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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

06 July 2005

Training Log: Zhuan Shu Kuan

(I’ve been trying to get to as many Tuesday ZSK classes as possible since March, but I think I’ve only made about 9 up until now. For months I’ve been meaning to phone up Bob Spour, who runs a muay thai class in Kings Norton, I think, but having an intense fear of phone calls combined with chronic laziness means I haven’t done so yet. Maybe some day… )

University of Warwick Zhuan Shu Kuan (ZSK), Rod Richardson (usually, but this time I directed my own training), Coventry, UK – 05/07/2005

It’s been a while since I last wrote anything here, so I thought it was about time for an update! Today, it was another ZSK class, which is the most regular training I’ve got at the moment, but with a difference. This was the first session of holiday training, which is always interesting, and not just because its free. I’m well used to these, having gone along intermittently for the past few years, and it usually ends up as just me and Paddy, a friend of mine from my undergraduate days who also hasn’t managed to leave Warwick yet. Occasionally our instructor, Rod, will turn up, but this session he was apparently ill, so it was the familiar setting of just me and Paddy trying to direct our own training. That can lead to us simply chatting for large portions of the ‘lesson’, but I was determined that wouldn’t happen this time, seeing as my training is considerably less frequent than it used to be…

It took Paddy a while to get there, so while waiting I threw some punches and kicks at the brand new punch bag, which was cunningly placed next to a pair of doors, rather than the padded area of wall which hosted the last one. Good to know the Sports Centre has such excellent common sense. Nevertheless, this punchbag doesn’t have large rips down the side with stuffing hanging out, so that’s an improvement – I went through the simple jab straight cross combination, then tried to do a few movement drills (i.e., whack it, dodge the backswing, whack it again), finishing off with some basic front, side and turning kicks. Suitably satisfied with the whole millimetres I managed to move the bag each time (oooh), I moved on the running around the room doing press-ups and crunches.

Fortunately for my arms and abs, Paddy entered the room at this point. After a brief chat, I toddled off downstairs to grab the cupboard keys for the mats and pads, after which I got ready for some groundwork. Paddy isn’t quite so keen on MMA as me, though I have successfully got him hooked on UFC DVDs (he’s less impressed by early Pride, but then there is rather a lot of grappling for someone even newer to the sport than myself). So, after the requisite spinny kicks into the activity room’s handy posing mirror, I showed him what little I knew of the ground, going through the clinch, mount and guard, then moving on to armbars and chokes from the mount, the same from the guard, some leg locks and ankle locks (the latter being rather less successful, as I’m some distance from knowing what the hell I’m doing myself), finishing up with a basic one-leg and two-leg takedown.

After that, we went through Paddy’s fixed spar for the black-tag grading, which are frankly rather silly. For example, one of the defences begins with both participants kneeling on the floor. The attacker goes up on his right knee and throws a straight right, while the defender crescent kicks that arm – still from kneeling – and then tries to side kick the other guy in the face. It served as yet another reminder of why I really can’t be bothered with gradings for the foreseeable future; this marvellous display of knee-busting foolery would be part of my own next grading.

We finished off with some padwork (after we’d got over the excitement of playing football with Swiss balls), taking my favoured method of trying to make it as ‘alive’ as possible. This involves (having learnt from Rod some years before) the person holding the pads shifting their angle in order to indicate hook, uppercut, jab-straight etc (unless the striker preferred the pad guy to call the shots), occasionally throwing a kick. I then added something from Steve Dempsey’s class, where the pad person takes the striker down and gets mount, after which the striker then pounds the pads from the ground. After a while, the striker takes the top position, and strikes down instead.

Next week, Rod should be back, and I’m also hoping to finally get my girlfriend down to training (after all, it’s where we first met 5 years ago!), which would be rather handy as she has a useful accessory; a car.

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