Monday, March 22, 2010

An Objective review of Alliance Atlanta

We are excited to have Hilliary Williams training with us for a few days this week. She was kind enough to write a review of her first day training on her blog:

Alliance Day 1

Posted by Hillary on March 21, 2010 at 5:56pm

I have the worst luck! My flight from Memphis to arrive in Atlanta was going to be a quick one, where I’d rest in preparation for the week ahead. About 15 minutes after lift off the pilot came over the loud speaker: “Um, ladies and gentlemen, the system that maintains cabin pressure has broken and we’re not capable of handling it manually.” Back to Memphis, where I’ll spare you the gory details but after tons of waiting, a man in a Peter Pan hat, a broken part flown in from Atlanta, a plane switch, then a flat tire, I managed to arrive in Atlanta at 2:07 AM. Only a little over five hours late, good job Delta!

I tried my best to sleep a little bit before class. I woke up on Saturday morning, my brain super excited but my body wasn’t quite on board. My great host, Julia, trains at Alliance and we were on our way for noon class.

This is silly. I walked in, saw Jacaré, Cobrinha, Ian MacPherson, and a slew of sick high ranks. I was actually shaking I was so nervous to train there. Julia introduced me to everyone and about time to meet Jacaré my Portuguese became a jumbled mess and spitting out “How are you?” was a very difficult task.

We started out with stretching--apparently I got spared a hellish warmup--and then worked a few takedowns, taught back and forth by Jacaré and Cobrinha. It was definite Alliance style standing work, with a single leg and an armdrag plus their options on the ground. Videos of the techniques are on Alliance’s blog: .

Now for training. I already knew on the way there what was probably going to happen. I’m an accomplished brown belt, so I expected to be thrown to the wolves--and promptly humbled--by his tough blue and purples. Just to show me how things run at Alliance. And, sure enough, I got two very strong, very solid blue belts. Alliance is my anti-style, they play everything I’m bad at and defend everything I’m good at. I spent the first two rolls defending and trying to figure out how to deal with them, at what point I realized the short trip here is going to be amazing for me in terms of growth. I rolled with a purple and brown as well, that by logical thinking was quite bad, and then Julia--who is one of the strongest girls I’ve rolled with and technically sound.

So, at this point, we’ve done only eight-minute rolls. With about thirty seconds, and no water in between. We got a three minute water break and it was time to start on our feet. I went back with recent World Pro BJJ East Coast trials winner Pedro (won over black belts as a purple) and was promptly thrashed. I’m really seeing how poor my base in spider guard is and I’m going to be focusing on passing this week. My shoulder popped in a very freak accident and it was hurting. On top of me being completely, utterly gassed and on the point of breaking mentally, I didn’t want to seem weak so I kept going. I rolled again with Julia and Jacaré finally called the end of the class.

The only times I’ve been this tired have been at Darrel Gholar’s class during pro training at ATT, and my first time training at GFTeam. But it’s one of those, “I didn’t quit. I came very close, but I didn’t quit.”

Aside from that, I’m just impressed with the people at Alliance. Almost everyone introduced themselves, they joked with me and I felt very welcome. Jacaré was coaching me during rolls, and I couldn’t thank them more for the exhausting experience.

Julia, Pedro, and I ate lunch and then headed to a local pool. We did 50 meter “sprints”--just freestyle as fast as possible and it was way more tiring than I thought. I think I’m going to start doing quite a bit more pool training, it’s great for the overall musculature and for my lungs.

Afterward I headed back home and sporting the shirt Kirik bought me that proudly says, “I should be in the kitchen,” I assumed my role as a woman and got to cooking. About thirty minutes later Julia, her brother, sister in law and myself were all chomping down on chicken coconut milk curry, korean peppers, naan, and mangos. I’m a good houseguest. :)

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