So, after the BIG weekend of the World Masters we packed up our stuff and headed south east to Arizona. We planned on visiting the Grand Canyon and staying out that way for a night before Jetting off to New York.
The drive to the south rim of the canyon took us around 4hrs from Las Vegas, through a few interesting little towns. When we finally arrived around midday, it was easy to see why so many people say you can’t miss going to the Grand Canyon, the size of it is unbelievable and the views are amazing! We spend a good few hours walking the rim and checking out all the viewpoints. It’s a little scary how sheer the drops are just off the walkway, it kept Dee and I on edge with Lilly and Kobe who were very keen to get as close as they could!!
We left the Canyon and headed for our AirBnb for the night, it was a little stone cottage out in Dolan Springs. It was just what we needed!! To get out of the cities for a night and reset. In the morning, we headed back towards Vegas and stopped at Hoover Dam. We loved going through the museum and checking out the views, it really is an engineering marvel. Being inside the canyon and all that concrete made for some pretty hot temperatures at the Dam. We then made our way back to Vegas for the night before catching our flight in the morning over to New York.
Once we arrived we headed off to our Airbnb for the stay, we had spoken to a few people from New York prior to our stay and were recommended to stay in Brooklyn around access to the “L” train. We were lucky enough to get a place 2 blocks from Lorimer St station in Williamsburg. This made for very easy access to Manhattan. The subway system in New York is great and a experience in itself with people from all walks of life bunched together.
We had planned to train at a few places during our stay by we hadn’t taken into account the Labor Day weekend. Unfortunately, a lot of the academies had different schedules and were not training as usual. Our first day in New York we crammed in as many of the sights as we could, with trips to the Empire State Building, Times Square and a cruise around the Statue of Liberty and city. We finished of the day with a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge which is something I recommend if you ever visit New York!
Day 2 in New York we woke very early and headed for Renzo Gracie’s academy for the 7:30am NoGi class with John Danaher. John is arguably one of the best grappling coaches in the world at the moment with the “Danaher Death Squad” dominating a lot of competitions. It was great to get on the mats and experience his teaching style first hand…. and yes, he talks and teaches the same way he writes on social media. The talent in the room for his class was also astounding with Gary Tonon and Jake Shields both attending.
After a class of the finer points of back taking we headed showered and headed off to the American Museum of Natural History. Lilly and Kobe loved it and learnt a lot about American history and culture. We also took a wander through Central Park where both Lilly and Kobe got to run around and look at the squirrels and “water rats” as Kobe called them…. these were actual just normal big arse New York RATS!! Hahaha.
We headed back to Renzo’s where Lilly and Kobe took the kids class ran by Harley Flanagan and Rayron Gracie. The Kids had a great time as usual and proceeded to hang out with Rayron for the duration of our class with Neiman Gracie.
Saturday, we went to check out the 9/11 memorial and museum. This is a must see if you head to New York, what they have done with this area is a great tribute to the many lives lost and effected by this tragedy. We then took the train back up to Central park to check out the Central Park Zoo, the zoo is quite small and only has a few displays but well worth the small admission price.
Sunday, we headed to Marcelo Garcia’s Academy where we completed both the basic and advanced classes. The mat was packed with people, a lot of whom where also visitors from other parts of the world. Unfortunately, Marcelo wasn’t there but we still had a great time at his Academy and got in a few tough rounds. We then headed to 6th ave where the city was celebrating Brazilian Day. The streets where shut down and filled with food, stalls and a live band. We also headed to the to the “Top of the Rock” and checked out the view over the city and Central Park. We headed home and packed our gear that night to get ready to leave in the morning.
Monday morning, we left our accommodation to pick up our hire car at JFK airport. We packed all our gear in our car and headed back to Williamsburg, we had an opportunity to train with John Danaher again and we were going to take it! We left our car parked in Brooklyn and caught the subway back into Renzo’s for one last session. The class was themed around the Kimura which is something I have been working on at the moment so I was very excited to see his take on it. While Dee and I were drilling the technique, somehow, we managed to hurt her shoulder/collar bone area. To be on the safe side we sat out and watched the rest of the instructional, picking up some good points along the way.
After the instructional the competition rounds/Rolling began and I jumped back in. It was great as there were a few guys my size there who grabbed me for rounds, one of which was Nicky Ryan. I had some great rounds and everyone was very technical and slick. Again the mat was graced by the likes of Gary Tonon and Gordon Ryan who were both putting in the work prepping for ADCC in a few weeks. After we showered we headed off back to our car in Brooklyn and were very pleased to see our car still there and all our belongings still inside hahaha.
New York had been another awesome experience and although I didn’t get to visit JT Torres’s Academy as I had originally planned due to the Labor Day weekend we still left feeling as though we hadn’t missed a thing! From here we head south to New Jersey to hopefully visit Tom Deblass at Ocean Count Jiu-Jitsu