Finally, Friday October 9th had arrived! I had been waiting for this day for so long. Not only was it the start of my birthday weekend, but it was also the day we were going to be driving up to Grimsby for a weekend full of jiu-jitsu seminars given by Ryron Gracie. I (over)packed the car and was ready to go. It was going to be my first time doing a long-distance drive in the UK, and with my SatNav all set up and D as my trusted co-pilot by my side, off we went.

The drive itself was uneventful. Driving at night meant there wasn’t really anything to see, but still, a smooth journey is what we were after and that’s what we got.

We got to our hotel around 9:30 pm. We had just gotten settled in our hotel room when we got a phone call telling us that due to visa issues Ryron’s seminars had to be cancelled but he was here for a few hours so we’d get a chance to learn from him, even if it was for a few hours in the middle of the night!

We quickly got dressed and headed to the club, the exhaustion quickly disappeared as we put on our gis and got on the mats with everyone else – eager to draw out even the smallest of detail from what Ryron had to offer us. We learned. We practiced. We absorbed whatever we could.

There is no doubt that this was not the weekend we had expected, hoped, planned, or paid for. The shock and (initial) disappointment over the circumstances was normal.

However, for me, the true lesson and learning point has come from after that initial reaction — sure, you could complain and continue to be angry/disappointed or you could make the best of the situation and make it work for you. That’s what we learn in jiu-jitsu, right? How to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations? {How to make the best of an unfortunate circumstance – in this case.} You learn to roll with it. That’s definitely what I did.

In the end, it became an experience that I am sure will be talked about for ages – training with Ryron Gracie from 10:30 pm – 1:30 am? Who gets to do that? We did! 🙂

PlumFIght Grimsby Us with Ryron Gracie

Daniel and I with Ryron Gracie


PlumFight Grimsby WGJJ with Ryron Gracie

Members of our Watford Gracie Jiu-Jitsu team with Ryron Gracie

Since Ryron couldn’t be there the next couple of days, Sacha Martin-Luther King from UKGJJ in Bradford led the seminars. I was really impressed at how enthusiastically he conducted the seminars, particularly given that he only had a few hours notice to get to Grimsby and get started.

PlumFight Grimsby seminar

Day 1 of the seminars {can you spot me?} 

PlumFight Grimsby Post seminar

post-seminar smiles

What immediately struck me when I walked into the seminar hall was how many people there were. I guess after training at your own club for several months you kind of forget that there are others out there doing the same thing you are. It was definitely nice to see the larger Gracie Jiu-Jitsu community in the UK and make a few connections. Our training centers are so far apart that meetings don’t often happen – maybe after this past weekend, more of an effort will be made.

An additional surprise for me was seeing two of my fellow ICP graduates at the seminars! We went through the assessment process in Torrance earlier this year. It was quite the treat to see them again!

PlumFight Grimsby with Ferdinand

Ferdinand flew in from China!

PlumFight Grimsby with Manlio

Manlio came in from Italy!

It really was great to see such a national and international community come together to learn and help each other improve their jiu-jitsu.

PlumFight Grimsby with Ryron Gracie Oct 2015

Any time spent with Ryron Gracie is time well spent!