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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Seminars, and Why You Should Go

Question: Name another sport where you can have legitimate access to its top practitioners with relative ease and have it remain not financially stupid?

That was a lot, I know, but let's think about that for just a moment. One of my favorite things about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the accessibility to its top practitioners. If you want to train with Andre Galvao, you can--all you need to do is walk into his gym, Atos, is San Diego and sign the hold harmless agreement and that's that. How about Marcelo Garcia, Renzo Gracie, or Garry Tonon? The same principal applies--as long as they're not out across the country competing or giving a seminar, but you know what I'm saying here. But to that point, the sport's biggest names often travel around the world giving seminars. If you happen to not be able to fly across the country to drop in to a gym to train with a BJJ Hero of yours, chances are that sooner or later they may come close to you.

'What's a seminar," you ask? Well, a BJJ seminar is when a top level practitioner travels to a gym to give lessons and teach techniques for a few hours. Traditionally, you'll pay a fee to attend (that is how these big-name-guys make money) and that fee can be relatively inexpensive and go up depending on how big of a name the person giving the seminar is. I've seen seminars for as low as $20.00 USD and have heard rumors of what Rickson Gracie has charged--but to be fair, I've heard Rickson's fee was worth every single penny.
Photo Credit: Kron Gracie Academy Instagram
So dig if you will a picture: you're a into BJJ and someone (of some significance) from our sport is going to be close enough to you--or maybe even AT your school--to give a seminar. You should go. Why? Well because it's fun. Even they go over techniques that you're familiar with, it's fun to hear it explained to you from another perspective. Everyone has their own take on BJJ (another one of my favorite things about this sport), so it's cool to hear something your familiar with mapped out in detail to you from someone with a new point of view. 

Recently I got to attend a seminar by Kurt Osiander. Kurt got a powerful shout out in the last WBS--so if you haven't checked that out yet, please do--but Kurt is a BJJ Hero and Black Belt under Ralph Gracie in San Francisco. I live in Pittsburgh, PA (on the other side of the country, for those geographically challenged), so my opportunities to train with Kurt are "limited," to put in one way. I've been a fan of his for sometime (again, see previous WBS), so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take his seminar at Edinboro University. Edinboro has a storied wrestling program. Anyone in the grappling world could rattle-off names of the mat savages that went there, so it was truly a cool experience to be able to be in that wrestling room for the seminar.  The Edinboro University BJJ Club , headed up by Dr. Korey Kilburn, hosted and organized the whole thing. (On a related note, if you're near the area, be on the lookout, they/Korey get a lot of great seminars coming through.)

Dr. Korey Kilburn and myself inside the famous EU Wrestling room

So, more to the point: Kurt's seminar was fantastic. He came as advertised, and then some. Being a fan of his Move of the Week YouTube series, I was vaguely familiar with his teaching style, but I was truly impressed by his love of the sport and desire for everyone at the seminar to pick up on what it was he was teaching and come away with more knowledge. Which, is exactly what a seminar should be. 

It was fun to make the two hour drive with my training partners, spend four hours on the mat learning new BJJ from someone so cool, and then get to hang out with them all afterwards. So what does that mean to you as a lower ranking (or maybe higher rank) BJJ practitioner who has never been to a seminar? It means that you should take advantage of seminars when they come around.

A seminar is more than just paying someone for their knowledge, there's a lot more to it than that. It could be a bonding experience between you and your training partners. It's a fun road trip. It's a destination in life--to maybe check off an item on your Bucket List to get to train with someone. It's supporting the community, both financially and otherwise, in a very cool way--and you get to learn some cool shit! How do you learn about seminars? Well start by looking up your favorite BJJ player's websites and social media. Most of them usually post where/when they're going to be somewhere, and how much. Also, get friendly with the other local gyms in your area. They may have people coming through and post about it on their sites. (But the political B.S. aside, we're all family). 

Kurt and myself, telling terrorists where to go

WBS Crew taking in carbs after 4 hours on the mat

WBS Crew Road trippin & Trafficjamin

That should be enough to get you started. But if you do go, or have gone to a seminar, get in touch with us on any/all forms of our social media WBS on Instagram-- come Follow! , WBS on Facebook-- Please come LIKE!, and of course WBS on Twitter--also, please come Follow!

Send us pictures, stories, and whatever else you have about your seminar experiences. We'll RT, Share, and whatever else to get your fun story out there to help inspire others to get out there and do the same. 

Coming soon: An announcement for a new sponsor... it's cool.

This week's WBS brought to you by:

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