The fortunate and unfortunate part about my work is that I get to be a travelling Jiu-Jitsu nomad. I have the opportunity to taste the fine cuisine of the gentle art from around the country while never finding a favorite recipe near home. This weeks dish? Royce Gracie Jiu-Jitsu of Fresno.
I arrived there the day before a Royce Gracie seminar. I had a small hope of maybe possibly accidentally bumping into the UFC and Jiu-Jitsu legend the day prior to his seminar. Unfortunately, Royce was sick from his travels from the UAE dashing any dreams or hopes I had of meeting the legend! The good news is that Tosh Cook, Royce Gracie Brown Belt and MMA professional, was around to show me some techniques during his Thursday night fundamentals class. You know you’re getting quality instruction when the instructor is CERTIFIED by a legend like Royce Gracie.
The beauty of Tosh’s teaching is his preaching. He spends just enough time talking about when and why you use a technique balanced against how you conduct the actual movement. This is great for a fundamentals class where the focus is still learning and establishing any kind of game.
Like the Gracie Academy, Tosh focuses his training on one position for about two weeks at a time. This weeks focus was on the mount position but you can’t mount until you take down your opponent! We started the night’s training with simple pummeling. Once achieving underhooks we started working a leg hook takedown. After the leg hook takedown we moved into a standing armlock with leg hook takedown which is what led us into establishing the mount. From the opponent in the mount we practiced both the standard and neck hug variations of trap and roll. We concluded with two variants of the cross choke. 15 minutes of playing king of the mountain (sweep or submit) and that brought an end to the Thursday night fundamentals class.
Again, another way to find quality in a school and instruction is to roll with its students. I was not surprised to see his white belts rolling with skill and technical ability. They weren’t clumsy, which is sometimes common, and they didn’t spaz once they were mounted. They were calm and cool, all excellent signs of good training. Another point to throw out there is that there was a purple belt on hand, Jeff (I think his name was Jeff…?) who was assisting Tosh and getting some training in himself. I had a chance to pummel and work sweeps with him and he was also calm. Sometimes colored belts feel the need to prove that they should be that belt color. I’ve rolled with plenty of purple and brown belts who choked the snot out of me or torqued my arm just to prove to me they could do it! Tosh’s pupil wasn’t like this. He actually slowed the technique and our training down when I worked with him. This allowed me to focus more on my training as opposed to playing defense against a guy who is obviously better than I am. kudos to him and Tosh!
Overall, I was really impressed with Tosh’s teaching, his students and his school. His mats were clean, his students were pleasant, outgoing, eager to learn, and competent. Tosh more than understood the game enough to teach it and had the pedigree to do so. It was my pleasure to roll with him!