Two weeks before the Worlds I took my coaches advice and ventured up to Trainers Elite to roll with Helen. Sure enough, he was right. Although she was smaller and less experienced than me, she made me work harder than anyone else her size and belt level. She has grips of steel and a good inverted guard game. I absolutely benefited from working with her in my preparation for that tournament. Shortly after my knee healed, I came back during open mat to roll with Helen again. If you've met her before you are very lucky. She's a fire cracker of a woman with a heart of gold. She is also a self proclaimed "big dork". Needless to say it didn't take us long to develop a friendship.
Cooper's classes begin with a traditional bow in at the beginning and end of classes. Then a typical warm up (running, sprints, wrestler stance inside and outside, etc.). Next the warm-up continues to drills that mimic the movement for the instructional portion.We did exercises like passing the guard to knee on belly back and forth on both sides and grabbing hands with your partner and lifting your hips up to switch sides back and forth. It was a good length of time for a warm up and at a good level of intensity.
The instructional portion of the classes consisted of 2-3 technical moves that played off each other (I.e. Knee on belly, mount, choke from mount to arm bar). The class had a nice movement and flow. It was easy to follow and Cooper was detailed in his instruction. I picked up some sneaky moves that can fit into my game nicely.
Overall, my impression of Trainers Elite has been favorable. The instruction is up to par, the environment and classes are relaxed yet structured, there are quality training partners, the price is reasonable and the class times are adequate to accommodate my schedule and goals. Cooper is a full time BJJ guy, a good instructor with a big bag of tricks. The only minor draw back is location. It's about a 30 min drive one way from home. I've been spoiled living 10 minutes of biking distance from my last academy. However, on my school day it's only 15 min from campus so I've been able to check out noon classes in addition to Saturday and weeknight classes. The noon classes are smaller than the evening and weekend, giving participants an opportunity to get more one on one time with Cooper so you can ask more questions and get feedback.
I also got to meet Cleber Luciano during his seminar when I photographed it a few months ago. I had fun documenting the seminar and getting to know the team better. If you missed the past Cleber Luciano seminar you'll want to catch the next one which will be on December 3, 2011. I got some great shots from the last seminar and look forward to participating in the next one. Thank you to Sean Cooper, Helen and the team for sharing your mats with me...I'll be back for more!