Today I was lucky enough to spend 3 hours getting taught by some very high level BJJ players at a seminar at Synergy MMA in Dulles Virginia.
Leading the seminar was Tony Passos and Vicente Jr. both black belts under Ricardo De La Riva, De La Riva being considered one of the most technical Jiu Jitsu players in the games young history. It is he who (obviously) invented what is known as the De la Riva guard, which is an open guard style where one leg is wrapped around the opponents thigh with the foot hooking the leg. Also instructing the seminar was Jake Mackenzie a brown belt under Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu. Jake is Canadian but spends half of his year training in Brazil where he is an instructor and sparring partner for Professional MMA fighters.
It was the one year anniversary of Synergy MMA academy and so the seminar was more like a day long party. Not that the quality of instruction was lacking but because there was food and a general celebratory atmosphere going on with lots of picture taking etc. The seminar itself which was 3 hours long was all business and and two sweeps which I really liked and intend to add to my jiu jitsu game were taught as well a collar choke from the guard.
The last hour of class consisted to “rolling” as free sparring is known in BJJ circles. Despite the mat being crowded due to there being close to 50 students attended the seminar, I had some good rolls where I tried to use the techniques I learned from the seminar only to face the realization that learning moves in BJJ takes some time :).
After the BJJ seminar the Muay Thai class led by Instructor Matt Nielsen, a 14 year veteran of martial arts and regular visitor to Thailand put on a demo for those attending the open house. The demo was informal and showcased the students skills with a 45 minute sparring session.
Ranger wrestling, a youth wrestling program and Tony Quinn a boxing coach from Georgetown University with over 20 years experience also held class demos in which anyone was free to participate. I was worn out from the Muay Thai so I took a break and missed the wrestling class which was mostly teens and kids but did attend the boxing demo. I am very keen on learning pure traditional boxing. I have some experience from Muay Thai but it is not the same or as in depth as you would get from a pure western boxing coach. The instructor Tony Quinn was very knowledgeable and also quite a showman and the hour long class went by very quickly. Half of those attending came from the Muay Thai class, and I tihnk every one of them really enjoyed the demo and learned some great fundamentals from them.
Alongside the demos, former Redskin Eddie Mason conducted private sessions and also had an open house. Eddie Mason runs his MASE training i conjunction with Synergy MMA and does private coaching, group lessons along with specialized training for professional athletes. Highly technical fitness equipment (the kind you see on UFC All Access) is crammed into all corners. Luckily there was enough room for BBQ :).
Synergy MMA is located in Dulles Virginia. It’s relatively young (obviously because today was the year anniversary) and the focus is on quality instruction. I have gone to some gyms in the NOVA area where the school will put in a mediocre instructor just to pull in the students with no requirement on setting a standard but Synergy MMA shows that steady progress and quality instructors are gonna lead this academy to top of the NOVA MMA food chain.