This week, our gym brought in Buchecha (a 3x world champ) to do a seminar. I had some extra money and so I figured why not show up to all 3 sessions. I don’t do a lot of seminars. This is for a few reasons. First, as with everything else, it’s a commitment of time and money. This seminar was $150 for 6 hours of instruction. So when I signed up I committed to that time and money. Second, I like learning the basics and getting better at that. I want a firm foundation, and I get the impression that a lot of times that’s not taught at seminars because you have freak athletes teaching and they want to make sure you get your money’s worth. And once or twice I’ve gotten the impression the person doesn’t really want to be there teaching, but that they’re getting paid so they’ll do it. (And from reading other people’s accounts online, that isn’t uncommon.)
However, this seminar hasn’t been that way. I showed up about 15 minutes early to the first seminar and Buchecha is rolling with guys, whoever wants to roll with him. A 3x world champion is rolling with white, blue, purple, brown and black belts. Why? Because he likes rolling with people, and he’s having fun.
Second, the techniques he was showing were very practical. He commented numerous times that he likes to work on the fundamentals. And he showed techniques that helped him win the world championship, and they were pretty basic.
But I think what got me most, though, was his interaction with us. The first session, I was probably about the 12th highest rank (read: in the middle, possibly on the low side.) We had 3 other black belts, a brown a bunch of purples and some other blue belts. He showed the first technique and we all went off to practice it. A couple minutes later I hear “Yeah…that will work. But if you do that, let go of the other hand as well.” I look up and Buchecha is talking to me. He’s walking around the room checking on everyone. I had messed up the move, and he was telling me the way he showed it was best, but if I wanted to do a variation I needed to switch my hands.
Honestly, a lot of what I like about Buchecha and this seminar is I think he’d fit in as an instructor at MAMAs. It didn’t feel like a seminar, it felt like a normal class (a normal class taught by a world champion, but still, a normal class.) He walked around and made sure people were getting the technique. He answered questions. He was available before the session and after the session.
In a lot of ways, he and Robert Drysdale had similar seminars. For that reason, I got a picture with him before the second session. I believe, apart from my own coaches, this is the first picture I’ve ever taken with anyone in the BJJ community. But he is a great coach and if you ever get the chance to go to a seminar, make sure you do it.