‘Chess is Jiu Jitsu for the mind, Jiu Jitsu is chess for the body’ – this saying made me curious. For years I have been hearing about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. My friends who are practicing always spoke highly of it, so when one of our beloved members, Flow MMA and its founder Carol Paterson-Smith, invited me to give it a go, of course I said yes!
The journey from Lisbon to Cascais was beautiful. I took the train from Cais do Sodré which leaves every 20 minutes. You can see the coastline throughout most of the trip and it’s beautiful. I take this time to relax, get my head together – train journeys are somewhat meditative to me. From Cascais’ train station it’s a quick, just under 10-minute, walk to the gym.
When I arrived, team greeted me with a smile – everyone was so fit! Carol showed me around the studio, which includes a space for yoga and private classes and a room for larger capacity training. The gym has big boxing bags, the floor is covered with mattresses, lots of equipment.
As I have never tried Jiu Jitsu before, we agreed to have a one-hour private class before the group class starts. The session was with Carol, who has years of experience practicing Jiu Jitsu. We started with basics. She showed me three important moves: how to escape when you are held down on the floor, grabbed by the neck or held tight with legs wrapped around you. First thought that crossed my mind was that we all should know how to handle this kind of situation.
Class started with 6 of us, all at different levels of experience. I soon realised that the lack of knowledge I had didn’t matter – we were all there to learn new techniques and improve our personal skills. It was not about kicking each other’s ass. During the class we learned more escaping techniques, how to take the opponent down and even did some sparring at the end (sparring in Jiu Jitsu means the participants fight one against the other). I learned that Jiu Jitsu is not at all about punching someone in the face, but about using different techniques to take them down while reducing the impact on yourself. I was sparring with a woman who has been training Jiu Jitsu for a long time and, of course, she took me down time after time, but she also had the patience to explain the technique along the way.
At the end of the class we all shook hands and gave each other a friendly hug, what a team spirit! I enjoyed every minute of it and came out feeling confident, strong, more capable of dealing with uncomfortable situations. Moreover, I met some amazing people that are truly inspiring.
Jiu Jitsu class at Flow MMA was more than just a physical workout at the gym – the atmosphere that Carol, David and the entire team has created made me feel a part of a close group achieving great results together and supporting one another while at it. I left feeling inspired and proud of what I have learnt that day.
About Flow MMA Cascais
Flow MMA Cascias was founded by Carol Paterson-Smith and David Smith. After years of working in the investment banking industry and being under a tremendous amount of stress, Carol felt that her health was seriously effected and decided to take a break from the intensive lifestyle.
As a woman of facts, Carol decided to take blood and DNA tests which accurately reflect a person’s physical state. She then worked with top Drs to change her diet, lifestyle and supplements to improve her health. This has now become the FLOW “Hack Yourself” programme. At that time in her life, Carol was introduced to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which she became passionate about very quickly. Carol’s years of business experience, together with her excitement for martial arts, led her to the next project – opening a place where others can go through the same positive process she had. From doing the DNA test to understanding your individual body and knowing how to give it what it needs.
Talking about her project, Carol was introduced to David who has years of military and security training and was a master fitness trainer for the military. He contributed with his knowledge of training, such as Combat HIIT, Muay Thai, MMA etc. Together they are building technology to help clients customise their training to get maximum results.
Together, Carol and David decided to open the space in Cascais, Portugal. If to start something new, why not do so in one of the most beautiful small towns in Europe? They have succeeded in developing a friendly, pleasant and highly professional space which I will definitely come visit again and can confidently recommend you to go and give it a try. You may find your better self there! I sure did.
SkillsGorilla Founder & CEO Hila and Flow MMA Cascais team after the training.