So, here we go, first post... likely to be a long one this, so bear with me...
About a month ago I decide that I'm gonna set myself the goal of achieving a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Blue Belt, in Los Angeles, with Rickson Gracie, in late 2009. This blog will chart my preparations and thoughts in trying to achieve this. My aim with this blog is threefold; to reflect on what I'm doing, keep a log of my progress, and hopefully it may just be of interest to anyone else interested in BJJ, either as a beginner, or a more experienced person who may relate to what I have to say. Hope you enjoy the ride as much as I know I'm going to.
Some quick background....
I'm Al and I'm 32. I'm married with two great kids, both 2 and a half (twins - boy/girl) and a Border Collie. I'm an Organisational Development Manager for a large privately owned insurance company.
Aside from my family, one of my greatest passions is the Martial Arts. I did Choi Kwang Do for over three years, getting my 1st Dan and Instructor certificates. Without going on about it (not what this blog's for), I left CKD after finding the politics and syllabus limitations too great. Nuff said.
I've also qualified as an Advanced Level Instructor with the UK Self Defence Federation (SDF) under Dave Turton - one of the nicest guys you'll meet in Self Defence and one of the most knowledgeable. Most of the self defence training I've done has been with Stuart Rider, founder of Taishindo - another great guy and one of Dave's top instructors. I've also recently been training (not nearly as much as I'd like) Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)/No Holds Barred (NHB) with Steve Morris - again, one of the purest, fiercest most knowledgable fighters I've ever seen or had the pleasure to be in the company of. At the time of writing, Steve is 63 and still packs a punch, kicks and moves like the best of martial artists that are, or ever were. If you want it pure from a man that knows, you NEED to seek Steve out!
Anyway, at some point during my time with CKD I rapidly realised that my lack of a ground "game" was a concern in the effectiveness of my training. I'd heard of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu so looked into it and did some searching on the web to find out what schools were near me. There was only one listed at that time and that was a school under Rickson Gracie's Association based in Northfleet, Kent. The school is run by Dean Taylor, (more about Dean another time) Rickson's only UK rep. Now, obviously, I knew the Gracie name, but that was about it. So, a bit more Googling and I came up with the DVD "Choke", charting Rickson's championship campaign back in 1995. If you haven't seen it - get it...NOW. I knew there and then that I HAD to be doing this art and that it had to Rickson's style. How lucky was I to have the only UK school 30 mins down the road!?!?! A school run by a guy trained by the most widely acknowledged pure BJJ practitioner and fighter alive today!!
Off I went and 2 years later I'm still training and now have my sights set on a blue belt in two years' time.
More reflections on the "early" days to come, but for now, that will do. Suffice to say, this is the beginning of an exciting journey and you're more than welcome along on the ride.