If you are a student of the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu you have heard the name Robson Moura. You might even have seen the picture of him in a deep knee bar. In that picture Jeff Glover is giving it all he has as Robson looks as calm as a Hindu cow. He didn’t tap and went on to win the match. That match is one of many examples of why Robson is an 8 time world champion and Jiu Jitsu Hall of Famer. His style is creative, dynamic, and fresh and I was looking forward to visiting his gym.
A good friend of mine who also got his black belt at Alliance MN the same day I did, Bob Plaszcz, moved to Tampa shortly after I moved to Canada. Both of us maintained our allegiance to our home school despite moving, and both of us travel a lot for work and have to train at other gyms. In Tampa, Bob trained at the only place that made sense to train… Robson Moura’s gym! Although Bob was out of town when we passed through, he graciously set us up while we were there and made a personal call to Robson and his wife to let them know we would stop by to visit the gym.
Even though Bob let Robson know I was coming, I called in advance to let him know what day I would stop by and to ask if I could do an interview with him. Robson’s wife, Alessandra, was at the front desk and said she was expecting us. She was extremely friendly and toured us through the gym and introduced us to Robson who was equally nice. She even kept my wife company and chatted about business and Florida while I trained. Everyone we came across at the gym was equally friendly.
When you walk in the front door you end up in the middle of the gym. The design was unique with the front desk, high table lounge, merchandise, and bathrooms right in the center with two rooms equal in size and length rooms on each side. Short walls with tall and long windows delineate the space making it feel even larger than it is. My wife enjoyed the comfort of the climate controlled spectator area while I was getting a workout in. The layout is crisp and the branding is on point. It feels very clean and comfortable without seeming overdone or excessively lavish. The left side is primarily the Jiu Jitsu gym and the right side has mats, heavy bags, and other workout equipment allowing for multiple classes to run simultaneously. Male and female changing rooms are available as well.
What to Expect
The gym follows standard warm ups of jogging, side steps, high knees, and shrimping and rolling down the mat. Robson showed a sweep that took advantage of the opponent standing up by pulling them forward with your shins to sweep them over you.(I’ve seen it many times and it’s one Gustavo Dantas used to knock a guy out in mma.) When the opponent defended he transitioned to the old school double ankle grab, sweeping the opponent backwards and coming up to mount. It was a nice mix of new school and old school technique. After, there were many rounds of sparring with time at the end for people to do open mat.
Prior to attending one of his classes, I had watched a lot of Robson’s videos. I expected him to be very detail oriented and a little formal. In person he was a little less formal while still keeping the class on task. He kept it upbeat and spent a lot of time with each of the students helping them through the technique. He did a good job of simplifying the moves for the newer practitioners and sharing just enough detail for the advanced students to build variations and refine the technique.
I wasn’t sure if I’d get to roll with Robson given the size differential and the fact that he didn’t know me well. I was happily surprised when Robson asked me to roll. I pulled guard and prepared for him to launch a speed based assault. He cut through my open guard quickly and I had to fall to my deep half guard game. My size advantage helped me to keep him from passing and I was able to get a sweep. Robson immediately set up his famous cross guard. Having seen some of it, I knew I needed to break the connection between his foot and my armpit so I postured to stop him from sweeping. I was surprised when he immediately inverted and spun underneath me sweeping me back. In open guard again I attempted an arm drag as Robson went to pass and he pounced on my exposed neck with a tight guillotine. I got to my feet and retreated to narrowly escape. I pulled guard sloppily the next time and he was quick to knee cut and pass. He launched a flurry of attacks switching from a kimura, to an armbar, to a north south choke and I defended until the time ran out. Bob summed up watching Robson roll against big guys best saying he, “was on them like a hat.” I would say that’s a very accurate way of describing how it felt to roll with him.
We passed through town just before Thanksgiving so we only had one day at the gym due to the holiday schedule but it was an amazing experience. Robson is a legendary practitioner and the gym is a great place to train. It was a noticeably family friendly and team oriented environment. Maybe next time Bob won’t leave town on vacation just to duck me!
Thanks to Robson for the awesome welcome, interview, and letting me record some technique. I’ll share the video in a future post. Special thanks to Bob Paszcz for helping make the connection and opening his doors to me and my wife. He’s a beast in his own right and if you get to roll with him when you pass through the gym I guarantee you’ll remember the old guy with the nasty knee on stomach pressure!(It should be noted that he acts much older than he actually is) Lastly, thanks to VVVFightCo for the sharp looking gi and rash guard. Photo credit to my amazing wife MikiALaMode!