I've been really fortunate this year to attend a few excellent seminars that have been incredibly affordable; each of them costing less than $50 for three hours of training. A good friend of mine, Collin Grayson, runs a Caio Terra affiliate in Rockwall, TX and was planning on hosting Gameness sponsored athlete Manny Diaz for a weekend. For those not familiar with Manny he is a high level, world champion brown belt from Caio Terra's academy. What makes him a little different than the "average" high level competitor is that he doesn't train Jiu-Jitsu on a full-time basis like it's his primary job. Manny is married, has children, and a regular job that has him traveling from time to time. He's one of those few guys that is able to balance all of that stuff and somehow compete at the highest levels with success.
Not knowing what the focus of the seminar would be covering I felt like attending was a no-brainer. We were lucky enough to host Manny and Collin for a Friday night rolling session at our own gym. Knowing that Manny has a great top game I expected to get crushed the entire time but found that he has an excellent half guard game. He was fairly playful during the rolls for the most part but had no problems tuning us up and doing what he wanted. It was a really good experience to see what parts of our A game wouldn't work on him and he was helpful to point out things we could do differently.
The next day we met up at Collin's gym in Rockwall for the seminar. I managed to get a few guys from my gym to attend as well. Much to my surprise the first half of the seminar was focused on how he likes to play half guard, maintain distance control, keeping your opponent grounded in the half guard, and 3-4 sweeps from here. I think most of us expected to see Manny's crushing top game but this was a welcomed surprise as half guard is one of my favorite positions. To finish up this position he showed us some Williams Guard options and submissions from half which will work very well for my own game.
Link for Mobile Users: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BWvDFUahmw)
At the end of the seminar Manny rolled individually with every person that stuck around with no breaks between rounds. What a guy! I can't recommend enough that if you have the opportunity to attend one of his seminars or simply train with him...do it! He is very talented, an effective instructor, and a super nice guy. I heard a rumor (well not really) from Caio Terra that Manny plans to open up his own academy in the near future. We wish him luck with that and at the IBJJF World Championships in a couple weeks!
Big thanks to Collin Grayson of CTA - Rockwall, TX for hosting the seminar. If you are in his area please check out his gym. http://ctarockwall.com/academy/