“Open your eyes. Don’t focus so much on one thing. Step back and see the big picture. If you do that… then you will start learning Jiu Jitsu.”
These are the words 9th Degree Red Belt that Master Mauricio Strauch left me after my private training session with him.
It’s not often that you get the opportunity to meet – let alone train with – a living, breathing legend.
It’s understandable that I might have been a little nervous walking through the door of his academy in Rio de Janeiro. After all, he is one of only a few men to reach such a high rank and it was an honor to meet him.
My Jiu-Jitsu mentor had a mentor. Caio Terra is one of the top BJJ competitors in the world. to hear him speak his Instructor, honestly made me a little nervous to meet him.
As part of Professor Terra’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu camp in Rio de Janeiro, we were fortunate to train at the academy of Caio’s instructor, Master Mauricio Strouch.
We were 35. I think the whole group was in high spirits the first day we entered Master Strauch’s school. There was a narrow passageway to get into the academy and we all entered the room in single file.
When you got to the front of the line you were greeted with a very friendly handshake and a smile. That smile was disarming, however, because while it was inviting, it served as a distraction for what came next. When everyone entered the room, after shaking your hand, Master Strauch gently pulled your hand and foot, causing you to lose your balance.
It was a kind gesture meant to put your mind at ease. He could tell we were all nervous and he took the tension out of the room with this simple tactic. As each new person came through the door, each of us who had already passed had to have a big chuckle as we watched the next person being tripped over.
That gesture spoke volumes about who this man is. Despite being an amazing martial arts practitioner and teacher, he is a light-hearted, fun-loving man.
Do not get me wrong. While light-hearted, he is a true martial artist who demands the best of you in his class. He doesn’t allow for small mistakes and challenges you to do anything but your best.
But he’s also a little prankster and Yes, really loves what he does. For example, on the way out of the academy, everyone was “ready” for the foot turn. He hugged you unceremoniously. He pulled your hand to his chest and your wrist tied you. It’s going so fast you can’t stop it. He’s so good at it it doesn’t hurt. The smile on his face afterwards lets you know he was just playing. Like I said, his smile is disarming.
As a group we received some amazing information from Master Strauch that I am sure will benefit our overall Jiu-Jitsu game when we return home.
After the session we were informed that he was available for private lessons while we were in town. My wife and I signed up immediately.
Not knowing exactly what to expect, we were a bit hesitant about the session when we arrived the next day. We arrived a little early and when we entered the academy, a class was in progress. We were surprised to see a bunch of people (about 15 people) all trying to subjugate each other. They were all smiling and laughing and having a great time. I remember being nervous about them and hoping Master Strauch wouldn’t walk in and catch them wrestling in the studio until I looked up and saw it he was the ringleader.
Later, the class had a small rubber basketball that they tried to dip over a pull-up bar. If so, you could choose a classmate, who in turn had to demonstrate a technique. They were drilling and having FUN!
A quick peek around the studio revealed a life size painting of Woody Woodpecker wearing a jiu-jitsu gi on the ceiling among all the martial arts diplomas and paraphernalia. It was emblematic of the tone and atmosphere of his academy. His students are extremely good but really enjoy learning and training there… Unlike any other gym I’ve been to.
When the lesson was over, Master Strauch immediately asked us to get on the mat. I found it remarkable that this 9th degree Red Belt Master of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu taught all of his classes. He taught her with amazing energy and enthusiasm. He’s having the time of his life with it and his contagious energy is remarkable. He didn’t take a 15 minute break between sessions as I expected. Rather, he immediately got to work with us and did the same with another couple immediately after our session. I have no idea how he keeps his energy levels?!?
When our session started he immediately started sharing amazing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Portuguese with one of his students acting as translator. I am 100% convinced that we didn’t need the translator as Master Strauch’s Jiu Jitsu is so clear and clean that all we had to do was try to imitate his moves.
We learned some really great sequences that day. But the most lasting impression I made were the words he said to me after class. The first thing I found out was that he actually spoke English all the time. Second, he really conveyed a profound message to me. I’ve always been a person who was too laser focused. I struggle with relaxing and flowing. His advice was a better lesson than any technique I had learned that day.
Master Strauch is truly a master of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but his mastery of the human spirit is even more profound. I was privileged to have met him. If the opportunity arises, I highly recommend every Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner to make the trip to Rio de Janeiro and experience what an amazing instructor he is.
Thanks to Mike Stidham | #Mat #9th #Degree #Red #Belt #Brazilian #Jiu #Jitsu #Master #Mauricio #Strauch