This week has been pretty fun at our gym. My coach's first black belt, Hector Munoz, has been in town for the week training with us. He brought along friend and training partner Leonard Garcia (most known for MMA and his fights in the UFC). Rather than focusing on MMA during the week they are here working their Jiu-Jitsu. Leonard Garcia is still based out in Albuquerque, New Mexico and spends most of his time training at Jackson's MMA but said he was going back to his roots and focusing on his grappling.
Garcia is well known for his slug-fests in the UFC and WEC organizations. He is now fighting for Legacy Fighting Championships and is scheduled to fight Daniel Pineda on November 14th in Houston. Pineda has excellent Jiu-Jitsu (12 of his 16 wins by submission) so it's not a big surprise that Garcia is focusing on his ground game for this fight. I didn't know it but Garcia's first exposure to the martial arts was through Jiu-Jitsu. I got to train with him on Monday night; my coach paired us up and it was cool seeing him train in a gi. He is currently a brown belt and has been for quite some time. He said that he was initially a submission guy when he started MMA winning most of his fights utilizing his ground skills. As many know organizations like the UFC pay very well for fighters willing to keep it on the feet and slug it out. This had an influence on his training and focus in MMA. Garcia basically stopped training Jiu-Jitsu and put his focus on Muay Thai kickboxing and nogi/mma grappling. He says that he wish he had chosen a different path because he knows his first real strengths have always been in Jiu-Jitsu.
It was a real pleasure getting to train with him on Monday. I can't express enough what a nice, humble person he is. Many of my training partners said the same thing. We got to roll one round at the end of the class. I was able to catch a sweep from open guard and almost completed a pass. He was able to escape and catch me in his closed guard. From here he had some nice attacks. He was constantly moving chaining sweeps and submissions. He caught me in an omoplata that he came close to finishing but I was lucky enough to escape. I wish I would have had a little more time this week to train with him but my schedule simply didn't allow it.
Both he and Hector have been training twice a day at the gym (nogi days and gi in the evenings) so they along with our own guys have gotten some great work cross-training. Having them here to visit has really brought in a lot of people that want a chance to train with them. Both are headed back down to Corpus Christi to train at Hector's gym Full Contact Fight Academy.
|Me & Leonard Garcia|
I had not rolled with Hector Munoz since I was a newbie white belt in 2008. All I can say is wow is he good. He is a little older since then (so am I) and probably even better now having been a black belt for about seven years. I can say that Hector is a true prototype of my coach; simply a younger version. He is planning on competing at Nogi Worlds in a couple weeks. If you are visiting the South Texas area I highly recommend dropping in and training with Hector and his crew. Very tough and technical bunch of people there.
|Me & Hector Munoz|
|Leonard Garcia test run in the Cryo|
Leonard got to talking to the owner and realized they had a common friend in me. Justin Miller, the owner of Below Zero Cryo, managed to make it up to our gym last night for open mat to train with all of us. Packed house with tons of talent. I'm hoping to try out the Cryo-craze soon as it's a much nicer experience than the typical ice bath according to everyone I have talked to.