Written By Guillaume Huni, BJJ black belt and head instructor of Kimura Academy in Serbia.
I had planned my mini Euro BJJ tour for months. I could only take a week off as I had too many obligations with my family, work etc..The first step of the trip would be a 1 day stopover in Istanbul, Turkey, followed by a 2 day seminar that I would be doing in Aalborg, Denmark and to finish it off, 3 days in Paris, France visiting my sisters and relatives together with training sessions in the best BJJ academies there.
In Paris, my first stop was at the Luta Livre academy of 5x ADCC vet Nicolas Renier.
I have known Nicolas for the past 13 or so years back when I was truing and living in Paris. Nicolas Renier is arguably the most accomplished No Gi Grappler in Europe, having been Fila World Grappling champion, and being the only European to participate in 5 ADCCs. He teaches in Paris, in his club called NRFight Club.
I had trained some Luta Livre in the past at another school in Paris and had also trained with two Luta Livre black belts in Serbia. My BJJ academy in Serbia also has 50% of training in No Gi so I wouldn’t that much of a fish out water. Or so I thought…..
I got to the academy a bit early and was sitting on the side waiting for the Muay Thai class to finish. NR Fight Team has its own gym, but also offers Muay Thai, and Wrestling.
Nicolas arrived and he treated me with a big hug. He looked in great shape. This was 2 months before ADCC 2015, so he was already in his training camp.
We got changed in our rash guards and shorts and training started. There were about 20 of us. For the salute everybody had to wear their Luta Livre belts and they took them off afterwards. I’m a BJJ black belt but a white belt in Luta Livre so of course I stayed at the end of the line.
We had a regular warm up consisting of light jogging and calisthenics (it was the middle of summer and was very hot) and then we went straight to the techniques portion. Nicolas showed us 3 variations of guard passes that went straight to a choke. One was to a guillotine, the other to a Darce, and the third was to a modified Darce that I had never seen before. Nicolas corrected one detail in how I set up that Darce and it has changed my whole Darce game!
Here is what Niolas Renier has to say about Luta Livre and how it differs from No Gi Jiu-Jitsu:
Luta Livre is a combat sport in its own right, it has a history, its own techniques, an international federation with grades … It can be practiced in kimono pants or shorts with a rash guard. I find Luta Livre really effective, it goes straight to the goal which is to submit, we are not trying to adopt the set format from BJJ which is pass the guard, stabilize cross position, take the mount … We always try to surprise the opponent by going where he does not expect.
This search for the submission is what I noticed was different from BJJ. Like I said, I had trained Luta Livre before in different schools, and for me those schools followed more the BJJ model of position before submission. Nicolas’ school was the opposite. It was all about hunting the submission. Nicolas is a student of the famous Alexandre Pequeno, who has a lethal guillotine and Katagatame (arm triangle).
My friends had told me to watch out for Guilotines. I tried my best but these guys were catching me in flying guillotines as they were in top half guard! Yes flying Guillotines! You would think that top half guard is not the best place to set up a guillotine, but they would place their bodies perfectly and transition to the mount.
Then I rolled with Nicolas. I’m 1m85 and 85 kilos and Nicolas was at least 20 kilos lighter but his timing and speed were laser sharp. He sets up the Guillotine and Darce perfectly. He kicked my butt.
At the end of the training I was tired as hell, and we hanged out and talked for a good hour about Luta Livre, Jiu-Jitsu, MMA etc…The atmosphere in the academy is excellent. No ego, just hard work and a collective will to improve.
Nicolas has big plans for Luta Livre in Europe. He travels all over to give seminars and I truly believe that he will be a leader of Luta Livre.
I 100% recommend this academy as a great place for any grappler!