Note: This post was written when I visited Crete, Greece in September 2021.
As I mentioned in my previous Open Mat Sunday email, I’m visiting Heraklion in Crete, Greece.
While I’m here, I’m training at Morto BJJ. It’s an excellent BJJ gym with a great coach & person called Manolis. The gym itself is literally in the basement of a building. It reminds you of the Minotaur’s labyrinth from a Greek/Cretan mythology.
If you ever visit Heraklion, make sure to visit Morto BJJ. Manolis is very welcoming, and so are his students. Morto BJJ shows an excellent example of an enthusiastic & strategic coach guiding and leading his students into success. It seems like every student who has spent more than a reasonable amount of time with him is much more skilled than their typical counterparts in other gyms.
I enjoy rolling with them a lot, partly because they are skilled and partly because I needed to roll with different people.
If you belong to a gym with a large number of students, you can get a variety of training partners, but if that’s not the case, you tend to roll with the same few people over and over. While that can still help you get better, the styles you deal with daily can be limited. That’s precisely the case in my normal environment.
At Morto BJJ, those who like to do gi seem to use the lapel guard stuff a lot. No one does that back in the gym I train at in Serbia. And there’s also a brown belt who does some good deep half guard stuff. Again, none of my training partners back in Serbia do the deep half guard.
It’s always great to work with people who do things a bit differently than what you are used to. Because that’s usually what happens when you compete against people you’ve never grappled against.
You don’t have to travel to another country to do this. You could find an open mat session nearby and roll with new people. Or, when you have a visitor to your gym, you can make sure to roll with them.
Get used to all sorts of styles in training so you will be prepared for competitions.
And, after all, it’s fun to encounter new BJJ problems through new people.