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Posted 4/17/2010 5:59:01 PM Post #554

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Posted on the UG by csimamora

I had the privilege of taking a private lesson with Marcelo Garcia today at his academy. I have so many thoughts floating in my mind, but I wanted to share some quick takeaways with all of you.

1. His warmth and disarming kindness really allowed me to feel at home and absorb all of the feedback and coaching he had to give. It is a continued lesson for me that greatness and humility are not mutually exclusive.

2. We spent a good amount of time rolling, with him analyzing my game and then making adjustments as needed. He fuses a quick transition game with crushing pressure. It seems that with all the great teachers I've ever taken a seminar or private with, pressure is the common thread. No space, and lots of pressure. Very demoralizing if you're on the bottom.

3. His approach to learning and teaching jiujitsu is akin to chess, where his actions and responses to his opponent are based on a deep understanding of a) what those actions will elicit in his opponent, so that he is a step ahead at all times, and b) so that his responses are the most correct in a particular situation. He describes how he narrows the scope of his training to focus on mastering and then internalizing these actions and responses until they are automatic. He describes how often, while rolling, he doesn't realize he's doing a move until it's done. Brings to mind the Japanese term, mushin, which I believe means "no mind," in the sense that the conscious mind is sent to the background to allow the training to come to the forefront.

4. You can sense that the example Marcelo sets seeps down into all of his students. I spent time after the private chatting with a few of them, and they all projected the same warmth and passion for the art. Also, most striking, was the open invitation to come and train with them, despite not being a member and not being an Alliance-affiliated practitioner. As one student described it, and I'm paraphrasing, This isn't a political school. It's all about the love of the sport. So, if your coach is ok with it, just come down and train with us whenever you can. ...Imagine if the entire art were permeated with that openness. I see visions of John Danaher or Henry Akins sitting down and exchanging info with Marcelo. Just amazing! So, I believe I'll be doing open mat there from time to time.

These are my quick impressions. If you ever have the chance to train with Marcelo, take it. While it's humbling to consider how much BJJ I don't know, the value is in the process and journey, and it's incredible to know I'll be learning until I take my last breath.
Chris Simamora

Image courtesy of Kevin via blog

Private lessons
Lessons are 60 minutes long
1 person - US$ 300
MG members - US$ 250

They need to be scheduled in advance!

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