Manchester. United, City, football, bees, music, culture, history and people. You name it, this city had it. It was an amazing place to visit and so much to see and do……not to mention a lot of different things to eat! My family and I just did a trip over for the weekend to catch in the sights, sounds and experience the atmosphere the city of Manchester has to offer….and of course the super cheap flights on Ryanair didn’t hurt!
Since this is a jitsu blog, I gots to drop the report on that first!
As I always do, once accommodation was sorted, I started looking for places to train nearby. I found the SBG Manchester gym right by the Piccadilly station which was like a 5 minutes walk to our hotel so easy decision to check them out. I made contact and got a reply super quick, I could only roll on a Sunday so they had a class and were very welcoming to me. I have not dropped in to another gym since I was graded to black belt and to be fair, I think I was as nervous as I was when I first started training! I have a lot of faith in my jiu jitsu but I am also just about 40 years old, standing at a towering 176cms and tipping the scales at a huge 73kgs, makes me very realistic that I am not a dominating sized athlete!
Anyways, confidence is all about how we portray ourselves and there is always going to be nerves. If you aren’t experiencing nerves then you aren’t getting out of your comfort zone enough! So, as I was saying, life goes on and I still bowled down to the gym. I was early, rocked in and the crew in the gym got me signed in and I was changed and ready to go!
The coach on the day was Manik, a brown belt who was friendly, introduced himself and let me know the run down of the training and also what other classes were on offer that I could possibly make it to, I was on a family holiday and time was not a luxury so will have to look at coming back for another class! Being a Sunday and the day before a Public Holiday, I wasn’t sure of numbers we would get but there were 8 of us there in the end, mixture of white and blue belts and then Manik and myself. Good mix if you ask me. We started with takedowns. The old Bryan was not a huge fan of takedowns – actually, better wording is “not a huge fan of EXECUTING takedowns” but since I have been studying judo now for the last 18 months or so, I am very confident in standing grappling. Not just pulling guard quickly now! I highly recommend ALL players and gyms push this into their training, makes such a big difference and opens up a whole new level of grappling. We did double leg drills which I love to do but this was on a slightly different setup that I normally look for, I am normally all about the judo and use the wrestling as a backup option from the trips and throws but it’s another feather in the cap.
The drills were well run, we did with resistance and then with a counter and then a counter-counter before we ended up doing randori takedown drills at the end!
The groundwork we ran through was saddle entries from single leg X and then into reverse X to sweep back into the saddle. This was extra cool for me as I haven’t really been through much saddle entries. I left New Zealand when we were just getting into them and since teaching in Ireland, I am yet to move into this as I am not going to teach the leg lock game until they have a good understanding so I only went through some with my head coach in New Zealand in 2017, open mat rolling at other gyms in Ireland and then 2019 I did some drilling with my Head coach Hayden Wilson in Ireland and now here in Manchester! I took away a lot here at SBG Manchester and it’s nice to drill these with live resistance as well so I can see what is happening and working when they defend. Finished up the class with me showing a quick tip to help finish the arm in guillotine and then we went off to complete 30 minutes of sparring rounds.
I had some great rolls with a good range of partners, from tanks to sedans and white belts to blues, the rolling was a great pace and tempo. The crew at SBG pushed me to roll well but nobody was cranking anything on or applying a submission with too much force.
I highly enjoyed myself and definitely suggest contacting them for a roll/class if you are in the city. Manchester itself was a blast! The city is super vibrant, intense demographic with friendly people of all different ethnicity and backgrounds – the Gay Village was highly recommended to us by many people and although we only walked through it during the day, we could hear all the people partying at night and will one day head back here to check it out!
Manchester. I told people it was not what I expected but to be fair, I don’t know what I actually expected, all I know is I loved my short visit here and so did my whole family. Will be back!
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