Its been a couple of years since my good lady and I trained in the USA what with one thing and another so to say we were excited about going to train at Chris Haueter's new school in San Pedro was an understatement. Especially for the open mat whic has loads of people turn up to train.
Friday morning was no exception, over 20 guys mainly black belts, browns and purples turn up at 10:00am for the open mat. Yes, 10:00 on a Friday morning attracts over 20 quality guys. I have seen less than that at seminars, doesn't anyone have to work!!
Knowing it was going to be a tough session we had to be in shape so took some time to go to Venice "Muscle" Beach to get in some good training. Seeing a HUGE ripped guy that couldn't lift any of the big weights deterred me from the weights area and onto the gymnastics section instead. I was never that good at chemistry anyway.
Now we were pumped it was time for the open mat. It was already over 90 degrees F by 10:00am which is pleasant to sit in but horrendous to train in especially for Helen being a Scot, a few generations ago they were running around barefoot in the Highlands.
I had tried to warn her of the oppressive heat after my trip to Johannesburg when they opened the gym windows and it actually got warmer, at least San Pedro is a little, and I mean little, bit cooler than Jozi.
The level of the guys there was awesome, yet everyone still had time for everyone else, a true laboratory for learning, everyone bringing something different to the table. Guess I'm just not used to training with a room full of black and brown belts.
Helen was especially impressed that all the people there actually rolled with her instead of trying to overpower and outstrength her just to tap out a black belt, that they understood the concept of TRAINING. What victory is there in a 200lb guy outstrengthing a 110lb woman just to get a submission? Or just ragging something on for the same reason. If you can't do something against someone your own size, don't do it. She doesn't always get that luxury over here.
You know who you are so stop it!!
So 2 1/2 hours and 3 litres of water later, the session ended, we managed to exchange details with new friends who are hoping to make a visit to the UK as well as catching up with old ones. Had not seen Chance Wanlass since 1999 when he visited the UK as a purple belt but he informed me that California tradition dictates that Haueter should buy me a steak as he had just given me my new belt. I decide to find the nearest eating establishment to see if this tradition is true, it's not :0(
Refuelled and rehydrated we jump into the Combat Base-mobile and head out to Redondo Beach again, the scene of some ridiculous cardio training, for some body boarding and general down time. Never was a beautiful place more brutal, Haueter says he does the cardio training for all his tournaments right here, it's amazing what you can do with a slope, a bunch of steps and a lot of sand.
Goes without saying that we had an awesome time training with everyone and can't wait to get back.Might put all training fees up to raise some trip money!