In 2015, I went over to Melbourne on a couple of occasions and had the joy of catching up with my old friend Ashley Taylor. I have known Ash for quite a while now, we did karate together and he was one of the first people to show me any form of vale tudo/ground game techniques! Like I stated in one of my first blogs, I did not see the jiu jitsu light back then but now, we are rolling around on the tatami’s whenever we get a chance.
The first time I went over was in January, I was over for a concert and to visit a good friend with my wife, plus it was Superbowl Weekend! I actually have friends outside of BJJ believe it or not so my friend Bez was heading to watch the Superbowl just near Barkley Street where the Peter DeBeen HQ academy is based. Perfect, we both kicked goals!
Quick background on the gym, the head coach is Peter DeBeen who is a 5th degree black belt, no easy feat to be had by anyone and especially as he is living in Australia! From what I could find in his bio on the gym’s homepage (debeenjiujitsu.com/history/) and Bjjee.com, Pete is recognised as the first non Brazilians outside of Brazil to get graded to black belt directly by the Gracie family (Carlos Gracie Jr)! He was promoted not long after the original dirty dozen and this is an amazing achievement! His teachings and skills are very well renowned throughout the world and Ash had told me how good it was and I NEEDED to experience this for myself.
I had been to Melbourne for the Pan Pacific champs BJJ competition in 2012 (another post for another day!!) and had met Pete there and found him to be a top quality dude and that is how I measure how “cool” people are. I mean he runs one of the biggest schools in Oz, Koral Australia and he runs the Pan Pacs tournament and I was working as one of the officials there, doing scoring on the mats (best view in the house) and he came over and sat with me just yarning about NZ in general, life and whatever. Down to earth and very easy to get along with. Top bloke.
Anyways, back to my story, you can read about the Pan Pacs another day when I post that! I went along to meet Ash, I left my mate Bez at a bar so he could watch the NFL and my wife and I walked in to the gym. Wow. It was recently upgraded and it was amazing. I had been once before and it was a cool gym then and now it was all brand new Zebra mats, full showered changing rooms, reception, store, the works! Awesome set up and Ash was there waiting for me. We got into it straight away, Pete took the class and it was uber hot, like I was sweating bullets. I was there doing a sober trip so I wasn’t hungover or anything and I am really glad, that would have probably topped me off! I am not sure why or how but I am blessed with a gift of being able to recall almost every lesson I have taken in BJJ, regardless of the time, date, location etc. I may not remember every specific detail but I can almost bring up everything i have been taught and what I cant remember, I have written most of my lessons down so I can review! It is a gift but oddly enough it is only in BJJ this applies. I cannot remember what my wife told me 2 seconds ago but I am writing this post now off the top of my head and can literally picture the whole class and details! We warmed up with specific positional sparring (guard passing) before the technique was covered. Now this was different to any other training I had done as we only covered one technique, it was closed guard and an arm bar from a lapel grip which got their arm isolated between our legs and the lapel grip and using the hip clamp pressure, the same side foot would go on the hip and bringing the knees together, it put a lot of pressure on the elbow. It was class. I use it to this day and it either brings a sub or creates good angles to move to a sweep, use the loop choke and so many other transitions. How cool is jiu jitsu!!!!
I rolled so many people that day after the class, Chris Burns was there (Bones who draws all the Tatami images) and Ash and Bones are good mates, they were both brown belts at the time who both are now black belts and holy moly, I have never rolled a person like Bones. He was so relaxed, it was honestly like we had already rolled and gone back in time so he could do it again but knew everything I was going to do well before I did! Amazing technical knowledge and no energy, it was the jits I needed to learn! He showed me some good half guard stuff after he wiped the floor with me and after about 2 hours or so of training, I was super drained of sweat and energy!
I could actually write another huge and hilarious piece about how I found Berry after the Superbowl and the state he was in but cannot due to various legal reasons lol!
It was such a cool experience, I have been back since and trained with Ash and the Peter DeBeen team and highly recommend that everyone goes there to train. The team has such a high calibre of talent, they win so many competitions but they were all awesome to train with, no egos and the class was great. Learnt a lot from that 1 technique and Pete rolls around with everyone, I missed out but I am going to return to get a roll with him!
Long story short, check out the gym, look up videos on the team and really, you need to head over to Melbourne and train there. The BJJ scene in Melbourne is awesome and this gym was the most awesome-est!
Big Oss to my friend, Ash “Head Dragon” Taylor.
“I wasn’t a good student, even now I never say that I am better than anybody. But I know I love jiu jitsu more than anybody. I love the energy and that it gets deeper the more you study.” – Marcelo Garcia