Saturday, April 21, 2012

Jiu Jitsu All Over Again...

So, last night I went to my first real BJJ class in two or three months.  My old program had closed down, and I'd been searching for one that would take its place.  This turned out to be more complicated than I thought, as my wife's work schedule has shifted, and my daughter's activities schedule has also changed.  Then (of course) there are the issues of convenience and cost.

But, finally, I made it to a small, informal class run by a legitimate BJJ brown belt.  There were four students.  One of them is a purple belt in BJJ, one is a veteran martial artist with some prior, but sporadic, grappling experience, and there was a young lady with very little BJJ experience.  And me.

We started with a couple of basic armbar techniques to get the body use to grappling.  There was nothing fancy here, but the instruction was clear and solid.  He made a point of explaining that he was less interested in us learning the technique than the concepts behind the technique.  Good.

Then we rolled.

First, the instructor rolled with everyone.  He called me out (as the noob in the group) first.  Right away I recognized I was being checked out.  No worries.  I don't claim to be any great master of jiu jitsu.  But at the same time, I didn't want to embarrass myself or my previous instructor.  The first roll went very well.  I could feel the brown belt ramping it up and down in order to figure out where I was in terms of skill level.  Since it had been awhile, I was really just trying to go for position.  I'd sometimes recognize the opening for a submission, but I didn't always remember how to execute it.  It was also No-Gi, which was a change for me.  I also concentrated on not locking into a technique, but tried to let them go if they didn't seem to be going my way.  All in all, not too shabby -- if I must say so myself.

When he finished rolling with the other three, it was time for someone else to be the main attraction.  I got pointed out again to go first.  So, again, I rolled with the instructor, then I went against the purple belt, and then the martial arts vet, and finally the new girl.

Yikes: three minute rounds, twelve minutes total.  I told my wife later that I would've been home ten minutes sooner, but I think I was clinically dead when I was finished.  The second time, the instructor kicked-up the intensity a bit and actively submitted me.  The purple belt caught me out a couple of times.  No worries, I know my limits and I recognize they need the work too.  I managed the vet, even tapped him out once or twice.  The young lady was an interesting challenge however.  I recognized early that I could just repeatedly tapped her out -- and I'd be a jerk for doing so.  She's not comfortable yet with grappling, and I out-weighed her by... well, I outweighed her.  So I returned the instructor's favor in my first match by moving correctly, but providing he with some openings.  Sometimes I slowed down so she could see what was happening.  But I tried not to just give her a win.

So, I deem it a successful class.  I learned, and I helped other learn.  I liked the instruction, and I liked the dynamic.  I think I'll return.

Even if I did wake up this morning feeling a bit like I'd been run over by a bus.

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