Today was a very special day for me. I got to train in Marcelo Garcia’s brand spanking new permanent academy on the first night they opened! I was so lucky that their new academy opened during the week that I’m here in NYC.
Having the opportunity to train with the best BJJ practitioner in the world is my favorite reason for visiting NYC. Food? Meh. Shopping? Meh. Clubbing? Meh. Training with Marcelo Garcia? OMG OMG OMFG!!!!! I’ve told people before who questioned my school-girl-like obsession with MG that having the opportunity to train with him would be like having the opportunity to shoot hoops with Michael Jordan at the peak of his powers.
I could tell the night was special for Marcelo too. After warm-ups he started the class thanking everyone for following him across the city and coming to join him in his new ‘home.’ He got a little choked up and misty-eyed when he was expressing his gratitude and talking about this. It had been a rough couple of months for him since his first academy was destroyed when the floor above them flooded. They then moved to a temporary location at Chelsea Piers… that was also destroyed by flooding when Hurricane Sandy came. They had to relocate to another temporary location.. until they finally were able to set up shop here on 250 W 26th St.
As an out of town visitor, even I was moved by his emotion. And the way the class responded by yelling out their support, clapping, and slapping the mats, I really got a feel for the strong sense of community his academy cultivates. It made me want to be one of their regular students too!
He quickly moved into the instructional portion of the class where we worked on a series of attacking the turtle.
I attended his Advanced Class which was for blue belts and up and promptly got my butt kicked by everyone there! It was a clinic… I wanted to blame my banged up elbow and wrist.. or the hard mattress I’ve been sleeping on… or the cold 25 degree weather.. or even the bowl of chilli I ate 2 hours before class (but kept burping up while rolling)… but in the end I was just over matched. The students there get to train with the best and almost everyone I talked to said they trained 4+ times a week! Lucky bastards.
Everyone I met there was amazingly friendly. From the moment warmups started to the end when we were pairing up to do some rolling, everyone smiled and introduced themselves. I never had trouble finding a partner, and they didn’t mind offerring tips when I kept getting caught in the same thing over and over again.
Here’s a panaroma shot I took of his school. They just got their lockers in, but haven’t installed them yet. They also haven’t put up wall-mats so he warned us to be careful while rolling. They literally opened the school as early as they could’ve (they worked all through the New Year). I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to train here tonight.
The highlight of the night for me (aside from getting tapped out by everyone…. hey if you’re not tapping you’re not learning right?) was when we got together for the picture and he said remembered me from the last time I visited (I trained for two classes at the Chelsea Piers location a few months ago). He simply is the nicest, friendliest, most unassuming guy I’ve ever met.
If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend it. I can’t wait to go back.