2 Jun 2007

Adapt, or die trying

Just done 5 hours kobudo (traditional weapons) training up in Brentwood. Got my hands on the new multi martial atrs weapon made by Grant and Eddie's Cobra MA company (as seen here modelled by my daughter). Man! This thing is damn good...no shortcuts here, only top quality. From all the various bits and pieces, it was actually a doddle to put together the various weapons in quick succession. I didn;t even need the enclosed instruction sheet. And, from a brief nosey glance around the dojo, it seems I was not the only one to sport the new weapon set. Let's hope the product continues to be a success for Eddie and Grant as they have put so much care and work into the project.

Well, I managed to get through a good kobudo today. Last time I moaned about the lack of progess and too much time spent on old katas and no time to learn new stuff. Word obviously got around (I still don;t believe anyone actually reads this blog). This time, Sensei promised to change things and there was a noticeable snappiness to the instruction with an urgency to get all the weapons covered as much as possible. This time, I finally got to learning, or attempting to learn, the Naginata kata, I also covered the fab Sai3 kata and most of the various bo staff katas. So I am very happy and I think so were my colleagues.

Kobudo was a chance for Head sensei to gather us club owners together and talk about new things coming up. The biggest and perhaps most shocking news of all is the fact that Head sensei wants to introduce Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu rules ground-fighting into our style. And he asked me and a couple of other senseis who do BJJ to help get involved! When he first mentioned it in private to me, I honestly thought my ears needed de-waxing. I mean, just how many traditionalist ju-jitsu clubs would even contemplate the very idea? Actually, quite a few. Certainly I know of Nick Brookes' Mill Hll Club who practice both styles - quite successfully I might add. Then, there is the Belgium Jikishin group who seemlessly do both styles - and I think it was the recent trip to Aalst by some Jikishin members where BJJ was demonstrated that most impressed Head sensei. Oh, and let us not forget the Irish Jikishin contingent, Josie Murray, and their love of BJJ.
My personal view is that an open mind to new movements and trends martial arts is a very good thing. Taking a serious look at the phenomenal success of BJJ right now says a lot about the effectiveness of the style. It is also no surprise that a good number of Jikishin students, like myself, also train serioiusly in BJJ. I find the two styles sit comfortably. And I am very excited by the prospect.
But I worry about three things: First, that adding BJJ rules to our already very full syllabus will deter some students and even some instructors - it just simply is not everyone's cup of tea. Secondly, I think that if we are going to do this properly, then I feel the need for an expert of the style to oversee the evolution to BJJ rules, to give things more credibility I guess. In the UK right now, we have perhaps half a dozen world class BJJ black belts. Could it be feasible that one of these might help? (Or I could suggest we invite the fragrant Kyra Gracie to provide a seminar...just a thought).
My third concern is that BJJ is whole myriad of complex techniques, concepts, mindsets, all sorts of things. A couple of short seminars would not do the style any justice. One needs to train in BJJ a heck of a lot in order to improve by even an iota. I'm still searching for that iota myself.

It's very early days in the project. At first, Head sensei is going to organise a non-competitive event to introduce the rules and some simple techniques to everyone in Jikishin. then, if the take-up is good, add a BJJ style category to one of the upcoming comps. Then...who knows. Maybe the Mundials!!! Adapt or die trying, as they say.
We'll see I suppose. In the meantime, the new mantra in class is...PASS GUARD, PASS GUARD!

About the Author


Author & Artist

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



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