On Wednesday, Nov 15th I headed back to Oklahoma City for 4 days of training Rafael Lovato Jr to help him prepare for his WNO title fight against the very tough Pedro Marinho. It had only been a few months since I was last there, and had trained with Lovato last month as well while he was in Colorado but it was amazing training. Also in the house was current absolute and ultra heavyweight black belt world champion Victor Hugo and world medalist Felipe Costa. Plus my good friend and no -gi world champion James Puopolo.
To top it off Lovato brought out the Roger Gracie from London for a seminar. Roger is argueably the greatest competitor in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu history and the rival of my instructor Xande Ribeiro. He is someone that I have studied so much. Unfortunately he was injured and not training on the trip, but to be apart of the discussions after training and seeing him work with Victor Hugo after the seminar was a great experience. Also just great to see the previous generation passing on the knowledge to the current and from Xande’s rival to his student.
Usually I go to a seminar and if I can just pick up a detail or two it is worth the time, but I came back with just pages of notes that I can’t wait to share. It really makes me excited to be back and to finish out the year strong.
It also caps off a great year of training in which I was able to get in 5 trips to work with Victor Hugo this year, 4 with Xande and 3 with Lovato. All these trips just fill me with gratitude on the journey that I have had over these years, the friendships made, the team that I am apart of.