On October 14th and 15th, A joint collaboration between two titans of the Midwest, Twisted Fitness (Alliance of Madison) and Evolution MMA (Alliance of Chicago), pulled off what was one of the most amazing BJJ seminars ever organized in this area. Over two days the academies hosted some of the BIGGEST names in BJJ history, with over 25 World Championships in the same room. It would be easy to say this was a once in a lifetime event, but this was already the second installment of the Midwest super seminar series, the First hosting Leonardo Nogueria, Lucas Lepri, and Master Jacare back in 2015. The Goal is to continue to try and build and expand the most amazing seminars and learning experiences for our students. In order to be the best, you must learn from the best, train with the best, and adapt their philosophy on how to train and improve.
Saturday October 14th Started of with a Bang! Overseeing the entire event as a team leader, Alliance founder Fabio Gurgel (Known as the General) kicked of the seminar with a little talk about the philosophy of the Alliance Team and what makes our team so unique and successful. While many people simply think we are a “competition” team, we really embrace the BJJ lifestyle more than most who claim, they do. This means spreading our methodology so that EVERYONE can learn BJJ. Fabio then began to talk about “Connections” the way we seamlessly move from one move to another in BJJ. This would be the theme of the whole seminar and something that everyone was able to immediately implement into their BJJ game plans. Fabio then turned the Seminar over to our first instructor, Dimitrius Souza.
Dimitrius Souza is known for being one of the most technical BJJ Practitioners in the Game. His efficient style makes him both a great Competitor and Instructor. “Dimi” as he usually goes by, taught a great series of techniques starting from the De La Riva single leg and really made everyone look differently at applying techniques they are already using. This was an invaluable seminar and really started off the weekend right. It was a great reminder of how efficient BJJ can be and how even the smallest person in the room can be a force to be reckoned with.
Next off in the Seminar series was 9 time world Champion, Bruno Malfacine. Bruno is known as the most dominant Rooster in the sport. His style is absolutely amazing and about as graceful as you can find in the art. Bruno started out with some great guard passing techniques and really emphasized drilling footwork and combinations to see the most benefit out of your training. Bruno used our Very own Black Belt World Champion, Sonya Plavcan, as a Partner for the demonstrations. This made for a very technical display of technique and I think everyone learned a lot of not only concepts, but also connections, and grew their guard passing games.
After Bruno’s Seminar we took some time to do a few belt promotions as well talk a little more about how important the team Environment to our training, learning, and growing. With over 150 Alliance team mates in attendance, the message was received loud and clear. You could see in everyone’s eyes they realized the importance of what was going on at this event. Not only learning BJJ but really strengthening as a team. Everyone left with a head full of new ideas and went to get food, sleep, and recharge for Day Number Two which would start with 5 time world Champion, Lucas Lepri!
Rested up from the previous day, We started our first seminar of the Sunday Session with Lucas Lepri. Lucas is widely considered not only the top lightweight in the world, but also the most technical. While he is known for being one of the best guard passers, he showcases a complete game, being able to fight easily from every position.
Lucas showed some great modern techniques learning how to defend both De La Riva and Inverted De La Riva and how to conquer and defeat the Lapel feeds from these positions as well. The Lapel feeding game is definitely growing in popularity and these were great techniques to shut down some high level guard play. Lucas then showed many transitions of these positions such as how to take the back from these passes and entries. The knowledge passed on to our students was invaluable and will definitely make the guard passing on our team a much higher level. We took a break for lunch, heading over to the local health food store to fill our bellies for our last of 4 Seminars for the weekend. Last up would Be Bernardo Faria, multiple time world champion as well as Open Class Black belt Pans and World Champion, the highest 2 titles a person can achieve in BJJ today.
After lunch we got right to work with Bernardo Faria. In retrospect, we probably should have scheduled Bernardo before Lunch. His pressure oriented guard passing game was definitely a little more uncomfortable with a belly full of food. 🙂 Bernardo has made a name for himself by defeating some of the greatest names in BJJ using his easy and efficient style of BJJ. Known for both his amazing half/deep half guards and his pressure oriented over-under style passes, Bernardo’s game is also extremely easy to understand and apply. He truly proves the theory that you can apply your game to anyone if you work hard enough at it. Bernardo started off by showing some basic entries into his Over-under pass. Once everyone understood the entries, Bernardo showed his different ways of “Cooking” his opponent. This was a big part of the philosophy behind his passing. When you have the opponent under pressure, don’t rush the pass…….Keep them under pressure. The idea being they will almost force you to pass because they are so uncomfortable and wish to relieve the pressure. Bernardo gave many great details and made the techniques very easy to understand. Bernardo decided to also work from the half guard/ Deep half guard position and show everyone some very easy transitions to get back and forth between the two positions if your opponent was shutting one of them down.
We wrapped up the seminar with some refreshments provided to us by OnaBar, Yum Butter, and Fit-Aid Beverage. They were all very delicious and we can’t thank them enough for the support! And last but not least, We saw a few belt promotions. Many students from Twisted fitness were promoted, including 7 new Brown Belts, 3 Purple Belts, a few Blue belts and one brand new Black belt- Andy Acker!! Congrats to everyone who attended the event and received their promotion in front of theses legends of the Alliance Team. We are all truly blessed to be part of such a great organization and team and can’t deny the knowledge we picked up will truly take us all to the next level. Thanks to everyone who attended, all the sponsors who supported us and a VERY special thanks to Storm Kimonos, who donated 5 Kimonos to be auctioned off. These Kimonos were in GI bags that were signed by all 5 World Champions who taught the seminar and were a real big deal to the people that won them. Again, the support of all the sponsors made this event even more special! There will definitely be more events like this in the future, so Keeps your eyes and ears open, because you don’t want to miss out! Osss!!!!!