Friday, August 29, 2008

BJJ Tour of SF, part 2...

Today's fun-- a private and a group class with Denny Prokopos, 10th Planet San Francisco. I took a cab to Valencia Street Muscle (and avoided walking through the Tenderloin, which looked fascinatingly seedy to the photojournalist still inside me) and got ready for the lesson. VSM is not a frilly, "fitness club" kind of place. The womens' locker room is spartan but clean, and immediately next to it was a rolling room down two steps from the rest of the facility.

Denny was charming and gracious, asked about my current level of training, and invited me to roll with him right away. After making a few suggestions within the first minute, I mentioned my friend Tom's suggestion that I work rubber guard since I'm small and flexible... so we skipped straight ahead to rubber guard. Denny walked me through zombie, New York, kung fu, chill dog, jiu claw, omoplata, something-or-other crock, and a handful of other positions I've forgotten the names of, and finished up with some twister side control. Fortunately, he permitted me to videotape the lesson and even better, my BJJ buddy Michael acted as cameraman. (Later Michael told me Denny gave me about 3 months' worth of material!) I enjoyed his teaching style, careful explanations, and insistence on repetitions and solo drills.

Then for the group class-- also no gi of course-- we did some cardio warmups, stretching, rolls, and shrimping drills. We partnered up and worked on half guard to whipup to two sweeps; then we worked on a double leg takedown. Afterwards we did focused sparring on takedowns, and then we did free rolling. I really enjoyed the vibe of the students, Denny's jovial teasing and nicknames, and the welcoming attitude everyone had for this newbie girl. Denny managed to keep an eye on everyone throughout the class and was shouting instructions and encouragement for me. I had a great time and was bummed when 9pm rolled around. Not bad for $80 (the private; the group class was free.)

My friend Michael drove me to the hotel and is picking me up tomorrow at 8:30 to head to Eduardo's for a private at 9am. Looks like I might go out with some of Denny's students tonight-- there were a surprising number of law students and lawyers in the class and I'd like to see SF through the eyes of some "locals" (even though one is from Baltimore and not sure the others are really locals either, but at least they live here.)

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