A lot has happened since BJs first match in the UFC, and very similar to Mike Tyson, BJ is the fighter who everyone wants to see fight.In 1993 Brazilian Jiu-jitsu was introduced to North America and the rest of the world. Through the battles of Royce Gracie, people discovered that a fighter didnt have to have a bodybuilders physique, but he had to have the techniques and skills to be the victor in hand to hand combat. People flocked any source of grappling or jiu-jitsu material and a legend in Royce Gracie was born. After Royces departure from UFC, jiu-jitsu enthusiasts all awaited the next Jiu-jitsu fighter who would reign supreme in the UFC. Many found short lived glory, but it wasn’t until UFC 31 that the next jiu-jitsu fighter would enter the UFC and really dominate the way Royce did. But, this jiu-jitsu fighter, could did not just grapple, but had amazing striking and wrestling ability. When BJ fought his first UFC match against Joey Gilbert, not only did he outwrestle the wrestler, but he resembled a jiu-jitsu fighter who was aggressive and looking to smash his opponent resembling Ralph Gracie against a karate fighter from the first Extreme Fighting days.
Since BJs first UFC fight, there has been much hype around the prodigy. I for one was excited to see the fighter who was the first gringo to win a world title in the black belt division of the mundials in Brazil. A lot has happened since BJs first match in the UFC, and very similar to Mike Tyson, BJ is the fighter who everyone wants to see fight.
Recently, in Mississauga Ontario, BJ conducted a seminar hosted by my good friends at POUND FOR POUND Fight gear (www.pound4pound.ca), and the Kombat Arts training academy (www.kombatarts.com). The seminar was 2 days and Pound For Pound gave free rash guards to all seminar participants. Which by the way are some of the nicest designs I have seen in a rash guard!!!
Anyhow, unfortunately I was unable to attend the first day but received numerous phone calls and emails from friends telling me how amazing the seminar was so I had to go see it for myself.
The second day of the seminar began with BJ demonstrating some of the MMA combos which he has used in many of his fights. From there BJ demonstrated some drills and tricks that allow him to have his incredible takedown defenses both from a shot and from up against a wall/cage. The seminar continued with takedowns and counters and before the lunch break, BJ had the group spar. Of course, everyone was watching the prodigy. And, as expected, BJ rolled effortlessly and flowed from technique to technique with many of the participants. After the break, BJ spent time on the ground demonstrating some of his patented dope mount guard passes, as well as submissions, that those who followed his BJJ career would recognize. Also on hand for the seminar was BJs brother Reagan who rolled with seminar participants as well. Reagan is BJs bigger brother. And if you follow jiu-jitsu, you will know Reagan won the blue belt worlds back in the day as a white belt. I guess it’s in the genes.
The greatest part about the seminar was that BJ didn’t really try to say a move must be done this way or that way, but he demonstrate a move and say “this is a move I like to do” or “here’s how I like to do this move”. Also, BJ would show counters and allow the participants to choose a follow-up move, which I think is key to learning/teaching in combinations. Not everyone can do what the Prodigy can do, but he helped show a couple tricks so that anyone can implement there own game. BJ made sure that everyone learned the move that he showed and would not continue until everyone was on the same page. BJ is an amazing grappler, fighter and instructor, and I highly recommend anyone to attend one of his seminars. This seminar had a mix of MMA concepts as well as wrestling counters and no-gi jiu-jitsu.
Big thanx to the crew at Kombat Arts and Pound For Pound for organizing an amazing seminar with one of the sports elite fighters. Also, big thanx to BJ and his brother Reagan, for not holding back with any techniques and giving the attendees exactly what they wanted to learn. BJ was one of the most approachable fighters I have met and I would definitely go to another BJ seminar if he comes back.
Also on hand for the seminar was some of Canadas elite grapplers such as: Mark Bocek (ADCC Trials Champ), Joel Gerson (Shooto Star) and Claude Patrick (IFL Fighter). As well as some of the new top stars emerging from Canada such as Eric Yu, Frank Marques and Andrew McInnes who all ate up the moves BJ taught and I’m sure will be pulling off soon.
I think another thing that makes BJ so amazing is his career. Gomi, Hughes, Thomas, Uno, Renzo Gracie, Rodrigo Gracie, Bang, Serra. BJ’s victories is a who’s who list of UFC and MMA contenders, and the things he has done in the ring, are that of legends. The best part is, is that he’s still not even primed and has a lot to show in the ring and show his students in the future! GO BJ!