Fast forward to October 1997 that we first got to train with real Brazilians and they were real Gracies too! They were Carley and Carlion, 2 of the 21 children from Carlos Gracie Snr, these 2 guys were really close to the actual source of pure Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. First session was ok but a little fussy and totally was not what I thought it would be.
Late 1997, I got a phone call out of the blue from a guy called Andy Norman, I had never met him before but he got my phone number from the local library as I had a poster there advertising my Taekwondo classes. I had a good long conversation with Andy who seemed like a really cool guy. He had just been training in LA at the Machado Academy and met a guy called Chris Haueter who was now coming to UK to do a seminar. I had never heard of a ‘Chris Haueter’ before and as this was pre-general internet days I couldn’t just google him
Side note – Haueter would mainly be doing seminars at Jeet Kune Do schools as he was a certified JKD instructor from Dan Inosanto himself and a lot of the JKD guys had an affinity with the Machados, probably as Dan had started training there himself.
We went to the first seminar with Chris and boom, totally blown away, the guy was awesome. His Jiu Jitsu was nothing like the Gracie stuff we had done and so I was hooked. Chris iron-manned everyone that was there no matter how big they were, no matter what style they were or what grade.
I had to be able to do that, I wanted to be able to do iron-man like that all from a guy that I had never heard of up until that point. If someone had asked me about the ‘dirty dozen’ at that point I would have known Charles Bronson and James Coburn but would have struggled to name the rest.
I was always taught that if you sit back and wait for things to happen, they won’t. Not true, I got a phone call out of the blue from someone I never met to train with someone I never heard of that turned out to be life changing. Luck? Fate? Doesn’t matter, the fact it did happen is more important than how it happened!! Then got the opportunity to train with Royce Gracie, the man who inspired us to train; the guy with the brass balls performances in the early UFCs. Couldn’t wait.
Disappointed is not the word, actually it is the word. He was the opposite of Haueter; didn’t like his teaching style, was very stand offish and had zero personality. I told myself he was just having a bad day, jet lagged or something, I would give him another chance one day which I did and same result.
I would just continue to train with our own guys, Andy Norman and train with Chris Haueter when he was in UK. For now Professors Trial and Error would be my main teachers.
1999 brought my first meeting with Marco Ruas, a totally world class fighter who had won UFC 7 with great performances of striking and grappling and is considered one of the first guys to be that well rounded. I had also seen a grainy tape of Marco fighting the Gracies top fighter Pinduka. The fight was scored a draw (ha,ha) earning Marco and Luta Livre a ton of respect. This became my introduction to no gi, proper leg locks and anti-Jiu Jitsu techniques. Marco is still one of my favourite guys that I met in martial arts; he gave us quite a bit of time and did some photos with him for Combat Magazine.
He once showed me a kimura/head scissors combo and I was so stuck all I could move was my eyelids, I tapped but not sure what to, everything below my eye line hurt.
I have always kept in mind his anti-Jiu Jitsu and practiced my leg locks diligently, some would say to the detriment of my guard passing but whatever, it’s all about the journey. Anyway I would rather have 1 arm lock and 1 leg lock than 2 arm locks.
To be continued..........................
 Before Facebook and internet advertising, we had to put up posters to advertise. Posters were like paper things with photos and writing on.
 Remember it was before internet time, instead of reading other people’s opinions about something you would have to try something yourself or meet someone yourself and make up your own mind.
 Iron man is not just Robert Downey Jr but a term used in Jiu JItsu when someone grapples a whole bunch of people one after the other with no rest inbetween.
 Luta Livre was the nemesis of BJJ