Tuesday, March 1, 2011

American Top Team

It's a new quarter, so that must mean that I have joined a new gym! I went looking for classes I could make and still hold on to the scared dinner time that I MUST have with the wife. If I don't get my wife time I start to go nuts. Anyway, I found that American Top Team had a 7am BJJ class, and a 9am Muay Thai class. I have been working from home about two or three days a week, so I thought that I could swing the 7am BJJ classes then head to the office, and on the days that I worked from home, I could work for a while, then hit the Muay Thai class later on in the morning. I went to their web site to check them out.

The head BJJ instructor is Giulliano Gallupi. He is a black belt out of Nova UniĆ£o in Brazil, like many of the ATT guys. He has many championships, but does not have the background of world champion and over all BJJ bad ass Lovato Jr. However, he is a much better BJJ guy than me, and a legit black belt out of a very solid Brazilian school. That is good enough for me, as I only saw Lovato Jr. once in the year I was at his school.

The MT instructor is Eduardo Maiorino. Eduardo has fought at the highest levels in MT for western fighters. He has been in the big K-1 tournaments, fought the big names and did alright... He did get knocked silly by Duke Rufus in 2003. He never seemed to get out of the regional events, seeming to always loose before getting to the big GP in Japan. However, he is a super duper legit MT guy.

I went to a free trial class for MT and went through a class with Edwardo. He was fun to work with, gave great combos, and worked me in to the ground. Not hard with my cardio the way it is. He seemed very excited to work in the US with us, and continually shouted out the traditional Brazilian encouragement phrases of "Let's go guys!!" and "Work hard my babies." Apparently that is a Brazilian thing. They all do it.

I came back to the gym to try out the BJJ morning class and found that the attendance was very low... It was another blue belt Giulliano and me. Essentially it was a private class.
After a tough warm up, reminded me of the good old days at Doc Stiner's doing updowns until I threw up, we went through passing the guard. Lots of really really good stuff. I have never had a one on one lesson with a black belt, and it was really nice to learn where I was making a lot of mistakes. The bad part was that my cardo is so bad that when it came time to spar, I had very little in the tank to represent my former schools. I got owned, and owned badly.
All in all, very positive experience.

I came back the next day at 9am to do Edwardo's class. Again I found that only a couple of students were there, so I got to train with Edwardo basically by myself. He said my kicks were not fast, and that my left leg was weak. Good to know... Again my cardio let me down and I completely gassed out during pad work with him. He was tossing out excellent combos making me think and work hard, I just couldn't keep up with the pace.

After class, to my surprise, Giulliano remembered my name, and asked if I would be in class tomorrow. I assured him I would, and left the gym happy that this place was making an attempt at building a fighter family. Positive experiences all around.

I know for sure that this place won't be asking me to teach. That is a very good thing, because I just want to train. I also know that this place won't be holding back the tough exercise. When I was working out both instructors seemed frustrated at my lack of cardio, and by the work outs they put me through, my guess is they have a base level of fitness that they want their students at. Because there are so few people in the class, it is hard to hide from the hard work, so that is a very good thing for my gas tank.

One extreme draw back is the cost. It is stupidly expensive. STUPIDLY expensive. I am used to training for under $100 a month, and this place puts the price tag up near $170 a month. Freaking ouch. I could get the price under $100, but that is only with a year contract, and I just didn't want to do that, because I have no idea what my schedule will look like in a year. It could be that I can only do this kind of training for another couple of months... So, I bit the bullet and signed up for three months at $170 a month. Ouch. But I know that my schedule will be stable for that amount of time. The wife's rotations will be predictable for that amount of time, and I know I will be on the same contract for at least three more months.

It feels good to be training again!

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