19 Oct 2007

Oldboy, Newboy

Last night, the chance came for me to finally check out the nearest BJJ club in my new location – the Mill Hill Ju-Jitsu Club, a newly anointed representative of the Roger Gracie group run by Nick Brooks. It is only a few minutes drive away from me and I was looking forward to continuing my BJJ training there. I’ve known Nick for several years through ties with my traditional ju-jitsu training, but Nick has converted his club fully into a BJJ and subgrappling club.
So I turned up and the class ran pretty much as I expected – the same as any BJJ class around the world – a short series of simple warm-ups, then drilling of techniques (Nick went through escapes from side control) and then sparring. And it was the sparring that gave people the opportunity to check out the newboy – oh, that’s me. In a slight change to my experience at RGDA, the partners at Mill Hill are chosen by the sensei. At RGDA, we just partnered up with whoever we wanted. So I was partnered up by probably the youngest member there, a slight framed by youthful blue belt called Daniel. Oh my god, within split seconds Daniel had me tied up with omoplatas, rear nakeds and armbars seemingly out of nowhere. All the time, Nick was standing watching over me and I felt a sense that I was being set up with the brightest spark in the pack – kind of a way of sussing me out.
(I’ve since discovered that Daniel is someone with form – he recently won gold at the ADCC UK Nationals to become the youngest ever national champion at….16 years of age.)
The time thankfully ran out and then Nick offered to spar with me. I think I did a little better this time, but was still reeling from the shell shock of being subbed at will by a kid half my age – make that more than half my age. Nick was a little more forgiving, pulling me to guard and trying to sweep or counter which I was more comfortable with and countered myself with almost success. I didn’t get subbed this time, but I’m sure Nick was only playing with me. It was interesting to see the subtle differences between sparring with Eddie and Nick. Both highly accomplished brown belts, but both with quite different games.
Next up was the only female in the club that night, a firey and feisty challenge which had me trying everything I knew just to get out of a rather punishing lapel choke. Finally, I sparred with one of the bigger guys. This time I wasn’t gonna lay around helpless, so I pulled, yes you guessed it, spider guard. He found it infuriatingly tricky to pass but I found it tough to sweep him. We ended stalemate, I was pleased not to get subbed four in a row – that would be humiliating. But I think I mostly held my own.
Overall, it was a good night of training and a good op to blow away some cobwebs. The guys and girl at Mill Hill are a friendly bunch and I don’t think I made too much of a twat of myself. The young prodigious talent of Daniel was jaw dropping, and, since we are roughly similar in weight, I suspect there will be many more opportunities of being – to coin a vulgar term – bitchslapped. Although people were curious about my BJJ background and wanted to check me out, it was also a chance for me to check them out. Nick is a good instructor and explained the techniques very well, so looks like I have found a new BJJ home for the time being.

About the Author

Meerkatsu

Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.

2 comments:

Dave T said...

xzTook all of five minutes to find yourself a new BJJ home then?

slideyfoot said...

So your first roll at Carlson's was Pozo, and first roll at Nick's was Dan Strauss? Straight in at the deep end. ;)

Was Mill Hill the first RGA affiliate? Can't remember if that opened before or after the Farringdon club at VIE that Cesar currently heads up. I can remember speaking to Nic Gregoriades about the Farringdon place opening when I started at RGA HQ in Nov 2006.

 

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