Rolling Through Jiu Jitsu Nation

Posted: June 13, 2011 in Gear and Reviews

I know its been a while since I’ve posted anything here but I have a good excuse! I’ve been traveling. I took a trip up to Smyrna, TN and while there I popped into Jiu Jitsu Nation, lead by head instructor and Luiz Palhares Black Belt Cliff Fonseca.  My buddy Felix and I spent around two hours rolling on their mats and Cliff showed us some X Guard sweep techniques.

The great thing about going to a new dojo is that you never know what to expect.  It mixes things up.  It keeps things legit and allows you to test yourself against new and different training partners.  It also exposes you to new “inside jokes”.  For example, walking in and seeing a giant Yoda in a Gi!  First thought, AWESOME!  Second thought, what the…?

I asked Cliff about it and he just laughed.  He told me that it was something a student had said in the past about being “Jiu-Jitsu Old”.  Your body suffers injuries and has pain and cramps.  It’s hard to get out of bed in the morning and the joints are swollen.  You get to a point where you need a cane to walk.  But when it gets to be time to roll, like Yoda, you toss the cane and whoop it on!

Let me say that Cliff is a standup, easy going, laid back guy!  When I told him we were just passing through for the day he didn’t charge us a dime.  I can guarantee you there are dojo’s out there that charge an easy $40 just for some mat time.  On top of that, Cliff spent extra time going over techniques and rolling with his students after the lessons were over.  He gave away private instruction at the end!  Free!  Cliff spent some time at the end of class rolling with me where he put me in any number of contortonist techniques.  It turns out getting placed in Spider Guard and rolled into an Omoplata hurts…  Thanks Cliff! 

As much as I talk about his charactor, I have to talk about his technique even more.  Starting with the Heel Sweep, then a Knee Pass, then moving into an X Guard Sweep with Knee on Belly.  His teaching skills were excellent.  He would demonstrate each technique multiple times from multiple angles, then move from student to student individually correcting their discrepancies.  Cliff made it clear in what situation you would want to use each technique, pointing out that in a street fight or self defense situation you were more than likely not going to be using the X Guard.  Another big indicator about how effective his training and teaching techniques are is how effective his students are on the mats.  I got a chance to roll with a few of them and can definately say that they know their stuff. 

Jiu Jitsu Nation also has what appears to be an excellent childrens program. The open mat session had youngsters that were playing and participating. As a dad, this is a good thing to see.  There are plenty of local gyms that teach Jiu-Jitsu but don’t want to “deal” with children.  Any school that is willing to spend time teaching kids earns an automatic thumbs-up from this guy!

Go check them out.


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