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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

16 January 2007

16/01/2007 - ZSK

University of Warwick Zhuan Shu Kuan, (ZSK), Rod Richardson, Coventry, UK - 16/01/2007

Didn’t make the MMA class I wanted to on Saturday – unfortunately, turns out that’s not going to be convenient after all. I’m hoping to still try it out in May, when I’ll have my BJJ contract paused (as I’ll be in the Caribbean for half of may). Should be a good substitute. Would also be cool if I can make the JKD school on Barbados, but that’s probably pushing it a bit.

This was my first session back since 5th December, meaning that I’ve had 12.5hrs of BJJ since my last ZSK class. So, felt a little rusty going back to striking, in particular on the stretching, but was good to whack the pads again. I also decided I’d waited more than long enough for my shoulder to recover from the judo injury in Oct 2005, so held pads for the first full class for well over a year (up to this point, I’ve been sticking with the heavy bag so I don’t get any jarring against my left shoulder).

Techniques were all as usual, with the compulsory movements for the first two grades (a bunch of blocks and then a bunch of kicks from back stance), followed by front, spurning and side kicks from the rear leg against pads. Was also good to see Paddy again and have a chat with him – sounds like his black belt grading is likely to be in June, so hopefully that won’t clash with the Birmingham Throwdown. The 7th July date would probably work either way, but will have to see. Would also be good to have Rod down this time, so will have to remember to ask him if and when he’s up for it this summer.

Sparring (at least standing up) is something else I haven’t done for a while now. I’ve never really enjoyed stand-up sparring, and find it a lot harder to get something out of in comparison to rolling. First partner was a relatively new guy, who as with most new guys had trouble getting himself to actually make contact. That’s fine by me, as its means I can settle back and work my defence, although I could just as easily step back to avoid the kicks and punches. Second partner, however, was Paddy, who I know is keen to go heavier contact with me. Mainly this is due to the fact that apart from Rod and the black belts who turn up on Sunday, he hasn’t really got anyone else he can go all out against.

Still, I don’t think he was going especially heavy today, though I’m sure he would have given me a good smack if I’d left an opening. I was fairly cautious, though I was trying to force myself to be offensive and learn something from the spar. Unfortunately, the voice in my head screaming DON’T GET INJURED DON’T GET INJURED DON’T GET INJURED made that a little hard. I’m even more timid than normal since that injury, as I’d really hate to miss a chunk of BJJ. That meant that I treated this as a comparatively relaxed way to get used to sparring stand-up again, though admittedly I do tend to take it easy as a matter of course if my partner doesn’t press forward. The usual problems of crappy punches, not following up strikes and backing away too readily are all there, but something I can work on in later sessions. Of course, I only get one session of striking a week at most, so I doubt I’m ever going to make great improvements. My main focus currently is groundwork, so the striking has been taking a back seat since last November.

Next session should be BJJ tomorrow. There is a slight chance I’ll have to miss it, as it depends on how long the meeting takes. It’s at 12:00, so if it stays under two hours, I should be able to make the train from Leamington to London no problem (ideally I’d be at Marylebone by 17:00). Can but hope. Then again, I've got the Saturday free this week, so either way should get at least two sessions of BJJ.

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