For those that aren’t aware, Cozumel is an island in the western Caribbean, just off the eastern coast of Mexico. It is approximately 40 minutes (by ferry) from Playa Del Carmen, about an hour south of Cancun. The sole city on the island is San Miguel De Cozumel, often simply referred to as Cozumel.
I traveled to Cozumel on the 12th of January, 2015 and stayed for four months (until May 19th, 2015).
When I was there I trained at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Cozumel (A Gracie Barra affiliate under Professor Gibran Alvarez).
Since this is the first article I have published for the “traveling” section, I will try to establish a format to follow with forthcoming posts.
Where: Cozumel Island, QR, MX
BJJ: Jiu-Jitsu Cozumel (Gracie Barra). Head Instructor: Raul Canto (Purple, 1 stripe)
Schedule: Moderate (5 nights per week). Two “basic” classes (Tue & Thur) and three “advanced” classes (Mon, Wed, Fri).
Facilities: BJJ Cozumel exists inside of the “Casa De La Cultura: Ixchel” (Cultural house, AKA Ixchel) . The space consists of approximately 500 sq. feet of puzzle mat space. The mats are new and clean. The space is air-conditioned, but only between April-August. The space has one interior door and one exterior door (which helps with ventilation) but no windows.
What to expect: The guys and gals of BJJ Cozumel are among the friendliest, most welcoming people I have ever had the privilege to share the mat with. They will welcome you with open arms and your only challenge will be to handle the excess of respect and humility they will show you. The head instructor here is a 1-stripe purple belt under Gibran Alvarez and daily workouts begin with a short warm-up (with the mid 80’s temps and high humidity – around 95-100% all the time – you are mostly warm already) followed by either free-rolling or a combination of technique and free-rolling. A few things stand out in my memory about the folks at BJJ Cozumel:
1:These guys LOVE to roll!! Often times we would show up, stretch and go straight into live rolling. The norm is to go without time-limits. Without exaggeration I can say that the average roll will run about 10-12 minutes and longer rolls have lasted the entire hour session!
2: Watch your feet! For the first three months we rolled mostly gi. Then, the “Quintana Roo” state No-Gi championships were announced. For the next whole month we rolled exclusively no-gi. In the gi, I felt that I rolled well with the guys and even had the opportunity to share many of the techniques and details from my own jiu-jitsu. Once the gi came off, I was a helpless child in the swimming pool of foot, ankle, and leg locks! Raul is a very fast grappler and in the gi, I can slow him down a bit by grabbing the gi. But, when it’s no-gi time he really shines. This guy knows more ways to break my feet and ankles than I had ever thought of! Do yourself a favor and ask him to show you some of his leg game. I am sure you will be happy you did. Important to mention: these folks are very careful not to hurt each other when rolling. In the four months I was there, I can’t recall a single incident in the gym that led to an injury.
Contact: Raul Canto