Wow! Time moves so fast - almost a month since my last post, which was kind of impromptu so I guess it's ages since I last posted properly.
It's going to be hard to recount the specifics so I'll just give an overview of what's been going on.
Training's been pretty consistent over the last couple of months - Mondays and Wednesdays with Dean T and the guys, Fridays at Carlson's in Tonbridge.
Mondays have been "beginners'" nights with Nuri still coming, a new guy Dave (3rd Dan in Kyokushin looking for a ground game) and his wife Toyah - both nice folk and a good addition to our numbers. On top of this, Dean has mentioned a couple of other potential noobs so numbers, on mondays at least are looking good - in fact, at this rate, we're going to struggle for room. The sessions have been covering all the basic positions and techniques as per the syllabus, which is great for the new people, but I've also found it invaluable - always great to go back to the basics and round off the rough edges that bad habits, misunderstanding and sometimes laziness create. I've developed a much better understanding of holding posture in guard, standing in guard, escaping from cross side amongst a whole host of other things.
At the end of these sessions we roll semi-competitively and I'm pleased with how I'm doing, even against some of the established guys - more than holding my own so progress is steady but upwards.
Wednesdays are generally for the guys that have been training a bit longer and there's far more emphasis on the sensitivity and movement stuff we've been doing with Dean T. This mix works great for me as I'm regularly practising the techniques and positions that fall on to the end of the movement we're practising.
Fridays are still the open mat session at Carlson's and I've been really enjoying the training there. It's tough to maintain "Jiu" the whole time down there with the way the guys roll, but I've had good successes with affecting guys' balance and posture and working my basics. Sure, I've been caught a couple of times, but that's cool - if you open yourself up in an effort to try new things that's going to happen...I'll sharpen up and gradually it'll happen less often.
There have also been a couple of low key sessions - one wednesday session with just me and Si, and Sunday morning just gone with just me, Big Dean and Si. All we did was go over some of the bits and pieces that we've done in the last few weeks. Working bits over and over, trying to maintain base and posture etc. These sessions really help, just to revise and solidify what's been going on - otherwise, it's so easy to let one week move into the next and forget the finer details that make all the difference.
I feel, with all the training and excellent pointers from Dean T, that I'm really making progress. I'm coming up for three years doing BJJ now and a few weeks back got a huge fillip to my confidence. Dean T was talking about people's progress and also saying how hard it was being so remote from Rickson's HQ. It means that we have a lot of guys who remain blue belts and white belts and should, by any other standard, be a belt above. Dean rolled through the guys that have trained a while and amongst many deserving others, pinned me as blue belt level. This was just great - for Dean to say this meant a lot for me and puts me in great shape for my trip to LA. Certainly my experiences against guys from elsewhere (NY, Carlson's etc) would suggest to me that I am at early blue belt level, but I don't like to set myself up like that - the fact is I'm still wearing a white belt so that's what I am. Great to hear though!
On other fronts, the gym has taken a bit of a backseat the last couple of weeks - just seem to run out of time at the moment and have also been feeling pretty tired. The whole work situation is quite exhausting at the moment, but I won't go into that right now - those that need to know what's going on, know ;P. I did manage a couple of sessions last week and was pleased that none of my gains had been lost so the BJJ has more than kept things ticking over.
I've just gotten back from another short break at Butlins again (wow - almost a year since the last one) and I had a great time with the wife and kids - real knackered right now and unlikely to make it to training tonight.
Before I go, a couple of thank yous. Thanks to Big Dean for "cracking" my back a couple of weeks back. For about three months now, I've felt a tension in my upper back, just between the shoulder blades. When I used to go to the Osteopath, the "cracking" used to be my favourite part. Dean kindly obliged me and the relief I've felt has been great - and it didn't cost £40 either! Cheers mate, Genius!
Thanks also to Simon for inviting me to a gathering of his, a couple of weeks back. It was his daughter's first birthday and I enjoyed a really nice afternoon round at Si's eating great authentic Italian grub (his in-laws are Italian) and shooting the breeze. I was also able to see a copy of Antoni's fight - wow...his fitness shone through in the end and the hits he was putting in as the fight closed looked like a scene from a Rocky movie. Credit to his opponent - he took some big, big shots, but took ages to finaly hit the floor.
Finally, photgraphic evidence of the softer side to MMA and Jiu Jitsu. Here's Dean tucking into his favourite pre-training snack - a pink, dolly mixture topped cup-cake - ah, bless: