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Martial Arts Training Camp Experiences?

Im a blue belt in BJJ. Im more of a hobbyist and I don’t plan to compete in any serious competitions, but I am keen to get better. As I lean more and get better, Im actually enjoying the art more and more.

Lately I have been frustrated with my progress, and I know this is normal. However I am seriously thinking about attending a training camp for 2-3 weeks where I intensely train BJJ. I think a short intense period of training will benefit my game and get me over my current plateau.

Anyone here that has attended such camps? What was it like? Where was it? How often did you train? Did you benefit much from it? Any suggestions on particular camps?


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Jocko runs the Origin camp here in Maine. I don’t know anyone who has done it but it sure sounds fun.

You can’t beat summer in Maine. Especially when you’re going to Jiu Jitsu summer camp.

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If you are looking to make a lasting improvement and going to regular classes isn’t doing it, then privates, where you can work on specific issues are your best bet. At a camp you won’t get the same individual attention. Not that a camp would be a bad idea but it might not focus as much on your personal needs.

I personally hate seminars and other large group learning environments. I feel like being shown a bunch of techniques for a couple of hours doesn’t do the individual techniques justice. In a private you can work on one thing for an hour and be more assured you can apply it well. You’re more likely to have an aha moment in a private where suddenly you realize what you were doing wrong.

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I have to disagree and agree with zecarlo on this one. I agree that a large group environment is not always conducive to learning. I did a Erik Paulson 2 day when I was training in Va Beach, and he kept the numbers small (constrained at least partially by the size of the training area we had) so that helps. Biggest issue with a seminar like that is you don’t know who you’re going to get as a training partner to practice the techniques - might be someone your level so you are both getting a good benefit, might be a rank beginner who can barely follow instructions and is still trying to prove how awesome he is at everything. Along the same lines, while I agree private lessons are an excellent choice if you have the time and money, there’s a part of me that says you should go into a private with a training partner (who is also learning obviously) so the instructor can observe and critique you with another partner in addition to rolling directly with you. Just my .02 on that.

As for intensive training camps, I was in a lucky position in summer of 2000 and spent two weeks at a fly in camp at Fairtex in San Fran. Great school, great group of guys (and gals for that matter). I had zero stand up skills at the time, so I progressed by leaps and bounds in that period. The camp was set up where we did two-a-days (forget how long they were, at least an hour), and since it was a continuously operating gym/school, I had plenty of training partners in addition to the other fly-in guys. Each of us fly-in guys just happened to overlap with each other, it wasn’t a scheduled ‘camp’ or anything. Since I was a fly-in student, I had a dedicated instructor for each session. Mostly Ganyao since he was actually very close to my size, but also Bunkerd a fair bit, a couple with Jongsanon, and I was even lucky enough to do one session with Alex Gong (RIP).

If you have the opportunity to do one, I would definitely say go for it. I would recommend though, contact the schools you are thinking of attending and see how they set theirs up, and I would go so far as to try and find reviews or other people who have done the same thing with them to see what they thought of those specific places. I personally got lucky with Fairtex because I did very little research before pulling the trigger. But come on, it’s Fairtex. They have a solid reputation for a reason (or at least did back then - been out of the fight game for years so I don’t keep up with the gossip).

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I’ll play.
I went to a bunch of ‘camps’

in HS for wrestling I went to camp 3x I went to
Stroudsberg camp of champs
Russ Houk 's camp both of these where in Pennsylvania
I went to a camp at Oaklamhoma State (1988) for 30 days.
gruesome and amazing.

Later I went to many more ‘clinics’ ‘booster camps etc’ seminars
you have to buy in.

I took extensive notes- filled notebooks and audio cassettes on a micro cassette recorder- yeah im old af.

the first two HS wrestling camps attracted allot of local talent
I am east coast.
Olympians National champs state champs as speakers trainers etc
coaches of the above its very structured.

quite military- 6 am runs and PT
730 meal - 8- noon lectures and technique
1-5 a second session a meal somewhere
then at 6-9pm time to drill or special lectures-
this is where the olympians - legend coaches lectured.
how they trained- how they coach.

I think I got voted worst hair cut at one of them
and also got some confidence via medals for placing in a take down tournament and a GIANT ASS trophy for doing literally 840 squat thrusts
which we now call burpees.

uhm yeah - it happened at camp. and I reaped that confidence and training.

I also got to scout ( and be scouted) all the divisional and state finalists
and the local coached - and some college coaches

the benefits massive for my skill level which was low.

Far far better coaching then available at my HS
and became part of my 'success" what little I had.

the third camp was 30 days of basically boot camp - literally - and as bad as freshmen year as a walk on - and later as a walk on a a D1 school

the good drilling in the Oklahoma state campus their rooms
their track hills facility etc seeing their legacy - what they stood for
and the tenants of their training
It was worth every penny .

The bad having to train with the 11-14 year olds because I wasnt competitive enough.
and the brutality of training that I would accept in college
Oklahoma is hot humid terribly flat and not a pretty place

I faced better and more skilled competition there - then I did in
coming back to HS.
I had access to people far far better then me- to drill with and learn from.

Colllege I went to many greco clinics-
you sign up for a seminar with whomever- in my time it was the who’s who of the 1984 and 88 and 92 olympics and world teams.
some where awesome- some not so much.
often they would bundle a big big wrestling coach at one of the bigger tournaments-
Dan Gable
Bobby douglas
John Smith Zeke Jones Gene Mills ( who I wrestled for later)

and again you have to buy in - take notes and drill the shit out of the new secrets.

off season we traveled and went to many more ‘clinics’
I went to many at the Olympic training cent in Colorado springs
takes downs-
greco 101 -110
a weekend of Russian tie or two on one might change your game.

I did well with these
I also hit the jack pot in college- coaches are connected.
I went to the former USSR and was humbled and still use many many of the protocols I gleaned from there that is a many many faceted story unto itself.

when I retired from greco and went back to Judo
I went to lectures with many of the big names-
Jimmy Pedro on Hand fighting I think it was like 400 bucks 15-20 years ago.
I thru a friend and a very convoluted method of travel went to cuba
and trained with a friend on the national Judo team.
life changing.
I went to many many Judo and BJJ weekend specialty seminars.
alot where pure shit.
and many where amazing.
Shaolin Renzo Gracie- both available to me here but the Machados.
many of the LA people you have to go to them.

I liked it but I was invested.
I also did something I trained rolled etc when traveling- THIS WAS HUGE
for many years I toured with shows- concerts - theater and eventually sports broadcasting- well before say 2007. you really didn’t have the internet.
now if you want to train you hit up google find a powerlifting or crossfit or BJJ place to go and your good.

I hit up the church bulletins the local police stations etc and found JUDO everywhere in the US. yes rolling in a church basement sucks balls.
but every not and then you find some bro who is 35-45 jacked as F who was on a national team in the service is like a 4th dan legit in kodokon judo who is a state trooper in Indiana and had a ‘club’ I could go to.

I find allot of these seminars - aren’t not good not gonna lie.
you have to check reviews- feedback is key.
however if any of the celebs today - Gordan Ryan or Craig Jones
are doing a seminar near you or an hour away it might be worth going to.

I cant write here or read here for many reasons.
time- being a big one.
being so banged up - that I cannot train - or roll - sometimes reading about it can hurt.

finding good partners and places to learn is important.
you have to travel to train at least a little and see how you stack up.

Have you ever tried a jiu-jitsu stay-cation? When I was a blue belt I took a week off of work to train every day. It was a spur of the moment whim - I had to get rid of a much of vacation days or risk losing them - and I didn’t train in especially focused way. But it’s something I’m planning to do this summer ahead of the Master Worlds and Seattle Open in August.


@burien_top_team : that’s actually a really good idea, and would be easier to implement. Will be easier to convince Mrs Bird of this option as well.


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