Yesterday I jumped in the car with three of my favourite people in the world. Grant, Paul & Sloany. Whenever we’re together we laugh like there’s no tomorrow, and have an absolutely great time, regardless of how far we’re going.
I met all three of them through Dundee MMA, and each of them have become great friends and training partners. I’d like to think they think the same of me, but I call them all cunts a lot, so you never know.
We hit the road about 8am in the morning to get our arses down to Newcastle for a super-secret training session. Sunday is a day of rest for most, so to be invited down to train with Speedy and his band of merry men, is an opportunity that we didn’t want to pass up. Speedy has been teaching Jiu-Jitsu for a long time now, and has worked through the headache of renting space, and the struggles that go with that. Tired of all that shit, he decided the best way forward would be to teach out of his home. So now he has a nice big shed in his back garden, that’s all matted and actually a really cool space to train in.
It’s something you take for granted, but I think that’s the first time I’ve trained in a room with natural light bellowing in from different angles. It’s a really positive thing to have.
So after three and a half hours on the road, we were invited into Speedy’s humble abode. He’d lined up a few trusted training partners for us four, and we knew we were in good hands. As we’d travelled so far, he opened the class to us, to ask what we’d want to work on. Grant, Paul & Sloany were too polite, and happy to work anything, I of course am not polite. “FOOTLOCKS & LEGLOCKS PLEASE.”
My theory is, if you’re in Gordon Ramsey’s house, you don’t ask for a bowl of cereal. So if I’m in Speedy’s house, I’m sure as shit going to ask for more footlocks and leglocks to add to my game, because he’s an absolute wizard at them.
We worked a series of footlocks, calf slicers and kneebars from deep-half. A great position to work these from. Speedy also threw in some bonus-round lapel chokes for one of the other visitors Lee, from Darlington. These were pretty fucking nasty, but very welcome also.
Once we were done with techniques, it was time to move onto some rolling.
The wealth of talent in this room was not something to be scoffed at. There was one white belt, one blue belt, four purple belts, three brown belts and a black belt. It was pretty much a guarantee that you weren’t going to get an easy roll.
Naturally, I took the most difficult path through that room. It was an opportunity not to missed. My first roll was with Tyrone, as I’d been drilling with him. He mostly just played with me, tapping me here there and everywhere, primarily with footlocks, as if to say, are you sure you were even paying attention? This roll went on for-fucking-ever. Grant set the clock, but it didn’t seem to go off after 6 minutes. In a slight glimmer of offense, I caught Tyrone with my favourite choke. A loop choke. It’s usually so effective, that even if your opponent passes your guard, they’re going to sleep. Luckily Tyrone isn’t a loud snorer so the rest of the class didn’t notice (he’ll kill me for that).
Next up, I rolled with Scuba. I think the last time I had that honour, he was a blue belt. One thing everyone talks about is Scuba’s strength, but he didn’t use a single ounce of strength with me. His technique is so fucking good, it’s a marvel to behold. Again he played with me, but in a non-aggressive fashion. Taking my back at will, out of what felt like nowhere. He even gave me a couple of tips along the way. I had him in what I thought was a nasty achilles, but either A) something was off or B) he’s completely made of granite. Bastard.
My third roll was with Dom. Another brown belt. HOORAY. He’s just so technical. He definitely weighs less than me, but he uses his body so well that you’d never know. There aren’t any gaps with Dom, and he just transitions so well between positions and submissions that I felt like I was drowning.
Fourth roll was with Speedy. I figured after getting mangled by three brown belts, I’d be best to see what the next step is. Jesus fuck. It’s going to sound stupid, but his base and posture are unlike anything else I’ve ever felt. He’s an unflinching statue when you try to move him, and then a moment later he wraps around you like sand, constricting every point on a limb. It was a really eye-opening experience (as it is everytime you roll with him). I attempted an omoplata on one side, unable to move him or adjust it into a straight bar, so went the other side and got the exact same results. He fucked me up in return. Nicely.
At the end of the class, I looked like I was about to die. The heat in that shed is incredible, and the rolling was intense. The space within encourages technical rolls so that you don’t accidentally sit on someone’s face, or launch your opponent into someone else. Next time I go down, I’ll be bringing a lightweight Gi. Which means I get to go shopping for a new lightweight Gi. YAY.
If you’re ever in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. There are a wealth of places to train at, but I can’t see how you’d get a better experience than you do with Dave ‘Speedy’ Elliot and his assistant coaches. For years now I’ve sang their merits, and will continue to do so until one day, if I earn a black belt, I consume all of their power and take over the world.
I’d also like to give a quick thanks to Speedy’s wife Ritu who whilst we were training, made sandwiches for us, served with crisps and then topped off with the most delicious chocolate cake I’ve ever had.
Peaces out bitches. x