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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a purple belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©2004-2016 Can Sönmez

25 October 2006

24/10/2006 - ZSK

University of Warwick Zhuan Shu Kuan (ZSK), Rod Richardson, Coventry, UK – 24/10/2006

Chatted to a new person called Jas (Jaz? I assume its short for a fairly long Indian name, but can’t be certain), which was nice. She’s been to most classes now, so looks to be a regular, although unfortunately she’s a third year, so won’t be there all that long (considering I’ll be there til 2010). Didn’t manage to get her to come out with us for drinks afterwards, but at least the social thing is there: now I just need to do the same with a large group of noobies. Not many people turned up today, but then that’s to be expect of Tuesdays – most people show at Sundays.

All in all, proved to be a good session. Paddy wasn’t there, so I took the warm-up, with the usual running round then counting out 40 press-ups etc in sets of 10. I also managed to throw in some training on the sprawl (run on the spot, then sprawl on the count), which I’ve been wanting to try out for a while: more fun than squat thrusts, anyway.

When Rod came in as I was doing neck stretches, he cleared something up for me I’ve been wondering for a while. I said to swivel the neck but not go all the way round, at which point Rod stepped in and said ‘Rubbish’. His point was that you need to be able to take a punch to the head, which involves neck flexibility. So, that confirms the prevailing ZSK opinion on the issue. I wasn’t totally convinced, because as far as I understand it, a physio would disagree, but then the main instructor Glen has been competing for many years now and apparently recommends this exercise. His neck appears to be fine. Of course, worth further research on my part – always good to have documented evidence on any topic. Don’t really fancy fucking up my neck just because Glen seems to think its ok.

Rod did some formal work, which elicited a groan from me, but I could at least see the point – he was working coordination (switching between front and back stance on blocks and punches) and strengthening the legs. Personally, I’d rather he did this with a more practical stance: e.g., switching in a fighting stance against pads, not bothering with the highly impractical blocks. However, there are people that join the class for the formal stuff, so I guess this appeals to them. I can live with it, as at least I can just try doing it fast and hard so it works the fitness a bit.

We moved on to pads, which was much more to my liking, and as I was working with Rod rather than Paddy, I finally got to get some advice on punching, which I’ve needed for a while. I’m always messing up my wrists, so I need to improve the positioning when punching, and Rod also gave me some useful tips on starting with the elbow low on a hook then coming in with the forearm horizontal. I didn’t quite get it down, as my wrist was still protesting, but definitely better than normal. Same goes for the other punching combo, which was simply jab-cross-jab-cross (though Rod switched it up to jab-cross-jab-grab and knee for me on the left, as that shoulder is still dodgy).

Sparring also proved pretty useful. My sparring has always been pants, so it was good to work with Rod and try to really concentrate on what I was doing. I tend to work off the counter, so I spend a lot of time attempting to anticipate the other persons actions so I can move in and kick off the block. I’d like to be able to move in with punches, but my upper body work is still too crap for that to work very often. Was nice to get contact on a kick to Rod’s head, but it was only glancing and mainly on the toes, so if I’d managed to connect properly, would probably have busted myself up. At least it got through his guard, even if I wasn’t too happy with my distancing (should have been closer so I hit squarely on the instep or shin).

Sparring with Adam was also handy, as he had busted his toes, which meant we restricted ourselves to boxing. He caught me with noticeable impact twice, particularly just at the end where he landed a shot to my forehead, but I think I got a few body shots in. Hard to tell, though – my punching is poor.

Looking forward to the BJJ intro session at Roger Gracie’s in London on Thursday – should be good. Price is likely to be ridiculous, but I’m determined to at least go for a while, even if its well overpriced. I’ve been wanting to go to BJJ so long now its getting embarrassing! Almost forgot my boots outside, which was cunning, so good thing no-one nicked em. Honest students at Warwick, I guess, or perhaps there was no-one in my size…

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