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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

05 March 2005

Training Log: Forum Meeting (Cyberkwoon)

(Well, failed miserably to get to judo, having got lost on the first attempt and given up til later, and also had to miss out a couple of times on ZSK, with hospital appointments and writing work getting in the way. Nevertheless, most regular MA training I've had in a year and a half! I also finally got some much needed sparring practice after a loooong time off...)

UK Cyberkwoon Meeting, March 2005 (Wing Chun, RBSD...and some other stuff), Farnborough, UK - 05/03/2005

After eventually finding the Elles Hall Community Centre, and searching for the elusive entrance, I entered into the usual sight of men in t-shirts and gi trousers talking martial arts, with the odd couple breaking off to exchange a few techniques. Jamie and Dave soon made themselves known, Garrett (Will) and Niem (Sebastian? I think...) being the only other two Kwooners present at the time – the rest of the group was made up by Sillindiedar's (Dave) students.

The meet began with Dave demonstrating some work on the wooden dummy, which everyone had a brief go at (well, I took slightly longer due to chatting with the guy holding the dummy….), after which Dave moved on to two person drills, and finally the ‘progressive’ application. This pattern continued with the next drill, and finished with some ‘sticky hands’, or chi sao.

The next section, after a brief break and the entrance of the other Kwooners (who had taken the scenic route through Brighton), was taken by Jamie and therefore focused on self defence. Jamie went through two types of ‘fence’, the ‘calm’ and ‘aggressive’ versions, making clear the importance of verbalisation. As everyone on here knows, SD isn’t really my thing, and Will and I felt rather uncomfortable attempting to shout at each other, so ended up chatting instead. As fun as smacking pads screaming ‘Burger King!’ can be, I was looking forward to discussing flashy funkiness with Dimitri (sp? I'm guessing with two i's rather than two from poster name, but meh. He's on Cyberkwoon as Dimi-3) later on.

However, before the joys of gymnastic fliptastic fun, I had a number of sparring sessions. First off, Dimitri and I squared off, where I was swiftly knocked to the floor from a spurning kick (I think?), and after a relatively tentative stand-up exchange, I managed a sloppy takedown to be rewarded with a painful leglock.

The next spar was a bit less intense, moving to semi-contact with Will. This was very familiar territory for me, similar to my ZSK spars against the lower belts, with Will landing a few punches, to which I responded with a rare accurate back-kick.

Finally, I sparred one of Dave’s students, Greg, who had earlier been explaining the concepts of Wing Chun to me, particularly the infamous ‘centreline’ theory, but he was also a reasonably experienced thai boxer (along with some other styles, I think). This was a small step-up from the spar with Will, though fortunately the contact level still wasn’t too hefty, or the punches that Greg slipped through my stiff guard would have been rather more bruiseworthy – I managed to answer with a side-kick to the stomach, but that was just about the only successful offence I was able to muster.

As the meeting’s martial arts came to a close, I asked Dimitri to lay down the flash, and he rose to the challenge with a smooth backflip, adding somersaults, butterfly kicks and no-handed cartwheels once we moved to the grass outside. Jamie got the rusty flash-muscles working when he joined us later, but this acrobatic epilogue was cruelly short - self-defence is so ugly.

On the other hand, I was able to cool my disappointment with a creamy pint of John Smith’s down The Swan, where the remaining participants sat down for some familiar discussion – martial arts and self defence tended to dominate the conversation, though I tried to ask Dimitri and his girlfriend Elke about their life in Belgium; obviously, the fact I was born there was straining to leap out my mouth and flop excitedly on the table.

We finished up with a Nepalese meal, and the martial arts discussion continued with Jamie, Dimitri, Will and Tim (MantisGuy), briefly moving off into film and politics, but soon returning to the classic Kwoon topics.

It’s a shame more of the Kwooners couldn’t make it, but I’m glad I can put a few faces to names, and hopefully we can all do it again soon. Maybe next time we'll pop down to Belgium and admire the beautiful scenery of the red light district - a terrible place to get stuck, apparently...

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