Guest post by Christian Wighus, a blue belt under Eduardo ”Teta” Rios at Frontline Academy in Oslo, Norway.
You can read a training report done about Frontline Academy here, and please come check us out if you’re ever in Oslo.
I decided to go for the full immersion, all out Phuket Top Team experience and booked myself in to an on-site deluxe room, which is nicely located right behind the training facility. The head coach in Phuket Top Team is no other than Olavo Abreu, 5th degree black belt under Carlson Gracie.
At 09:40 am, the alarm clock goes off. I manage to stumble out of bed by 10:25, unpack my gi, mix some electrolytes with water and walk the 50 meters to gym. I meet Olavo as I walk in the door. I introduce myself, and he greets me with a big smile and asks how Teta is doing. We have a little friendly chat and I get ready for the 11:00 class. Quite a few people showed up, considering it is in the off-season. Belt-wise the mat is filled with white and blue belts, with the occasional purple and brown belt.
One thing I noticed rather quickly was the heat. Even though we got two aircons and a few fans blazing the heat quickly crept in and I’m just drenched two minutes into the warm ups. We do the usual running around the mat, jumping jacks and shrimping, all with the encouraging shouting from Olavo. After becoming properly soaked from the warm-ups we proceed to the techniques. Olavo show some elementary butterfly concepts on how to lift the opponent, how to hold on to them and how to angle yourself so you won’t get passed too easily.
What strikes out is that he gives advice that fits all levels. As we start with the simple lift with double under hooks and push back to get the correct distance and grip on the opponent I can hear Olavo adjust one of the brown belts and gives him some pointers. After drilling the basic butterfly sweep a few times, we move into the good stuff. We went through a whole string of different techniques from when you do technical standup from butterfly with under- or overhook. The concept was a little new to me, but all the more fun. We did the little more conservative sitting back to triangle, pulling the opponent forward using the underhook to go straight to attacking the turtle guard. The one I liked the most was the one where you put your knee on the opponent’s chest and drive through them for a pretty decent knee slide. It fit right into my game. You kinda feel like a kid on Christmas getting his new toy once you discover something that you can use just straight of the bat.
How ever, the technical part was over and we went into to rolling. I was matched with a brown belt with the same body type as Keenan Cornelius, nicknamed “Iceman” for good measures. Oh the joy… After getting choked by a pretty damn tight bow and arrow choke lightning strikes. Iceman gets colossal side control pressure right at a rib I had bruised a few weeks earlier at home. Such a small and useless thing, but just devastating when you are moving around on your back. I’m not just sitting here bitching about an irritating injury, but this actually became quite the blessing as I now had to focus on being on my side and get my arm position in the right place. Funny how things turn out good if you just look for the light at the end of the tunnel. The rest of the matches I went again some fellow blue belt and white belts. There were many back and forth scrambles, which is exactly what I love about rolling.
Doing two hot hard classes a day for a week will leave you bruised, banged up and tired, but your mind will be so at ease. Especially since I’m accustomed to training 2-3 times a week back home. Nevertheless, I can tell you I really loved the experience. I’m really starting to notice that the BJJ community is just filled with so many open-minded, easy-going people that is just there to welcome you with open arms. What I also want to point out is the Phuket Top Team really gives off a close-knit, family vibe. The staff takes good care of you, especially Noy, the chef in the restaurant out back behind the gym. She is just a blessing.