April 13, 2009

Luis "Limao" Heredia Seminar Review

My good friend Mike and I traveled south to Camas, WA. to train with visiting Professor Luis Heredia from Maui Jiu Jitsu this weekend. Luis is a 5th degree BB under Rickson Gracie, and is one of the nicest martial artist's I have honestly met! The techniques and strategies he presented were great (more on those in a second), but it was Prof. Heredia's attitude and training approach that really resonated with me.

Luis started out the seminar with an overdue promotion of host Mel Locke to brown belt. Their personal history goes back well over 10 years, and it seems that relationship has been rekindled so to speak. A few other promotions were awarded for students within the school / Sauer organization.

Luis went on to explain some of his approach to the arts and what BJJ is to him, stating that he practices BJJ in every aspect of his life and he encouraged us (the majority of attendees were white belts, with about 8 blue belts, and perhaps 5 purples in attendance) to look for opportunities to apply what we learn on the mat to our personal lives in an effort to be not only better martial artists, but better human beings. Regaling us with stories of his students such as one gentlemen who was blind, yet persevered through his black belt. Luis still gets emotional talking about this student of his and left us with these popular, but very true, words: "A black belt is nothing more than a white belt who never gave up."

I am a principle based teacher and learner. I gravitate towards like minded individuals in my martial studies (ie. Tim & Brian), and Luis was no different. He spoke of three basic principles which were to remain the theme throughout our training; head control / hip control / gravity. We were led through several take downs (I should say several variations of a single take down). Several open guard passes, followed by several open guard pass defense's (defence's for the Canucks reading;). Luis threw in a smattering of submissions, but really the focus was on control and position in all areas and transitions.

Luis kept a good pace not killing us, nor overwhelming us with tons and tons of techniques. He spent a good amount of time explaining why & how the techniques worked in lieu of giving us so many things that we could not remember. Regardless of the position Luis brought us back to the principles of using gravity to our advantage (especially for him as he is a small man at only 150#'s!), and controlling the hips or head in each movement.

A humble man, Luis offered tips on certain situations and scenarios that he learned the hard way via losing in competition. He mentioned that when one competes, that the lessons of that day are hard wired into our psyche and that is one reason why competition is so important in his opinion.

Overall it was a great seminar and experience to train with a man who has dedicated the last 32 years of his life to the art of BJJ. I cannot recommend training with Luis Heredia enough whether he is in your town (Luis mentioned he will be doing many, many seminars in the near future), or if you visit Maui.

My only two complaints were he allowed no video recording, and he did not roll with folks after the seminar. But those are personal preferences that I respect.


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