I’m about to visit my first gym in Asia!
“There are a lot of people Monday nights and the changing rooms can be busy”, Robert tells me an hour before we head over. “Instead of waiting for the changing rooms I normally just get changed here and walk over, it’s only 5 minutes away.”
“Ok, sounds good” I reply, although I don’t think I’ve every walked through part of a city wearing a BJJ gi before :-)
We’re heading over to the local gym, KMA fitness and Martial Arts which was Robert’s regular training ground and had been recommended during my stay as part of my Matsurfing trip in Makati. For this stay, I’ve decided to sign myself up for a membership and get some regular training in opposed to the one-off drop in sessions that I’d been used to for the trip up to this point.
As Robert guessed, the gym is packed. Between 30-40 guys crowded around Steve Kamphuisa, 3rd degree black belt who is running the class tonight.
Me and Robert partner up and go through the lesson for the day. Some half guard sweep combinations from bottom. We finish up the technique and resistance drills and I notice I’m already drenched in sweat….everyone in the gym is! And we haven’t even done any real work yet! Welcome to training in heat and humidity Craig! :-)
We start pairing up to roll! My first partner comes over, a local from Makati. We Say hi and slap hands.
“It’s too hot to roll today man!”, he says with a laugh.
‘If it’s too hot for the locals….I may just die here!’ I think
We finish up the class after a few rounds, say our goodbyes and head back in our, now far heavier and wetter, Gis. The majority of the locals just walk by us without batting an eye lid, although I did hear a few giggle from couple of passing girls (who I managed to snap from behind me with the go-pro I took to the gym).
For the rest of the week me and Robert drop in a few times, and I also had a session or two when Robert was working or in the afternoons. The classes were always busy and, as it turns out, I wasn’t the only guest training for the week.
By chance, I had arrived the week leading up to the Pan-Asian BJJ championships which was being held in Manila. And there are drop-in’s from several different schools and countries. On some occasions, the visiting coach would take the class for the evening. It was a really great experience training with a group of different people from all over. A real BJJ melting pot! Although at times it was confusing as everyone just assumed I was either from one of the visiting clubs or from the club itself :-)
Robert setting something up
Another afternoon, I headed over for an afternoon no-gi class which was being run by Mike . As everyone was resting up for the weekend competition it was like a private class :-) Mike, was also a great coach…..showing us a bunch of side control escapes he had put into the category of ‘Sneaky Jiu Jitsu’.
Overall, a great week and a really nice chance to get some consistent training in. Thanks to Robert, all the guys at the KMA gym, and all the drop in teachers and students I met along the way :-)