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UKBJJA Ref’s Course Review

This weekend we hosted the UKBJJA referee's course. This marks the third time that I've done the course. The first time I traveled up to Glasgow, where it was hosted at The Griphouse, and run by Dewi Coles.

The second time, Dewi came to us, and we hosted a course in Arch 3 King Edward Bridge. We had trouble getting the numbers for that course, which is a shame considering that it's a great course for both competitors and wannabe referees, but it was a great course all the same. Dewi does a good job of making it interactive and keeping it interesting. That's quite impressive when you consider that the IBJJF rules manual is longwinded, and not particularly interesting.

This time, we hosted the course at Arch 5 Westgate Road. We attracted some more attendees from other local gyms, and ran through a quick version of the course with Marcelo Coppa. His way of delivering the course was less interactive, and he "taught to the test", which is something I have mixed feelings about. The test is mostly multiple choice and filling out tables, so it's a good way to ensure a high pass rate, but people were getting bored sitting through three hours of talking about jiu jitsu. Live examples keep it fun.

Marcelo definitely knows his stuff, and he was able to confidently answer some tricky questions, which is good. I came away having learned a few things (e.g. about getting flattened out on your back in half-guard being worthy of an advantage). One of the guys I train with attended the course, after having done a class... during Ramadan. He's strict about Ramadan too and doesn't even touch water during the day, so his brain must have been fried!

I passed the test my first time and haven't been resitting because I don't intend to ref. I still enjoy getting updates on the rules and it's nice to see people from other gyms too. The plan is to host one of these courses every year, to try to build up a stable of qualified referees, although so far almost everyone who has attended the courses has been an 'interested competitor' rather than someone who wants to work tournaments as a ref!

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