3 Apr 2009

April Fools, pre-match jitters and leaving my Trad JJ club

Oh boy it's all go here at Meerkatsu Central HQ Dojo, home of the small.

Leaving my Trad JJ Club
First up, the big news, I have finally retired from running my trad JJ club.
It is the club where I first began learning my traditional style of ju-jitsu over ten years ago and the place where I honed my teaching skills for five of those. I will miss the club and the great bunch of people who attended, but due to various constraints on my time, I felt the club would succeed better under the fresh stewardship of my JJ pal David. Good luck to everyone at the club.

It's a good time to reflect on the highlights of my time at Imperial. I achieved the rank of second dan black belt, I competed at numerous tournaments, met lots of people and made good friends. And it was through trad JJ that I discovered BJJ.
I will miss the club, it has dominated my martial arts life for so many years. But there were a couple of hairy moments:

Probably the worst injury I recall happened to a chap called Daniel. He was sparring on the ground and, in a completely freakish accident, managed to bang his elbow on the mat surface in such as way to make it shatter in several places. His pain was obvious. He has since recovered mobility in his elbow but can never do jujitsu again.

And who can forget the comedy pratfall as I demonstrated a spinning jumping back kick and landed to the sound of my ankle ligaments snapping apart!!

99 percent of the people that turn up are sound. One or two however were, for want of a better word, misfits, who were slightly deluded as to what martial arts is about and how much work it takes to become proficient. These types, thankfully, never last more than a few sessions. One chap attended one lesson, then went out to buy himself an all black uniform (we wear white) just so he could look like a flipping ninja. He didn't show up after that second time. Then there are the types who ask about samurai swords, and even after I tell them to buy a blunt one, they go and buy a razor sharp one, which is wholly unneccesary and downright dangerous in my view. I could go on, but I should emphasise these were very rare exceptions.

Most of all however, I am proud of the way I have maintained a club where the training atmosphere is friendly, fun and free of bullshit or ego, without sacrificing technical level and quality of instruction. A good session is one where you see the guys and girls have a laugh, sweat a lot, have a drink after and generally beam with confidence.
I was never confortable being called sensei, to me, the students are all grown adults who just come along to learn something new, get fit and enjoy themselves. The last thing they want is an egotist barking at them for two hours. To me, the fundamental principle of good technique over size or strength was always the root lesson of every class. I like to think that as a small guy myself, I could prove to be an example of this principle when competing or applying jujitsu against bigger opponents.

Pre-comp jitters
Well, it is the eve of the Brighton Grab and Pull Tournament and I'm very excited. I've had a clutch of intense sessions at BJJ class, all designed to 'toughen' me up and get me prepared to the type of sparring done in competitions. I must say, it is not pretty. When you spar in competitive mode, gone are the fancy stuff and it is pretty 101 brutal and in your face aggression. It hurts too. Every sinew in my body is aching, and that's sparring with friends! In any case, I fully intend to enjoy tomorrow. It'll be a learning experience and I can only gain, whether I win or (more likely) lose.

Writers fame at last
Finally, those wonderful guys at On The Mat, one of the largest grappling news websites in the world have kindly published my Jiu-Jitsu Sisterhood article. You can read it online here.

About the Author


Author & Artist

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


Anonymous said...

Have you given up on training Jikishin Jujitsu altogether?

Meerkat said...

No, will still train JJJA since you're asking, but if anyone wants to post personal comments please don't do it anonymously, it's really annoying. Or email me. I'm not hard to find.


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