Getting there from the western part of Dublin wasn’t too terrible. However, navigating Dublin's transportation system is a bit nerve racking when I don’t have reliable wifi. The busses seem to be either early or late. So I spent a lot of time just hanging out at certain bus stops in the hopes that something would eventually come along. The roads seem a bit small at times, specifically the highways. There is zero semblance of an “Interstate” like we have back in the US. I personally feel that traffic in Dublin would flow a lot better with some additional lanes and overpasses. But that’s just me. The folks that live there don’t seem to mind, so why should I?
In any case, I was standing by at the bus stop at around 1005 this morning near my hotel. The bus, when it arrived, would be taking me to the City Center where I would need to transfer onto another bus which would drop me about a block or so away from ECBJJ. According to Google Maps (thankfully I routed the trip before I left my room) each segment would take around 45 minutes and I should in theory be there before class started. Unfortunately I didn’t get to my stop, or actually around two stops up until a minute or two before 12pm. As soon as I got off the bus I started towards where I thought the academy should be, as I didn’t see it in passing. As I got closer I noticed the Ribeiro sign on a fence pointing me in the right direction down an alley of sorts.
I made my way inside of the academy looking for someone at the front desk, but nobody was there. So I walked a few steps and peeked my head around the corner to see three people on the mats. The brown belt of the bunch, Darragh, looked up and greeted me. He looks in appearance a bit like Kit Dale, but with a more serious demeanor. And, as I would find out, a more serious take on training.
Right about then Chris, who had originally invited me out to the academy, got up and came over to greet me. Chris has previously offered me the use of a loaner academy gi. He knew I was headed to the airport after training and out of kindness didn’t want me soiling my clean clothes with a nasty worn gi. And he did this free of charge. There are not too many academies out there that will do the same. Mater Caique’s school and the Gracie Academy HQ (which normally charge) are the only other places that have offered me the use of a loaner gi before. I grabbed the loaner and went over into the locker room to change out.
As I made it out to the mats, I looked around, we had about 6 people total including myself. Darragh the brown belt, Chris the purple belt, I believe two other blue belts, a white belt, and myself. I was also the tallest and the heaviest in there. With this not being my first rodeo, I knew not to let the size factor get into my head. These were Ribeiro’s guys, Saulo and Xande, much like my instructor Rodrigo are all as tough at adamantium. I thought the class would run an hour or so but was informed the day class usually runs for about 2 hours.
We started off with a light warmup consisting of some normal stuff we do at home. Running around, shuffle facing the middle, the outside, high knees, heels to butt, and some other upright movements. For the ground movements we did shrimping, on the way back we we did a sort of forward shuffle base where your same side elbow and knee connect while basing behind you (kind of like how you would sit before rising into combat base). From there we started in a kind of bear crawl position, walking our hands out, doing a push up, frog jumping our knees back to our elbows, and repeating down the mat. On the way back from this we did front shrimps.
Next Darragh set the timer, we would be doing open guard drills, kind of like the “pass, sweep, submit” that I’m used to at home, and like the ones I’ve seen at SBG. We divided up into two groups, those holding guard, and those attempting to pass. I felt pretty confident with my guard overall, that is until Darragh got ahold of me and pretty much passed me at will. The whole time I kept trying to find his weakness, but I could not figure his game out. The reverse was true for attempting to pass him, I didn’t have a lot of luck against him.
Unfortunately I can’t recall the rest of the details thereafter, but I do recall the training being great. It’s my fault for not starting this post until a couple of days after attending the training with the ECBJJ guys and traveling directly after training. Yesterday I was a bit under the weather with my stomach and sinuses acting up on me, and I ended up laying about most of the day.
I will say the guys at ECBJJ are great and Darragh is a beast on the mat. I believe he’s going to be in Rome competing when I am, and I can’t wait to see him run through his division.
If you’re from Dublin, or just passing through, I’d encourage you to check these folks out. You won’t be disappointed.