The No Gi and Gi classes of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Bali MMA have a very different feel. Not only because of the humidity (which is equally killer in both but even more so when wearing the pyjamas) but in the groups who show up.
Maybe it just reflects the fact that people have their preference. We’ve always trained both at my gym at home and it was the same people (more or less) for both types of class.
The mat room in Bali MMA is a great size, there’s a mix of regulars and people who are passing through. Bali is a big holiday destination for people from all over the world so this gym has a really different feel to the ones i’m used to. I’m used to seeing new members every month or so, and i’m sure the gym I was just at in Port Elizabeth has a similar rate of new members. You can feel the difference in this gym, no two classes are the same, you never know who you’re going to end up rolling with.
“It’s always an interesting vibe when you’re doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with someone new, you have to mix being aggressive and implementing your game with being cautious because you’ve no idea what their strengths are.”
One of my earlier Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Bali was a Gi class focused on some sneaky moves with the lapels. I’ve always hated getting choked out by my own Gi, it feels like a betrayal (Hey man! who’s wearing who here?). The format of the class is a bit different every time. A mix of technique, some positional training – usually around the techniques we just learnt, and then some rolling at the end. We frequently work some technique, and then work positional training for that technique. It helps you feel what you’ve just learnt in a live environment. In a previous session we worked through a sequence of x-guard sweeps, and then went in to some live training starting from full x-guard. You don’t get lazy with the technique when someone’s working hard to escape. This is great for highlighting how it actually works and then trouble shooting areas where you struggle. If we went straight to rolling you may never get a chance to practice what you’ve just learned (maybe you get stuck in someones side control and can’t get out).
I skipped a few rolls in my first few sessions to avoid ‘British Boy can’t handle the heat dies doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’ being the headline in Bali the next day. I am not proud of this. Rolls are enjoyable though, the amount of turnaround at the gym means there’s usually someone new to roll with at every class. It’s always an interesting vibe when you’re rolling with someone new, you have to mix being aggressive and implementing your game with being cautious because you’ve no idea what their strengths are. What if you jump right in to one of their strongest counters? It’s kind of like when two dogs meet, neither is sure how hard to play at first.
I think the combination of the heat and the ever changing fresh partners means the pace is a lot more chill than i’m used to. There’s definitely strong guys here but the way you have to roll has an impact on how it’s implemented. Hopefully as i’m here for a couple of months I’ll find a few training partners where we can get a feel for each other’s games and then start pushing the pace a bit, this and getting used to the heat should see my conditioning improve.
I’ve learnt a few moves from guys i’ve rolled with, a strong amateur MMA fight from Sweden showed me a sneaker triangle setup, and an Italian brown belt hit a pass on me a few too many times than I would of liked so I had to ask him how to do it. It’s a sweet pass and i’m looking for it all the time now.
I’m in Bali for a while as i’m using at as a ‘home base’ before travelling to other spots. Canggu has everything, you can surf, you can roll, there’s a Crossfit Box next door incase you those don’t make you tired enough. Throw in good food and coffee everywhere you look and you’ve got a place I don’t mind calling home for a bit.