19 Mar 2007

reawakening Dragons

The Meerkat finally got away from the house on Friday to attend BJJ at the new location of the Clapton KO Muay Thai gym. This place is great. Huge floorspace. Wall to wall (soft!) matting, proper changing rooms and showers that don’t block up and decent lighting. It reminds me of Paragon kickboxing gym, but probably better cos Paragon have those annoying pillars in the middle of the room. And with it being only a few minutes drive away from the Meerkat den, I’ll be sure to enjoy training – at least until new baby Meerkat is born.

Sunday’s JJ kyu grading were the busiest I have ever seen. 105 students were present, including a massive 40 going for orange belt. Clearly these were the product of a drive to up the membership and some New Year resolutions taking effect.

Been reading snatches of the book ‘Waking Dragons’
By Goran Powell. It’s a sort of autobiography of this chap who follows different karate styles, leading up to his peak achievement – the 30 man kumite. I haven’t read the final bit yet but his stories about his time with the kyokushinkai mob brought back some harrowing memories of my own time training under this style. The endless knuckle pushups, the squats (oh God the squats), the situps – all done with metronome counting in bad Japanese. The repetition of drills. The unapproachable senseis. I had cold sweats reading about it again.
One thing the author describes that hit home, was his meeting with a Gojo Ryu intructor who would always explain the applications to techniques hidden in the kata – in all the many years of karate training – nothing before had ever been explained in depth. It was a revelation. The same thing happened to me. Four years of hard karate training and all those endless kata. Not one single damned movement was ever explained to me. Once I took up JJ (and I include BJJ too), where the culture is to explain everything in detail (sometimes too much for the brain to handle in one go!), it all made sense. The myth was shattered. As far as I was concerned, if an instructor could not or would not explain why something was being done, either he did not know, or he did not want you to know. In either case, my time should not be wasted on said person/style. I mean you wouldn’t learn to drive a car or fly a plane with the complete lack of explanation that some instructors offer.
I also experienced this with equally non-communicative instructors when I tried tai chi and aikido, but since my time there was short, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

About the Author


Author & Artist

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



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