Remember the Keenan Cornelius seminar? Joao’s kinda the same caliber so one could expect the same kind of experience, right? Nope, not at all.
The Road to Mulhouse
I met with Huseyin, Seb and last-minute guest Salah on the KFC’s parking lot near my place. Without much chatting, we jumped into a car and drove a little over an hour down to Mulhouse for a seminar with João Miyao. We had all paid for a Leandro Lo seminar that was canceled a month earlier and the Miyao seminar was gifted to us as a compensation. After being itself rescheduled on short notice.
To say the guy organizing this is shady is an understatement. After cashing the money in and a couple of last minute cancellations & reschedules, we halfway expected to not find a Miyao brother in the dirty dojo where we landed.
But there he sat, looking at his feet as you would expect. I shook his hands — a bunch of bones, really — and went to change myself thinking he was fairer skinned than what I thought. I stepped on the mat; it felt damp, cold and not very clean. I greeted a couple of white belts that were hanging around until the other guys joined me. We heard a couple of loud sneezes, looked at each other and… yep, João was sick. He would spend the rest of the seminar coughing & sneezing his heart out.
Lost in Translation
The seminar began with a never-ending apology from the organizer explaining why he had to reschedule things. Good intention, too bad it wasn’t to the point as that’s not what we came for. Then Joao took over, in Brazilian. No intro, no nothing; we jumped right into an inversion warm-up. By the second warm-up exercise, half of the dojo was lost. After he was done showing the first technique, about 6 of us were still following along.
Did I mention we were only 6 colored belts? The fact that there were only about 25 attendees was only half a shock because of the lack of communication surrounding the event, but I didn’t expect there would be so many beginners.
This situation turned out to be mostly an advantage in the end. Since only 3 or 4 groups could perform the moves, Joao sat close by us and helped us troubleshoot a couple of things. While extremely shy otherwise, he absolutely lights up when speaking about BJJ and was very friendly. Salah, who also played translator (I need to learn Portuguese), eventually went over to white belt land and showed them the techniques again. Sometimes even with the help of Joao, who was mostly sitting in a corner while we did our repetitions.
After the 9481th repetition of th fifth technique, I started wondering what was going on until Salah told me that this was the last technique, and that the seminar was basically over. After 500 more reps and a couple of answered questions, João finally acted as bored as he looked and stood up, signifying he wanted to gtfo. Group photos were supposed to be in half an hour but as it became clear to me he was going to leave, I went to him with Huseyin and asked if we could snatch a quick photo.
Joao, I’m sorry.
I didn’t expect that the organizer would hear us, and decide to do group photos right then. It took a full ten additional minutes just for the pictures with everyone, and then João had to do individual photos with a shitload of people. He basically turned into a statue and waited until it was over, but he looked soooo tired I considered not asking for a picture affter all, just to put him out of his misery a little earlier.
We started with a ’round-the-world back take from DLR:
- Push with the right leg to make him step away and grab the belt with the right hand
- Posture on the right foot to throw yourself into a deep DLR
- The left hand releases the opposing right foot and grabs the pants on the left, far side
- Swing yourself behind the opponent
- The left hand comes up and cups the hip
- Legs push, hands pull, guy falls.
- Get a seatbelt and hooks in.
The next 3 techniques all start from the X-Guard, so he showed us an entry to that. You start with a spider lasso but the lasso-ing foot starts hooking the leg, behind his knee – a little like a butterfly hook. This should pull the opponent towards you and allow the left hand to release the lasso and grab the collar instead. At that point the opponent should posture up; if not, he gets triangled.
Posturing up allows for the lasso leg to step in between the opponents leg while the spider grip jolts him forward, diagonally. From there, go to, you know, x-guard.
- Turn slightly outwards to lift his foot from the ground
- Mata-leo the leg and pass it in front of you
- Grip a knee and swing into the same position than the first back take.
- Turn slightly outwards again.
- With the right leg, push on his far leg.
- Do a technical stand up
During this one, it helps controlling the leg above the knee. He also showed a back take for after the single leg, where you basically arm drag the leg and hop to the back.
From x-guard again, but when the guy actually stabilizes. The left hand gets a pant-grip, the right hand gets a lapel grip and yanks down on it. With the yanking, your whole bodies turns and faces the opponent a little more. Then the left leg switches side and once on the right opponent hip, both legs shoot up for a triangle. Alternatively, there also is an omoplata. There always is.
DLR Sweep + Omoplata
During the setup, instead of using an inside hook you can also ue an outside hook, effectively going into a DLR. Instead of letting go of the lasso, this time grab the collar with the right hand and put the right foot on his hip. The goal is to load him up and flip him sideways but that might require to first push him off to initiate a push reaction.
After the flipping over, grab the exposed arm below the elbow and, well, arm bar the guy.
Even though it wasn’t made obvious during th seminar, everything revolved around the foot hooking while still having the lasso. I’m going to tinker around with this and see how usable it is to me.
On a non-technical aspect, João was as introverted as I expected and the sickness didn’t help, but he was very nice to us and his love for the art is obvious.