November 4, 2012

The Five Brothers Camp: One Family, One Fight, Much Love

I have been thinking how to encapsulate the 5 Brothers camp since we touched back down in Seatown on Monday, and quite honestly I am still without words to properly convey the feeling I came away with.  Spending 15+ hours on the mat with Carlos, Roger, Rigan, Jean Jacques, and John in and of itself was mind blowing, add on the extra time spent eating and hanging out with not only the brothers, but also all of our extended family throughout RCJ Machado, and how can you not come away feeling such an amazing sense of brotherhood, camaraderie, and passion!  A passion to share and teach the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Pac NW Crew

In contrast to the 2008 camp (last one I personally attended) this years five brothers camp was not only bigger (from what we have been able to ascertain this was most likely the largest BJJ camp ever coming in at 97 attendees!), but much more organized and ran.  The general theme of the camp technique wise was the Hook Sweep game the Machado's are known for, with each instructor branching off into others areas each seminar.  Practitioners from white to black belt flooded Carlos' main academy in Farmers Branch, TX. with folks coming in from Pennsylvania, South Carolina,  Mexico, British Columbia, Seattle, Ontario, California, and all over Texas.

A get together such as this is hard to put into words.  One of the most alluring aspects of the Machado family is just that, they make you feel like family.  Carlos is constantly walking amongst the practitioners making sure everyone is taken care of.  John and his son Jean were chatting it up with folks as well as filming all sorts of candid shots from the seminars.  Roger makes an honest attempt to remember every one's names, and he just about nails it each seminar!  Jean Jacques' presence is never missed as it seems he is constantly analyzing movement and technique, while Rigan can most likely be found playing with the kids somewhere.
Jean Machado and Brian
No one on the mat has attitude and everyone is extremely friendly and approachable.  Even doing Rigan's "fast drilling" where we are constantly changing partners and doing the prescribed drills  and everyone had great control and presence of mind and body.

Regarding techniques... each brother certainly has his own style and approach to the game, though it is fascinating how much they each feed off of the others.  I snuck a peak of both Roger and Carlos taking extensive notes as Jean Jacques was teaching.  I mean how amazingly humble is it when Rigan Machado pulls over John and Jean (John's purple belt son, who was super nice!) Machado to have Brian show his entangled arm series??  Rigan says "Brian, show them that position you have been working on.  This will be good for Jean's game."
Brian would never brag about that moment, but the pride and honor I saw in his eyes when 8th degree world renown Rigan Machado asked about something Brian has become known for... I cannot describe how proud I was of, and for, my teacher! 

I come from the Chinese martial arts where our grand teachers are often figures lost in lore, much of it exaggerated at best!  But one of the most amazing aspects of the BOOM in popularity of BJJ is that practitioners such as myself are afforded the opportunity to train with history!  I have been on the mat with my teacher Brian daily for the past 7+ years.  I have shared the mat with his teachers David Meyer and John Will on dozens of occasions.  And then I have had the pleasure of training under their coaches, the Machado brothers as well.  Only in an art so relatively "young" in it's development is this feasible. 

My BJJ Familia (L-R): Roger / Jean Jacques / John / Brian Johnson / Me / Carlos / Rigan  
Once again unlike the Chinese martial arts, in BJJ rank is earned (at least for the time being), and once again we were all privy to a very special moment on Sunday the 28th.  As Carlos was closing down the camp handing out a few last promotions to deserving fighters, Jean Jacques all of the sudden got the attention of the camp and started to loosen his red-black belt.  And... well... let this video from John Machado speak much louder volumes then I can:

What a beautiful  moment that most likely none of us will ever be part of again.  I cannot express how breathtaking this ceremony was, and again they chose to share this moment with all the Machado students at the camp, not privately.

Honestly I feel like I am just rambling and not saying much.  Maybe I am just emotional in life right now but the warmth and love I felt from the Machado family is second only to the love I feel from my own flesh and blood.  Our very own crew from the Pac NW was great and I got to know Mike, Brian, Rick, Perry, Rob, Eric, and MIKE a lot better.  So thank you all, especially Rick for putting up with my bad jokes and giant head.  You are a great training partner brother.  And of course much thanks to the brothers for all they have done and the influence they continue to promote in the arts.
 Also a big thanks to Jean over at Neocell, Arm Bar Soap Co., and of course my sponsor 1914 Gi's!!

Megan and Lindsay!
Many do not realize it but the brains behind the Machado brawn that actually runs the show behind the curtains is found with Carlos' lovely wife Lindsay, and Megan Thompson.  BIG props to both of them as I helped a bit behind the scenes and y'all haven't a clue how much work they were doing!  Make sure to shout out a big thanks next time you speak to them.  And please, PLEASE, next year make sure to get on the ball a bit and don't wait until last minute to register!!!!

To arrange a seminar, more info on future camps, or if you would like to purchase a DVD of past camps please click here to be directed to the RCJ webpage.

Machado For Life!

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