Team Pedro Sauer UK

Master Pedro Sauer and Professor Allan Manganello Seminars – June 2018

Robin French with Master Pedro Sauer, Professor Allan Manganello and Peter Squire - June 2018

Returning for the fifth successive year, June 2018 saw me travelling to Gracie Iceland for their annual Master Pedro Sauer summer camp.

As well as being accompanied by my fellow Team Pedro Sauer UK instructor Peter Squire, joining us this year were Bill Long, Julio Era, Sam Keyes, Sam Norton, and Jack Woodford (all of whom train in classes regularly in South Woodham Ferrers and Chelmsford).

The couple of hours sleep after class, and early Friday morning drive to catch the flight out of Luton becoming somewhat of a well-rehearsed routine; the only novelty this time was a pair of noise cancelling headphones that I had picked up in preparation. After using them this time, I’m not sure how I’ve ever flown without them…

As this year’s party was quite sizeable (read: more than most AirBnB’s would accept), we split into two groups; Pete and I were staying at Halldór’s, whilst the remaining guys grabbed a more commonly sized accommodation.

With the B-team off to sort their car hire out, Pete and I were met by Halldór; ready for the quick dash into central Reykjavik for the first seminar at 10 am.

Scheduled to be given by David Porter, who unfortunately had to drop out for personal reasons and stay in the US, the session was instead taken by Professor Allan Manganello. During this first session, Professor Allan worked through extra options for the elbow escape; whether that be a back take from a successful underhook, or one of a number of sweeps or escapes when that underhook is ‘whizzered’.

Following this first session, the assembled group took a few hours out to travel to visit the memorial site that Johann Eyvindsson and his guys had planted for Professor Allan’s son, Sebastian, who unfortunately passed away last year. RIP.

Returning to the academy in the evening, Professor Allan gave his second seminar of the day; this time, focussing on armlock mastery. With a neat straight armlock from guard set up, from the triple threat position, and some extra kimura options from the guard, the session gave me personally some great new moves to try out.

A trip to Iceland wouldn’t seem right without hot tubs. Luckily this got ticked off the list, for the first time, on Friday evening when we sneaked in for the final 30 mins of opening at the local baths.

Stocking up on bananas, skyr and coffee at Halldór’s, we headed to Saturday’s first session with Master Sauer. With some great questions brought up, Master Sauer suggested some incredibly simple answers. As a side note, every time I get to train with him, I always walk away thinking ‘it’s so simple really… just not easy…’

After a short break, and happening to bump into an international Crossfit champion/celebrity at the salad bar (sorry Sam), we got back on the mat for the second session with Master Sauer. Another masterclass in simplicity and subtlety, I took away so many small points that should prove invaluable in my training and teaching.

After yet another hot tub visit, Saturday’s meal was at what I would say most closely resembled a Harvester in the UK; Nice food at a slightly more reasonable price than the usual Reykjavik high street premium.

As per last year’s new precedent, Sunday was set aside for site-seeing; this time around the Golden Circle. With the hired mini bus being a couple of seats short of what was required, Pete and I jumped in a car with Norwegian PSBJJA affiliate Jørn Bakken, and Geoff Cumbus. This gave us to chat about some back room topics that we don’t normally get chance to as a group.

Although I have done the Golden Circle tour before, back in 2014, it was great to see all of the sites again; there really is some astounding scenery and views in Iceland!

A little later than scheduled, the gis went back on on our return to the Gracie Iceland dojo, for an open mat session. This was a great opportunity for myself and all of the Team Pedro Sauer UK guys to roll with both our Icelandic friends, as well as others who had visited from across Europe. On top of that opportunity, I was also lucky enough to get some personal feedback and advice from Master Sauer, who had been watching the session.

With the open mat starting late, and running for longer than expected, we got back to Halldór’s a bit late too. Luckily it wasn’t too late to have some of his amazingly grilled lamb. Man, can that guy cook a sheep…

A quick re-pack of my stuff (it never seems to fit in so well on the way home…), and another few hours kip and we headed back to Keflavik airport; another whirlwind weekend was over!

As ever, the largest possible thanks go out to Master Sauer. Always so generous with his time and help, he acts as a shining example of what can be achieved with a lifelong commitment to training.

Thank you also to Professor Allan for giving two great sessions. As Team Pedro Sauer UK mentor, it is always great to get as much time with him as possible.

My gratitude also to Johann Eyvindsson, for hosting the seminar and arranging activities for the weekend; I know just how difficult it can be!

More thanks than I can express in words to ‘our man in Iceland’, Halldór. He always goes above and beyond to make sure us guys are looked after. We can only hope to return the favour so well, the next time that you’re here in the UK!

Finally, thank you to my fellow Team Pedro Sauer UK travellers; I wonder if we can muster together an even bigger group for June 2019?

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