After just returning from CTA Camp in San Jose, CA, I’m knee-deep in laundry and my brain is still scrambled from all the techniques. Rather than try and sort it out, I decided to procrastinate and blog instead lol.
Our 5th Annual Camp started with the IBJJF San Francisco Open, where CTA had an impressive performance and we took home the team trophy! It is so incredible to see how this team improves and evolves year after year, and that success is a direct result of the preparation and support that we have for one another. The camaraderie at the tournament was amazing!
After a long day in San Francisco and a late dinner, training started the next day. We began the camp with a relaxed Q&A Session with Professor Caio, addressing different questions from the tournament while we recovered from the long day, and that night classes began!
Watching Professor Caio teach technique is nothing short of watching an artist create a sculpture from marble. The way that his mind is able to address every grip, every angle, and every ounce of applied pressure and convey it to his students is incredible. We addressed something as simple as a side control escape, but his evolved details made it seem like a brand new technique.
We also had the opportunity to train with 10th Planet Black Belt Denny Prokopos, who trains at CTA Headquarters from time to time. Denny showed a lot of Half Guard techniques and demonstrated several different positional options from Eddie Bravo’s system. At the end, he spoke very highly of Professor Caio and the team in San Jose.
No-Gi Classes with Professor Yuri Simoes were unbelievable. From his details on takedowns, to the small adjustments he added on Guard Passing, Yuri changed my Jiu-Jitsu yet again. After some intense drilling, we got the chance to train with each other and we were able to immediately apply the new techniques! After another late night dinner, it was time for Fortnite. Apparently this is a big thing among the CTA family, so I’m downloading it on my PS4 now as I type this lol.
To close the week, I got my annual time in the chair with my CTA brother Matt Tillman, an incredible artist at Hold Fast Studios in Redwood City, CA. It is an image of Benkei, a Japanese warrior who has a really awesome story – displaying incredible dedication and loyalty until his death. In addition to the amazing story, it also represents the Japanese roots of Jiu-Jitsu, prior to the art migrating to Brazil. If you are ever in the area, definitely look him up!
More than anything on this trip, I learned a lot about myself and my team. I was reminded of how much these people TRULY care about each one of their students, their affiliates, and their students as well. The Caio Terra Association is so much more than amazing technique. It is a family that supports your goals, encourages you to chase your dreams, and is there to help you make them a reality. In my five years with CTA, no-one – not Nick, not Professor Yuri, not even Professor Caio himself have ever been too busy to answer a question, offer advice, or just have a conversation and catch up on each other’s lives. I love this team because they are so much more than that – they are my family. We are CTA.