Latham, New York (Capital District) - Bruno Tostes Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Bruno is a purple belt under Renzo Gracie. He is an excellent instructor for beginners and experienced white or blue belts. I just watched him win the Purple Belt Absolute Division at Oct. 14th-15th: Grappler Quest & Copa Atlantica, submitting his final opponent who outweighed him by at least 50 pounds. He is not very big, but his technical abilities are mind-blowing and he regularly handles strong, athletic guys like they were 5 years old. He does not just supervise and teach, but he also participates and practices what he preaches. He will always be putting you to the test when you're on the mat with him.
The first class is absoultely free, but don't show up thinking it will be a walk in the park. You really need to be in good shape to last through the whole class. Just the cardio we do in the beginning of class is enough to send a lot of the wannabe's home packing.
A typical class can last anywhere from 2 - 3 hours and your gi will be completely soaked with sweat by the end of class. A typical class consists of the following:
1) Warm-up (about 30 minutes of cardio and basic drills)
2) Stand-up (Practice takedowns with a training partner followed by live sparring starting from stand-up)
3) Ground Technique Instruction (One or two techniques are demonstrated, then we practiced with a training partner)
4) Positional Training (Live training from various positions - example: guard, both defending guard and passing guard. If guard is passed or person on top is submitted or swept, start over again. Same pricniple applies to side-mount, mount, back mount, half mount, turtle...etc)
5) More live sparring (Usually starting from knees, but sometimes starting from stand-up)
*** Sometimes if class is exceptionally small, we will put one person in the middle of the floor (I will refer to him as Fighter). Fighter will spar with everybody and not get to rest until he has faced everyone. When the next person comes in, the previous person will not disengage Fighter until the next person has taken a dominant position on Fighter. Everybody gets a turn to be the Fighter.
Here are some of the PROs and CONs as I see them -
-Technique is taught, drilled, and supervised.
-There is absolutely no shortage of live training.
-The mats are tatami and the room is spacious since the classes never really get that crowded (mostly due to the fact that he only wants serious students and will not dumb down the classes for anyone)
-Holds classes in the morning and in the evenings to work around our schedules.
-Both instructor and students compete regularly.
-Occasional seminars taught by members of the Gracie family. (Students are also welcome to participate in seminars held at the Renzo Gracie Academy)
-You can work out a monthly fee which enables you to attend all available classes. There is no limit on the amount of classes you can attend. Currently, 2 classes are available on Tuesday, 2 classes are available on Thursday, 1 on Friday, and 1 on Saturday.
- No ranks above purple belt, so if you consider yourself to be highly experienced, this is not the place for you.
- No assistant instructor, so if Bruno is competing out of town or unable to teach, class is cancelled. Although sometimes a blue belt will step up and handle it.
- One of the available class times is on Saturday, starting at 12. Since we share space with an aikido group, we lose this time slot if they have a seminar. (Their seminars take place on Saturdays).
- Not much of a vareity in training partners because he is fairly new to the area and still getting established, but his student base is slowly growing. However, the guys you will be rolling with will definitely be putting you to the test (in a friendly/tough-loving manner of course) Due to the strenuous nature of the classes, most people who try a class never come back.
- If you are not athletic, you're going to have a painful time keeping up with the class while you get in shape. It will get easier, and there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel. So if you are located in the Capital Region of NY or just visiting, come on down and try and free class.
Edit: 12/13/06 - Classes are now split into two one hour sessions. First session is for basics and drilling. The second session is for tournament fighters or people who just want a more strenuous workout.
Bruno Promoted to Black Belt
Bruno has since been promoted to a Black Belt by Renzo Gracie. The school has also moved to a new location and has begun offering some MMA and striking instruction.