Joe Moreira Seminar/Smash Gyms Grand Opening
On February 5th, a few friends of mine packed up our gi’s and headed over to Smash Gyms Grand Opening party featuring a free two-hour seminar by Master Joe Moreira and Michael Jen. Michael Jen is a 3rd degree black belt under Joe Moreira and is the Head Instructor at Smash Gyms in Sunnyvale California.
Smash Gyms is a beautiful new facility with lots of mat space in a clean and open environment. Although it’s technically a new Jiu-Jitsu school, Michael Jen has been an instructor for many years and has a solid group of students ranging from white belt all the way to black belt. Now onto the seminar…
I have wanted to meet Joe Moreira for some time now. Joe has been practicing Jiu-Jitsu for 40 years (yes you read that right…forty years) and has produced over 30 black belt practitioners. The man is a legend and an authority on all things Jiu-Jitsu. Joe received his black belt in 1984 from Grand Master Francisco Mansur and is currently an eighth degree Coral Belt. Next to Francisco Mansur himself, Joe is the highest ranking instructor that I have had the pleasure of training with.
As soon as the seminar started, I realized that although he’s been in the United States for over 20 years, Joe’s English is at a blue belt level so to speak(high-ranking blue though….sorry Joe, don’t smash me!) At this point I have trained with enough Brazilians that I can follow along pretty well but it helped to have Michael Jen there to help break down and explain in painstaking detail, the techniques that Joe was sharing with us. The techniques that Joe shared that day were truly black belt secrets. Nothing fancy, just solid movements and submissions that are so simple in theory, yet take years to master and apply correctly.
Because this was such a special event, I don’t feel it would be right to tell you exactly what Joe showed us that day. You really just had to be there. I will tell you that we learned a choke from the mount that I now consider the most uncomfortable choke I’ve ever felt.
I used to think that the bow and arrow was the worst due to the extreme amount of leverage being applied, but this one beats it. The story of how Joe developed this choke was as interesting as the choke itself. After 40 years of gripping gi lapels, Joe noticed that his fingers have taken quite a beating. But, rather than give up on lapel chokes altogether Joe just found a new way to apply them without the gi. His solution was a simple, extremely painful and effective choke that I am still trying to nail down (it’s hard to find training partners willing to let you practice this choke).
More importantly than his choke, Joe showed us a variety of submission opportunities that can present themselves by just going for the choke in the first place. As many of you are aware, with enough pressure and discomfort, an opponent will do just about anything to reduce said discomfort. Students in attendance were also treated to a couple of effective and simple techniques to control an opponent in side control which I really liked.
The turnout to this event was amazing. There must have been sixty students give or take and seven of them were black belts. After the seminar we were also treated to a promotion ceremony in which Joe presented Michael Jen with his 3rd stripe on his black belt and Michael Jen promoted one student to brown belt and one student to black belt. Overall it was an amazing event and I would like to thank Michael Jen and Joe Moreira for putting it on. If you are ever in Sunnyvale, stop by Smash Gyms and try out a class.