On Thursday 31st March 2016, Denny Prokopos arrived in the UK for what would be an immense 60 hours experience in our beloved England.
Denny witnessed the passion and heart behind 10th Planet Birmingham’s operation. More on the seminar he gave later.. Denny is on a European tour, the first ever grappler to earn a coveted 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Black belt is covering mad miles as he dots his way around central european, nordic and scandinavian nations.
On his travels Denny found himself here in beautiful England. His training partner and friend, UFC veteran Jake Shields, competed on the latest installment of arguably the UK’s most highly respected nogi tournament; Polaris.
In his corner would of course be Denny; no amount of jetlag, sightseeing or lack of carbohydrates would prevent Denny from being right there, right behind his friend, relaying key pieces advice throughout what would turn out to be a real grudge match.
At Metamoris Denny cornered Eddie Bravo in his complete domination over Royler Gracie. At 28 years of age Denny is already a well respected, highly regarded cornerman.
Denny’s commitment to the 10th Planet system is second to none. He is 10P4L through and through.
Elements MMA are still relatively new to the system, being in our 4th year as official affiliates.
So it was encouraging then, when discussing the finer points of the seminar via whatsapp calls, that Denny made it clear that he was here not only to represent 10th Planet but here to represent the boss himself; Eddie Bravo.
What that meant is that Denny was able to award Mick Broster, head instructor at 10th Planet Birmingham, his highly sought after brown belt.
Mick has been grappling forever and has focused his training on the 10th Planet system since 2008. So his brown belt came not a moment too soon.
All in attendance gave their appreciation for Mick’s grappling prowess as well as being grateful that Denny, besides taking a phenomenal seminar, was able to represent Eddie and give out a much anticipated promotion.
Since then things have moved fast for 10th Planet Birmingham, with Mick finally awarding the first promotions since Elements descended upon the Lakeside Centre in late 2014.
First up Mick awarded his longest serving student, Jim Burman, his purple belt.
Jim has trained in martial arts all of his adult life. A judo black belt, we started training submission grappling the same year.
I have done more rounds on the mat with Jim than anybody else. Mornings at Rubery were a favourite for us to have umpteen rolls, for years rarely did anyone else turn up.
I’ve got several of our rolls from the various stages of our growth taped, and it is very interesting on a personal level to see how we have both developed.
Jim has long been capable of holding his own on the mats with guys of all belt levels; travelling to Marcelo Garcia’s and training with Denny at his home base in San Francisco to further his skills in recent years.
Mick’s influence over all of his students is obvious, but in no one is this more true than Jim.
A well deserved and highly anticipated promotion!
Next up I was fortunate enough to also be recognised for my purple belt, thanks to Eddie, Denny and of course, my master, Mick Broster.
Having trained for almost 10 years, most of that under Mick’s tutelage, the belts are not something I strive for consciously day to day. The goal is black belt and beyond. The goal is 10th Planet Paris and beyond. The goal is MMA fights and to where that leads, time will tell.
Day to day the focus is always on that next training session, and what holes need to be filled and where strengths can be explored and developed.
Although we don’t wear the gi at all, 10th Planet Birmingham is proud to share that same bjj lineage as all of the world’s greatest grapplers. Having had belts handed down starting with Mitsuyo Maeda and becoming world renowed as legit through the Gracie lineage, it is our head coach Eddie Bravo who began the no gi revolution within this particular channel of the original lineage.
Denny was first in what is a growing line of 10th Planet black belts to make the grade.
His enthusiasm and passion for jiu jitsu shows no sign of ever slowing down.
Over the day and a half I spent in his company I can honestly say I have never known anyone as hopelessly in love with grappling as Denny.
I would like to thank Denny now and hand over to one of our brightest students to have become a 10th Planet protege over the last 12 months:
Amos Mallard is a writer, graphic designer and above all else; an artist.
His piece on Denny’s seminar stands out as the finest account of a jiu jitsu seminar to have been written.
And with Denny claiming our event flyer to be the “undoubtedly best ever (flyer)” it’s fair to say this event will go down in the hearts and minds of all in attendance as a truly great experience.
Obsession: a seminar with Denny Prokopos
That was what struck me first about Denny, the aura of composed calm. It’s a common disposition in many fighters, that sense of ease, especially when they’re in their natural habitat. But Denny was a little different. There was almost an ecclesiastical detachment in his demeanour, like a wandering swami, moving from village to village sharing his theology.
When he began to speak it was in clipped and considered sentences, to the point. He told us who he was and why he was here and began the class with some yogic breathing and stretching. His flexibility was immediately apparent, with his legs spread wide he lowered his forehead to the mat. There were a few grins from those of us who still groan as we try to force our stiff bodies to do what we want them too. Then Denny began to teach.
Follow the link for the full piece: