Hillary visits Ricardo Almeida

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Hillary with the gang at Gracie Barra Hamilton. Photo: www.mtxmma.com

Hillary Williams carries on strong in her pursuit for Jiu-Jitsu perfection. To achieve her goal of grappling greatness, the WestSideJJ representative makes a habit of going far and wide to mix it up in training. The latest trip for some fine-tuning the No-Gi world champion took to GMA Tom DeBlass’s academy in Ocean County, New Jersey, was fruitful for the marked improvement in specific aspects of her game and some revelations about the level of Jiu-Jitsu being taught in New England – especially to kids –, as Hillary reveals in part 3 of her “Season’s Beatings” blog, hosted at Mtxmma.com. But besides the worthwhile work on her game and  teaching experience gained , the trip up north also yielded some quality training and revelations at the gym of UFC fighter Ricardo Almeida.

If the thought of wandering into an academy as an unknown to train sounds unpleasant, Hillary confirmed it can be somewhat so, “I trained with three of Ricardo’s students and finally Haz (Hazem Ibrahim, RA brownbelt and head coach of Brunswick BJJ). I was tired out and first rolls with anyone are always the hardest because it’s when the silly dominance factor is being determined,” describing the trip she and DeBlass took to visit  GMA Hazem Ibrahim at Ricardo Almeida’s academy. But she also made clear what motivates her to repeat so often such a seemingly masochistic endeavor, in her characteristically positive way, “In my opinion, that’s one of the best reasons to travel to other gyms to train. It’s a near-tournament situation, where you’re put into a roll with someone who has a game that’s completely foreign and you must adjust yours, opening up your game and using your own style at the right moments. You improve so much each time. I had a great time there and I keep hearing how awesome the gi classes are at night so that’s on the checklist for next time.”

On the four days she spent at the academy of friend and GMA Tom DeBlass, the world-class athlete had only praise for what she saw and learned; and, as always, she shares the lessons with her readers. “I’m really impressed with Ocean County BJJ. The kid’s classes are some of the most organized and productive I’ve ever seen, with the kids being walked through simultaneously on steps and having to time their warm ups correctly. He never really spoke or taught to them as if they were kids and it’s amazing how well they rose to the occasion. I guess most of us just assume we have to dumb it down when we really don’t.

“I didn’t learn a ton of new moves on the trip, which is good. I don’t need 1000 things running around in my head. What Tom did was fix details in the game that I’ve already made for myself so that I can be more effective and successful.”

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