We approached Darren about sponsorship a while ago, due to his awesome jiu jitsu and all the cool adventures he has been on fighting in Japan and around the world. Soon after that, he got snapped up by the UFC… score!
So here he is preparing to fight Yamamoto Kid at UFC on Fox. Three video diaries. Lots of Scramble on display. In the latest he’s wearing the shirt we made for him in collaboration with Gawakoto, which goes on sale in the next 24 hours.
I was contacted the other day by Mr. Hywel Teague, currently living the life or Riley and awesomeness in Rio, letting me know that he had gold dust in video form – an interview with the legendary Rickson Gracie.
That’s a little like a fan of Transformers getting an interview with ACTUAL Optimus Prime.
Without further ado, here it is… Listen, watch, digest, rewind, watch some more, and cry into your pillow when realising you’ll never be as awesome as this guy.
In my opinion, nobody is doing more to raise the profile and iamge of UK grappling than Ground Control.
They clearly invest a lot of time and money (and a great editing team!) in elevating the sport above just two guys grappling.
I really identify this and it harks back to my love of Pride FC, and the hype videos they made…
I can’t understate how important this kind of thing is. To bring some drama, some human interest, some excitement to the fights. This is what grows our sport. Because if two grapplers have an amazing fight but only a small crowd watches, who does that benefit? We want the sport to grow in the UK. We need audiences, we need sponsors, we need crowds of chanting fans.
These videos are a step in that direction.
BONUS SCRAMBLE POINTS! Spot the Be Water Rashy (hint: 8:20!)
When you take something that is, in its essence, very simple (like a sweep or a guard pass) and you practice it for 20 to 30 years, as de la Riva and other great masters have done, you find new ways of doing things that seem like magic to the onlooker. It is similar to chi sau, an exercise from wing chun kung fu. It’s just the rolling of arms and looking for gaps. Two people can do it and appear the same, but if one has been doing it for 30 years, he’s going to have some amazing insight.
It’s kind of hard to explain what I mean. I think what I am trying to say is that there is no substitute for experience. DLR has been on the mat for many many years, and as a result he can show you ways to do things that you just haven’t thought of, or even thought of thinking about. And once he has shown you, they seem so simple!
Technicalities aside, the other thing that struck me about the seminar was how affable de la Riva was. A small, unassuming man with a big smile (and big feet), he had time to say hello to everyone and seemed very excited to be there. His English was very good but he decided to use an interpreter to teach techniques – a fine idea in my eyes and allowed him to impart all the details without any confusions in communication.
We also had Nick Brooks, David Onuma,and a training partner of DLR, “Vanusa” (himself a 4th degree black belt) on the mats, bringing the grand total to 4 black belts… More than I have ever trained with I think! I was pleased that David, who I am affiliated to and train under, came over and gave me a lot of attention while I worked techniques with Seymour, clearly doing some quality control and making sure I was getting the moves down.
I gave DLR one of our rash guards as a gift, and spoke to him for a while about Japan. He is very popular over there and the DLR guard is a staple part of most Japanese BJJers game. Sadly we didn’t get to roll but I got a few minutes in with Nick, who reminded me about some basics (same as last time I think!), and rolled with Seymour and Dan Strauss.
I can safely say this ranks up as probably the best seminar I’ve ever been to – the sunny day vibe, amazing techniques and great training partners, as well as being able to say I trained with the man who gave the Nogeuira brothers their black belts… Now to get these techniques to work in class.
There was much horseplay, too, with the new Scramble spats… (Yes, this is Dan gogoplata’ing DLR)
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