Gracie Barra Bath, UK
Recently my fiance and I flew to England to visit her family. While visiting the beautiful county of Somerset I had the honor of taking two nights worth of classes at Gracie Barra in Bath, UK. The academy is run by Salvatore Pace, a black belt under Carlos Lemos Jr. and active competitor in both BJJ and Submission Grappling. The school isn't overly huge, but definitely has everything you could need. Enough mat space and thai pads for decent sized grappling and striking classes, various types of punching bags for open mat times and cage panels for working on cage tactics.
The first night I was there was BJJ night, with a fundamentals class followed by an all levels class. I had the pleasure of working with one of the upper belts present at those classes, a very tough purple belt with excellent work ethic (I wish I could remember his name... you'll be hearing about him). In the fundamentals class we worked on an open guard sweep into a giftwrap choke. It was a difficult choke to finish, but it made me think about proper weight distribution and the finer points of squeezing somebodies neck off. In the advanced class we worked on a series of nasty leg locks that were all sorts of fun and then we rolled rolled rolled. I took my spankings from the purple belt I had been drilling with and then ran off to find some white belts to take out my frustrations on.
Overall it was a fun and exhausting night... I haz to com back here tomorrow!? Oh geez!
The second night I came back for a Muay Thai class and quite possibly the best wrestling class I've ever taken. The normal Muay Thai instructor couldn't make it that night, but I still had very enjoyable workout and thai pad session with the guys that made it. The wrestling class was taught by Saeed Esmail, an excellent wrestler himself and a concise and energetic coach. The class focused on the finer of points of shooting your basic double leg takedowns. I've been practicing double legs at different schools since I began training MMA eight years ago, but I've never had much confidence when shooting a double in sparring. Thanks to Coach Esmail showing me some of the little things I was doing wrong, I have a lot more confidence with my shot.
After two nights of awesomeness I left this school with sore abs, a smile on my face and some awesome new friends from across the ocean. I sincerely hope I'll have a chance to revisit this school in the future, but till then, my fond memories will have to do.
At least over here the water isn't so damn hard! Yuck!
If you're in the Bath area and you want to train at the best MMA school in the area, look no further. Go to http://www.graciebarrabath.com/