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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

19 October 2005

18-19/10/2005 - KJJ & ZSK

18/10/05 – Zhuan Shu Kuan, University of Warwick

Having taken the last fortnight off training due to flu, it was good to finally get back to a session. I took it easy on the warm-up, as I was still feeling slightly clogged up, but it seemed while not 100%, my body was happy enough to go through the usual press-ups, sit-ups, leg-raisers etc. Rod arrived to take over from Paddy a bit later on, and asked Paddy to go through ‘compulsory movements’. In ZSK, that’s like a set of linework, except for the first one, which is a bunch of blocks (rising, low, inner/outer forearm). However, this turned out to slightly more useful than air-kicking, as once we’d gone through the 7th grade compulsories (from the second grading for blue belt), Rod switched the same kicks (from the back leg, front, ‘spurning’ [which is literally a push-kick] side, turning and hook) to pads.

Its always nice to work with beginners, as it not only gives me a chance to practice my kicks, but also chat to newbies, hopefully getting them sufficiently conversational that they want to come to socials. The bloke I was partnered up with wasn’t all that chatty, but seemed keen, and worked hard throughout the session; we seem to have gathered a reasonable crop of joiners who have continued to turn up from the first fresher-stuffed week. As for me, I still need to work my left leg, which continues to be significantly weaker than my right – common problem, but that’s no excuse.

The final section of the class was free sparring, which I haven’t done in a while; Rod had mentioned earlier that he wanted to get people sparring sooner this year, so I wasn’t all that surprised. The first spar was fine, because it was with a beginner, meaning that I generally hold off and wait to see what they can do, trying to work my guard. The second spar, however, was with a relatively beefy gymnast who’s been coming for a few years now, so I was in for a rather tougher spar. It went ok at first, and I even managed to (very softly) land a double kick, catching his head with the second, and we exchanged a few punches, generally ending with me throwing a spinning backfist to get out of range. Unfortunately, I then did something extremely stupid. Having backfisted my way out of a few scuffles, I thought I’d try a few body shots instead. I ducked down…and was met by my opponents knee, straight into the bridge of the nose. I’m glad it wasn’t my chin, or I would have been knocked out for the third time in my ZSK history, but it still set off a stream of blood all down my arm, meaning my sparring was over for that session. I spent the rest of it sitting on a bench with increasingly red wads of tissue, though on the plus side I did get to chat to another newbie who was sitting out due to the sparring being one man short. As I’d done at the start of the class, I recommended arclight’s ‘Truth’ gloves to him, and I’ve also been pushing the Viper shin pads; someone has already made the same mistake I did a few years ago and bought a pair of those shitty shin pads and kick booties you see in semi-contact. Blergh.

18/10/05 – Kempo Ju Jitsu, University of Warwick

Still a bit woozy from the knee, I decided to go ahead and do the KJJ class anyway, which is straight after ZSK. Another ZSKer who’s been attending KJJ told me that last week, when I was off ill, they did a load of groundwork, so that was annoying – sod’s law. This session, it was pretty much like the other two I’d been to so far; full of freshers, light warm-up, then class split into breakfalling, technique and padwork.

I started off in the breakfalling group, which had now reached side breakfalls from standing, and we eventually worked our way up to what they called the ‘banana peel’ breakfall, due to swinging your leg up first. You then do a little hop, but I held off a little because I was worried the impact might set my nose off again.

Technique was same as last time, in which one person came in with a hook punch, the other blocked it, pushed and twisted the head back from the chin, pulled the arm and took them down. Pretty dull stuff, but hopefully that’s going to change soon enough. Of course, that’s what I said last time. J

Final bit was padwork, which was much less silly than last time. There was no lining up doing ridiculously telegraphed uppercuts, but instead straight on to jab cross combinations on a pair of thai pads (at least in my case – made sure I nabbed them before anyone else). There was a bit of footwork added, where the pad person stepped forward and back, while the striker did the same, punching on the first step. At least, I thought that’s what I was doing until one of the KJJ seniors asked me (rather humbly, because he was aware I’d already had six years worth of striking in ZSK), to punch on the first step. I'd hate to get a reputation as some kind of shit-hot striker, because I’m very definitely not (in fact I'd say I'm fairly crappy, especially punching). I’ve simply done it for longer than most of the people there, because most people don’t hang around at uni for six years. :p

19/10/05 – Zhuan Shu Kuan, University of Warwick

The Wednesday one hour session was, as often happens, just me in the activities room – no Paddy meant no groundwork. :( So, I took the opportunity to do a brief warm-up, stretch out, then pound the bag for a bit. Once the table-tennis people (who had probably not bothered booking the room, but hey, it was just me and I don’t need THAT much space) had pissed off, I posed in front of the mirror with various spinning/jumping stuff. What I’d really like is to get that gymnast bloke who bashed my nose the day before to come along and teach me backflips – depends if he actually has a job or something though, or indeed if he’s willing and able to teach his funky acrobatics.

I finished off by leaving the activities room and finally trying out the reasonably new ‘conditioning’ room, which is what the sports centre calls ‘the room where people who don’t want to cough up £50 extra a year can do some weights’. There is a proper weights room, but I’m never going to need all those machines and huge weights; a set of light dumbbells and a bench is absolutely fine. More to the point, the proper weights room costs £50, on top of the annual £30 charge the university has slapped onto something which previously came free with the already extortionate tuition fees. Corporate bastards.

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