BJJ Eastern Europe Training Report: Cercle Tissier, Europe’s oldest BJJ academy

Finishing my tour of French BJJ academies, I couldn’t leave Paris without training in France’s and probably Europe’s first BJJ academy: Le Cercle Tissier. It was here that BJJ started in France and Europe in 1995. At that time, Rickson Gracie did a seminar In Paris and many French judokas and other martial went the Gracie way and became BJJ addicts. One of those European pioneers was my Instructor in Serbia: Jovan Zerjal who then lived in France.

Master Flavio Behring (red belt), a black belt, and Luc Farrando

So anyway, Christian Derval along with other French BJJ players opened the Cercle Tissier BJJ section (It was already a famous Judo and Aikido club) and the rest is history. Fast forward to 2012, they have produced a large number of BJJ black belts which have opened their own schools all around France. They are affiliated under the Master red Belt Flavio Behring.

I had trained a few times in the past at the Cercle Tissier, mostly in the afternoon classes when all the advanced guys trained.This time I went on a Wednesday night. I had made a mistake about the schedule and arrived about 30 minute late to class! The class was being taught by black belt Luc Farrando who is one of the best BJJ players in France and also the main instructor for the French Underground (metro) police security teams. Needless to say Luc knows his stuff. I had sparred with him a few times in the past when I was blue belt and he was always very technical and tough.

Anyways, I arrived on the mat, greeted Luc and did a fast warm up. The class had about 25 students mostly white, blue and purples. The advanced class was during the afternoons. That was were all the top French black belts train. Nevermind, I was still going to get a good workout and learn some new things. Luc Showed some sweeps from reverse De la Riva, and some details that I wasn’t aware of. I’m using those details in my game now.

After drilling the techniques we proceeded to spar. I teamed up with a blue belt first. He was quite aggressive (but in a good way) so I tried to let him get tired first, when the time was right I did my special, sweep, pass, mount, cross choke. Rickson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu baby! We rolled some more and we both tried to use the day’s Reverse DLR. Good roll. Next I went up against a older purple belt who was easily in his mid 40’s. He went right away for away for a kneebar then a toe hold. I wasn’t expecting it as I only do kneebars and toe holds on browns and blacks. So I defended late and tapped out. My ego took over and I put my rolling level up one notch and proceeded to put on all the positions on him for the rest of the fight. Props to him, he defended very well and I wasn’t able to tap him. He rolled very well and I’d be happy if I’m as fit as him in my mid forties!

My blurry picture from my visit

Next up was my roll with Luc, the instructor. He rolled very light and I could see that he was not trying to use strength. We were exchanging positions without really looking for submissions. I learned a lot from my roll with him and he has a great guard game!

The class was over and we took a picture which came out very blurry! The whole class thanked me for the visit and at the end of class a guy approached me saying that he had heard that I was coming from a Serbia. He was a French born Serb and was so happy to speak in Serbian with me. Cercle Tissier was great!