Midwest Pan Ams Camp 2017 (Days 6 – 10) “The Downhill”

This post will conclude the Midwest Pan Ams Camp Series.  I talked about the Beginning (Day 1), the Middle (Days 2 – 5), and now am putting down my thoughts about the End (last days of camp).

At the tail end of the Middle of Camp, everyone started to work on getting their second wind.  Friday through Sunday are always the most intense sessions of Midwest Pan Ams Camp because that’s when traveling upper belts from out of town are able to make it most regularly.BJJ Drilling Time

Everyone at camp knew that fresh monsters like Marcio Navarro, Steve Patterson, Kyle Watson and “Ninja” Pinto were headed down.  We began being a little more energy conscious in our mid week rolls and focusing on recovery even more to get ready.  This lead to tournament style “positional control” situations which gave very realistic training.

Also by the middle of the week, our bodies were partially used to what we were putting them through.  Now, we just had to get our bodies to the mat and they would do the rest as long as we promised to hydrate, feed, and rest them later.

The Black Belts Arrive.

The Black Belts Have Arrived Group PhotoOne of my biggest regrets is that since I only attended one of the three training sessions a day I didn’t get to train with as many of the talented people that came in as I wanted.  I heard great things about the instruction at times I missed, and fun rolls and training from other students about EVERY single visitor we had!

“Ninja” Pinto

Ninja is a firecracker.  He never shies away from opponents that are larger than him (which is lots of people) and plays an exciting fast paced style.

Navarro and Ninja
Navarro and Ninja

I didn’t get to train with him this year really, but what I remember from last year is how precise his movements are.  He seems to slice apart a position with surgical accuracy.  Complex series of movements work great for him and he chains intricate movements together beautifully.


One of the things that sticks with you after meeting Ninja is his sincerity, and his excitement of learning and improving others. He is one of those guys that is on the mat after every training session, working through questions that came up in his rolls, and replaying options of where he could have made better choices. 

Marcio Navarro

I had the least interaction with Marcio of any of the instructors that came down due to scheduling.  Everyone that attended the session he lead and rolled with him had only great things to say about him.  I also enjoyed watching him roll with people I have rolled with before.  He is definitely very skilled and I look forward to more time on the mats with him next year!

Kyle Watson

IKyle Watson, Steve Patterson, Ninja Pinto, Brian Stuebner completely missed Kyle this year, but last year he was a super fun training partner.  He has a really unique style and loves tough training.  He brings a great combination of wrestling knowledge and Jiu Jitsu to his game.


Steve Patterson

Anything that Steve does tends to be a good fit for exactly how I should do it because our body types are a close match.  Most other instructors, I have to translate the move to work for my long limbs, or changing levels and height.  With Steve, he has already largely done that translation.

Steve Patterson SelfieThe biggest concept I will remember from what Steve talked about also was the idea of being “meaner.”  Steve has competed against some of the world’s TOP black belts and he said that one of the biggest differences is that they don’t care if they have to do mean stuff.

Squishing people is one of the guilty pleasures in Jiu Jitsu.  We don’t talk about it, but it is fun.

When I was a white belt I really focused on doing everything technically perfect.  I looked on roughness as the opposite of good technique and a crutch.  I think this SHOULD be the focus for White and Blue belts especially.  At a certain level it is important to bring back some ruthlessness to the technique to achieve my goals.

Q and A

This was one of my favorite sessions of camp.  Candid discussions with high level competitors featuring great techniques and some interesting conversations including…

  • Ninja and Steve talking about their early days training and their path to black belt.
  • Ninja talking about a move his professor does very well that Ninja doesn’t.  His professor views it as basic but Ninja has never been able to make it work for him.  I have felt like that about tons of moves over the years.

Have you tried crossfacing from there?

  • Steve asking “Have you tried crossfacing from there?” as an answer to multiple positional questions.  Usually, that actually was the right answer too. Ha!

Midwest Pan Ams Camp 2017 was a great success

Safety is key in events like this, and EVERYONE who came to these sessions focused on Steve Patterson, Marcio Navarro, Kevin Williams, Ninja Pintokeeping their partners safe while putting in very intense training.  This is a sign of high level great training partners.

Training with black belts is awesome, but this year I really saw how important those other upper belts are (browns and purples and even blues) to keep the training pushing along.

Matthew Lowry Training Hard To Get Better At Jiu JitsuWhite and blue belts took a huge jump in skill.  The few white and blue belts who braved these sessions took giant leaps in their abilities.  If you are a blue belt and you just felt the pressure of a top notch black belt, your fellow blue belt’s game no longer feels as threatening.  Training camps like this are positively a shortcut to improvement.

Next year, I need to get my life set to train more.  Once a day isn’t the same experience at all.  

Set aside time on your calendar the first half of March to attend Pan Ams camp next year. (Follow Springfield BJJ on Facebook To stay up to date)

Instructor links

Marcio Navarro – https://www.facebook.com/marcio.navarro.52

Ninja Pinto – https://www.facebook.com/C.M.Ninja

Kyle Watson – https://www.facebook.com/kyle.watson.50

Steve Patterson – https://www.facebook.com/UofGFPatterson

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