12 Jun 2008

Upside down, inside out

Years ago, when my sensei handed me the reigns of the JJ club, I was worried about the big responsibility I was being given. He reassured me that after a short while, it would be a breeze but there would be the occasional tough times too. Largely, I have had nothing but good times and fun times. As a club runner, you get to try out any drills or techniques you like, you can watch students mature and progress, you can invite other experts down to show you new stuff, and generally, it is a privileged existence. But there are tough times too. The times when you have a stinking cold and can barely make it to the venue, or when only three people turn up, or a stranger turns up and tries to cause trouble, or the place is flooded, or a nasty injury occurs to a student etc. All of these have happened at my club.
Right now, it a little tough, I am nursing a painful neck which prevents me from demonstrating anything, and since the new year, newcomers and established members have dwindled slightly. But, as the person in charge, I have to keep things going, turn up and show my face regardless of the situation. And, as I celebrate ten years of being in jujitsu, I know by now that events go up and down in cycles. Club numbers will soon pick up and my injuries will heal. It’s all part and parcel of running a club.

In fact, my experiences with club running are nothing compared to some others. Sensei Grant, my current JJ instructor, runs a club from an army barracks, but for several months of the year, he cannot run the club there due to the army needing the space. Which would be fine except they give no notice, so many a time, students have been locked out or forced to train in a tiny squash court. Sensei G has finally got fed up and found a new venue. One with plush facilities and a clean room that will be the clubs to use as they like all year. BTW, he will be grading for the dizzy heights of 4th dan this Sunday, so again, we wish him good luck.

Another sensei, who I chatted with recently, runs a kids class and during one session, some youths broke in and started mouthing off. The sensei threw the youths out but minutes later, had to deal with an angry father intent on knowing why the sensei had, allegedly assaulted his son. The whole incident blew out of all proportion over the ensuing weeks as a whispering campaign by 'anonymous' pranksters led to numbers in his previously very full class, dropping fast. Anyway, the kid owned up to his misdemeanors and soon, the club members returned. Still, a cautionary tale.

My current neck injury was sustained sparring with Nick at the Mill Hill BJJ class the other night. We were working on triangle escapes all evening and during sparring of course, first thing Nick does is triangle me. My neck ‘cricked’ in an unnatural way and now I can’t look left, right or up and down without a lot of pain. I couldn't physically lower myself into bed that night amd it required the assitance of my wife to cradle my head and lower it onto the pillow (still attached to my torso I should add), where I lay there, blinking, unmoving for hours until my kids woke up yelling for attention. Poor Nick was overcome with apologies and regret, but sometimes, these things just happen, no one is to blame.
Anyway, I’ve had this type of injury before, years ago, it came on when my uke preformed an over zealous neck and spine lock (kinda like a BJJ crucifix lock, with lots of neck pressure). I was out for about three weeks, seeing physio and resorting at times to copious painkillers and a neck brace just to get by. My current neck injury is nothing of that magnitude, but it does suggest that I have a weakness there, and given my prediliction for grappling arts where the neck is a target, I should really be careful in future.

Anyway, Meerkat’s martial struggles will always continue and I promise to be in more upbeat mood next time.
BTW. The picture above has been doing the rounds on blogs and forums but I love it so much I reproduce it here to cheer up those feeling a bit blue. Thanks to Eddie Kone’s new blog for the link and a big congrats to him for being awarded his black belt in BJJ. An awesome achievement and the very pinnacle of the sport.

About the Author


Author & Artist

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


Anonymous said...

Eddie got his Black Belt? That's awesome! Hope the neck heals in quick time. Dave T.

Anonymous said...

Thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking read. You'll have to enligthen me on the troublemaker.

Grant did a superb grade under extraordinary circumstances. Broken Foot, injured Back and more. The building shook from the vigour of the Breakfalls. Good God.

OUCH! Hope your Neck hurries back to normal without any further ill-affect.

Delighted the Eddie got his Black Belt. I've always enjoyed his teaching and clarity - and blistering technique. Very well done to him.

Best Regards
Peter McC


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