Training with Georges St. Pierre

Derek NoppeCorrespondent IJanuary 18, 2008

I woke up well before my alarm this morning, my head still very foggy with a nasty head cold. How am I ever going to train today—pushing forty and a bad head cold to boot?

Three shots of oil of oregano, a couple cups of coffee, and good soak in a hot bath to get my hips ready for the pain. No time for a real breakfast, heck I am too nervous to eat anyhow. It is GSP after all—I've been watching him on TV. I jump in my car for the 45 minute drive to the seminar location. One quick stop to make, all Canadians will understand how I can not make this drive without my Tim’s, but sadly the line is far too long.

As I drive I keep thinking about what I am heading for, what is in store for me. I think back on some other seminars I have attended and begin to doubt myself...I am never going to be able to hang with these kids.

I finally arrive at the location—only broke a few minor traffic laws on the drive in. I am relieved to see that there is still a line at the door. I quickly move through the line of fighters, thankful for the online registration. Two wrist bands are attached and I am in. I am surprised at the size of the room and at how full of Ultimate Fighter wannabes it is.

At first glance it looks more like the preparation for some B-rate martial art tournament than a seminar with the World Welter Weight UFC Champ. Approximately 200 students line the mats stretching and warming up, another 100 or so sit in the spectator section waiting.

The crowd starts a chant of  GSP, GSP, GSP, accompanied with stomping and clapping, like we were waiting for a rock star to walk out on stage. Then the man of the hour walked into the room and the crowd erupted with a huge standing ovation. Dressed in training shorts and his Affliction tee shirt Georges St. Pierre sheepishly waved to all in the room. It is easy to see that fame has not gone to his head, as he openly blushes when the crowd continues the ovation for a minute or two.

Georges breaks the ice by explaining to the group that he does not have anything prepared for the seminar...hmmm, kind of the way I teach all my classes. Like a true martial artist he wants to have the flexibility and freedom to teach and demonstrate anything the group might ask of him. Georges could not hem making a few comments on his fights with Matt Hughes and the crowd answered back with a round of applause. He is just as he seems on TV—a very likable guy, well spoken, in broken English grant it.

For the next two hours Georges would go over a technique, demonstrating it in slow motion, semi-speed motion from all different angles. Fighters than paired off and practiced what was shown, Georges circulating around the room answering questions while we practised. He stopped us every now and then to change the technique or answer questions about, diet, training, cutting weight, etc.

The morning ended with a photo session, where Georges made himself as available as possible to everyone.

I then slipped out for a quick lunch to write down my thoughts and feed the machine. I had made it through half, but this was the stuff that is already my strength, how would I do when we started to roll?

The afternoon session started pretty much the same way. GSP, GSP, GSP, and out he came. A quick show of hands to see how many of us were in both seminars showed that more than half were training with me that morning. I am happy to say that there did seem to be less in the afternoon grappling session.

Georges again demonstrated techniques for all, slowly and from many different angles. We started with some basic take downs, single leg, again pairing off with a new partner to work on what was shown.

The afternoon session seemed to go at a much faster pace, we quickly moved to some more advanced techniques. It was great to see how smoothly Georges moves from one technique to another, seeming not to expend much energy at all. Training the take downs and ground work was a little difficult with the limited space but everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves.

I am sorry to say that my only one on one time with Georges was spent asking about the reversal of a guillotine choke, but his advise did really help.

For all of you out there that were hoping to hear more about Georges and his views on politics, or the French vs. English in Canada, I'm sorry. I am a fighter and this was a once and a life time experience for me. I was training with GSP.

Watch for the UFC to come to Montreal, you will surely be able to see and hear how Canada love RUSH!

Until then keep your hands up and your chin down!