Saturday 6th of October, 2007. It’s three in the afternoon and I leave the train that brought me from London Victoria. Those are familiar grounds to me. I started coming to Caterham in the end of 2003, just a month after arriving in England. At that time he was a very talented blue belt, that won the London Open later in 2004, and already coaching a enthusiastic group of 10 to 15 people with a core group of 5 guys closer to him, plus many kids learning grappling, striking and self defence.
The Applied Fighting Systems joined the Rio Grappling Network and while I lived in London I went there several times, coaching, joining Steve’s classes and training with the crew. After moving out of the country, I keep coming here whenever I am in London, and I can tell from my observations that the group in Surrey is constantly improving its technical quality and the group is growing, with a diversity of people from all ages. The core group now has at least ten people and the classes have sometimes 30 people without counting kids of all ages, keeping the mats full and the atmosphere is bright, everyone motivated to learn and no agressiveness is shown, there is a lot of respect and camaraderie, things I see that are very important no matter what you train or do.
As a leader of this group, Steve has commited himself for a very long time, he has been training and coaching for nine years non stop, putting a lot of time and effort in making this happen.
On a sidenote, this month is the ninth anniversary of me receiving my black belt, and now I awarded my first black belt outside Brasil, after making Steve work through all the students (22) in a progression from white to brown belts. After he was tired, I jumped in his neck 😉
This training was not meant to be a test as I knew already that Steve Haydock was already a black belt, with skills, attributes and knowledge a genuine black belt needs. The idea was to make it a day not to be forgotten, and nothing like a hard workout to remind you how far you have come since the white belt days.
Cheers to everyone present at that day, our guests from Carlson Gracie team, Dave Lucas that came from Switzerland specially to this event and congratulations to Matt Peters, Dave Pawan and Jamil Soroudji that received their purple belts.