some positional flaws in my game that stood out to them but not to me. That alone was worth more than the cost of the seminar and worth more than the technique taught! That is information you simply cannot gain from DVD’s or YouTube!
All in all, I enjoyed the last minute day trip, I thoroughly enjoyed the seminar and I would do it again in a heartbeat if Atos did that seminar again! As tired as I was on the drive back, I could help but think about the experience. The newly acquired information was looping in my brain over and over again the whole way back. If you are anywhere near the San Diego area or within 6 hours of San Diego and if they do this seminar again (I believe they are. Before Worlds), you should have no reason in the world not to go! Make the time, make the drive and head to Andre Galvao’s Academy the next time they have another seminar! You will not be disappointed!