With all the moving now done, we settled into Galway. I had already made contact with the fantastic team at Point Blank Submissions in Galway city, Christmas was just over and I joined in for some of their open mat sessions with the crew from Strange Wolves MMA and Point Blank and the level here was just as high as it has been in all the gyms I have trained in, I was stoked to find a high level gym here in my new home city!
As I stated before, I do my homework. I had already reached out to the head coach of Point Blank Tim Murphy well before I was in Galway as I had looked online and found it to be a highly respected gym and Tim is an active competitor and a world champion! This is a big tick in the box for me, especially as he is close to my size and will really help push me to get better. I have since rolled with him and found that his skill level is well above what I read and have had some great rolling sessions with him, most ending up with me tapping out multiple times but still great fun and plenty of lessons learnt for me! Tim and Kevin Moran (Strange Wolves) have been great in letting me join in on their sessions but due to a travel restriction of 1 car and me being the stay at home dad, I just couldn’t get to any weekday classes that I wanted to – correction, classes that I NEEDED to attend as my jits addiction is a pretty serious one!
Now, when I started BJJ, I never intended to do it only to get my black belt, to be honest, at the time I wasn’t even sure if I would get that far, I was more interested in training and competing and the competing part was rudely taken away when the old ticker got replaced! Anyway, now, 10 years later, I am sitting on my brown belt, 4 stripes, I had been training nearly every class and I am so close I can see it, sheeiit, I can almost taste it! I am very nervous to level up yes but I also did not want to take off 2 years from training and put myself back a couple of years. I had to find an alternate option that works with my family commitments and so when I return to New Zealand I can hopefully look to the realization that I may be in line for the elusive Faixa Preta!
I reached out to the local towns to see where else I could train. I initially hoped to find a gym that had classes during the day but the day classes I did find were too late in the day for me to get back in time to pick up the kids! Plan C, alternate training. I had always wanted to work more on my standing game and I have trained a lot with the team in Christchurch at Premiere Equip Judo, namely Jason Koster and crew so I thought that would be a good option as they also work newaza (ground fighting) into their training as well and I will still get a chance to work ground game. I found the Athenry Judo gym about 8 minute drive away from my new home and thought I could give it a whirl. I quickly found my judo is more like me waiting to be thrown! I really enjoyed the first class and after talking to the coach Ben Clayden, it was going to be a great fit for me and my situation. Ben is a great coach and the team there are super helpful, I would also say patient as I am quite the beginner! It turned out to be quite a good decision as out of it all, we ended up adding in a Saturday BJJ class to the team schedule with Ben and I and it has been great for me to get another chance to work BJJ, especially so close to my house as a couple of times I have had to bike to the training and race back before the kids finished their pottery class!
I was now able to cross train in judo and slowly (emphasis on this lol) my confidence in the standing game has improved a lot!
We had a lot of help from the BJJ community here in Galway to get the Athenry based Groundworx BJJ Ireland classes going which has been great to see the community working in well together, I still hope to get out to some Point Blank classes if I can get to them! I have managed to attend a grappling Seminar that Tim Murphy held with the judo school and another at Point Blank with 5th degree black belt Rodrigo Medeiros which to this day, is one of the best seminars I have ever been to! He taught closed guard and just small tweaks to the position and attacks that made me feel like I was learning jiu jitsu all over again, it was an amazing opportunity and hopefully there will be more like this! It’s very good when teams work in together like this, it is a small BJJ world out there and the more we help each other, the bigger we grow the community and ultimately the number of people training!
All in all, I have really enjoyed moving to train here in Galway, at first I was a bit worried that I was only going to be getting to roll at open mats but after a bit of groundwork (pun intended) I have made some great friends, I am now learning judo, teaching BJJ and getting to roll on the mats at least 3 days a week and things can only get better right!
Jitsu 1 – Hurdles 0
“Nothing good ever comes from worrying or sitting there feeling sorry for yourself… Keep positive and keep pushing on and things will turn good.” – Conor McGregor