April 10, 2012

Augusto "Tanquinho" Mendes Seminar Review

This past Friday 1914 Kimono's hosted their first open seminar in Seaside, Oregon with Augusto "Tanquinho" Mendes and it was a huge hit!  Attended by over 35 students representing at least half a dozen different academies, participants were treated to over 3 hours of instruction from world class grappler Tanquinho who shared the intricate details of his open guard game.  This seminar also represented the expansion of Seaside BJJ which just doubled their school size with a beautiful new addition to the academy, and the Tanquinho seminar was where we broke in the new mats!

Like many accomplished Brazilian competitors, Tanquinho wanted to share his game and what has been successful for him in competition.  UNLIKE most similar seminars, Tanquinho actually had a progressive plan and strategy for the series of open guard sweeps utilizing your opponents cross lapel, under hooking their leg.  I immediately started integrating concepts learned at the seminar into my rolling yesterday at the academy!  I have been to those seminars with famous grapplers where they just show up and teach random shit off the top of their heads.  To them it makes sense... the rest of us are left in the dark.  Rest assured Tanquinho is NOT that guy!

Though his English is much better then my Portuguese, Mendes admitted he was a bit embarrassed by his language skills, but truth be told his teaching was crystal clear and easy to follow.  The language barrier was not an issue, and keep in mind these were not simple / easy techniques.  Though he requested no video taping (which was rudely ignored by a couple of black belt attendees!), Tanquinho gave us plenty of time to practice the techniques, take notes, and ask questions.

I prefer this type of teaching where we start in one place and progressively troubleshoot as different variables arise with our opponent.  I must admit a bias here as I like to play open guard and this use of the lapel has given me a new perspective on the use of the gi in our great sport.

Towards the close of the seminar Tanquinho offered a few guard passes and a great wristlock (which BTW he says he nails ALL the time!  Respect it!), followed by a short Q&A session.  Tanquinho has a wonderful personality, warm sense of humor, and a thorough understanding of the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  He recently moved to Phoenix, AZ. where he is currently training out of Megaton's academy but will soon be opening his own school representing Soul Fighters (I stand to be corrected, but I think this will be the first Soul Fighters Academy in the USA).

This is the first of many seminars, workshops, and learning opportunities that 1914 Kimono's is going to offer where they are not just another apparel company, but a group of grapplers who actually want to give back to the sport that has given them so much.  Because of 1914, seminar's with world class grapplers like Professor Mendes are only $35!!  That is a bit over $10 an hour to share the mat and train under one of the best.  Lots of new things on the horizon nationwide as well as here in the PAC NW with 1914.  Stay tuned to the Ground Never Misses!

My thanks to Prof. Mendes, the Adamson brothers, Dana at DKB Images for photography, and of course all the crew at 1914 for sponsoring and believing in me!


All photo's courtesy of DKB Images

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