BJJ with a couple of Buckeyes

For the Christmas holidays I went “home” to Columbus, Ohio and I made sure to get some quality mat time in during my visit.  There were three places that came highly recommended and I managed to make it to 2 of the 3. The second gym along my journey was to Relson Gracie Columbus, in Westerville and seemed about 10 minutes from the awesome Easton Mall.


It is literally less than two minutes from the highway exit HOWEVER due to traffic, tricky lane merging, and bad gps system it was beyond nerve wrecking trying to get there, for me.  Now granted I once almost ended up in Memphis trying to get to Nashville and I’m not the greatest navigator but I blame the city of Columbus/town of Westerville for that.  Once you get into the shopping center you have to venture past the Wendy’s and behold Relson Gracie Columbus.


They did have men’s and women’s changing/bathrooms which was nice.  Also plenty of mat space. Very clean and simple look.  I also like the mats on the walls.


Lucky for me that had several classes offered throughout the week despite of the holidays.  I first attended the advanced class, “Jiu Jitsu level blue belt & above” and was graciously greeted by several blue and a few purple belts.  The class was led by black belt Robin Giesler who was very welcoming as well.  Of course my first day visiting a new school and I was late (boo traffic) so I had already feared that I had made a terrible first impression.  Nevertheless I got my gi/belt on and Robin began class.  We worked through several drills centered around passing someone’s butterfly guard.  He emphasized using one’s hips to isolate the hooks and keep from getting swept.  He reached across for a somewhat shallow grip of the lapel (over the hook) and the same side hand also gripped the lapel, he then used a pulling motion with the lapel grip partnered with coming up in combat base and using one’s hips to drive that knee across your partners knee to initiate the pass.

Then as you begin to pass you slide the hand deeper within the lapel and can initiate a choke by clearing the arm and using chest pressure.

**side note:My partner was very helpful and respectful.  It is rare to not feel uneasy as a visitor, ESPECIALLY as a female visitor but that was not a problem for me.

Robin showed several variations of what to do in the case the bottom person works to escape and I’ll do my best to post related videos.  He really stressed getting your head beneath theirs and using that to pressure them flat to the mat, among other little useful details.

We live drilled starting in the butterfly guard position, resetting if one acquired a sweep or pass.  My butterfly is rusty but I’m working on it.


After the instruction part we rolled for a few rounds before the beginner’s class commenced.  I was partnered with several guys (no women were in attendance but I did see two women preparing for the beginner’s class afterward) and each of them had very nice technique.

The next day…

The next day I was spoiled.  The following day I attended their Open Mat session where both kids and adults of various levels were in attendance.   Not only was it a large class but the various skill levels really made each roll a lot of fun.  It lasted slightly over two hours, some rolls timed, others never ending.  I got to roll with several blues, purples, and one awesome brown belt.  Visting really helped me get a feel for how I should roll whenever we have new guys or at a tournament.  After a while I worked on trying to stay tight and find objectives that meshed best wit my own game to achieve.

At first I would ask to start from the bottom of side control to work on my defense and several of the guys were preplexed at my “death/smash” wish.  Sometimes I was able to work out of it, other times doom was eminent.  I cannot remember his name but there is one purple belt whose side control is his bread and butter so he kind of chuckled when I asked to start there.

Robin Giesler is on the far right and the man directly to his left is the brown belt that I mentioned above

overall all of the guys were really nice and hospitable.  One thing I observed that I really liked was that if one guy had a dominant position and was inches from a submission he’d say,”Hey I just learned a grip break from your position, I’ll show you after we roll.”  That brief moment cemented the fact that if I ever go back to Columbus I will definitely go back (if it’s ok lol) to Relson Gracie Columbus.  My school has no official affiliation with this facility so I am delighted to say that as a completely objective third party, I have nothing but great things to say about the school.

If you’re ever in the area, visit. You won’t be sorry.

Many thanks to all the guys that rolled with me, helped me, and smashed me. I greatly appreciate it.

As a grappler my experiences training in Ohio at both schools lef me wanting more and has definitely helped to motivate me to get my ass back in the gym.

One Response to “BJJ with a couple of Buckeyes”
  1. Very Interesting! It isn’t easy to find quality stuff.

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