Saturday, April 5, 2008

Free Jujitsu Class...

Well I walked to where I work and changed over for the Jujitsu class being held next door. I arrived at 11:45 and the class was supposed to start at 12. There must've been 60 people in a space made for 30 or so. Apparently the instructor asked several of the members from the other locations around Orlando (they're a chain) to come to the first day of class. I've never seen so many gi's of different colors and patterns and patches before. Blue tops with black pants, or white pants with black tops and blue belts. Purple ones, ones with 20 or so patches on them, it was like a carnival :) and I felt a bit out of place considering I was the only guy weighing less that 190lbs and looking like I don't go to the gym religiously. That being said, the place is laid out more like a gym than a dojo anyway, there were heavy bags in the corner and a ring for MMA practice. After a light warm-up of 50 jumping jacks, some squats, push-ups, lunges, and lots of stretching class began and I got to know a lot of the guys. There was Ralph, the big former football player/wrestler with wrists as big as my fist, and Rachel the tom-boyish girl who wanted to learn to beat up her brothers. Everyone was really nice and respectful during class (and overly macho outside of it), but I guess that's part of the atmosphere. I learned as much if not more watching people do groundwork after class than what I learned during class...but we'll get to that. The first move shown was more of a self defense maneuver as it involved two people stand with one grabbing the other's hair. The defender is supposed to grab the attacker's wrist and push upwards stretching the attacker's arm out and move around to a waki-gatame position. I was used to just walking away with the arm until uke (the attacker) falls to the ground and taps out, but in class they had us fall straight to the ground with the arm-bar and roll on top of uke crushing his/her shoulder. It was an interesting experience. While working on most of my partners, Rachel is freakishly double (or triple if that's possible) jointed where her arm can extend abnormally farther back than it should when the elbow's bent. The technique still works, but it took some getting used to seeing the person's arm bent about 10 degrees farther back than it would on anyone else. We went over the guillotine, the triangle choke, the crucifix (MMA guys and UFC fans will know these advanced techniques) and I was surprised they had the beginners doing these on their first day. There was no rolling or shrimping, but I think they're just showing what people could eventually learn to do well in order to get everyone to come back. After class I was watching everyone doing randori and it seemed that not many people like to get into any side control position. It was acrobatic in how they threw their legs over to get a seemingly impossible arm-bar from their current position. The hardest thing for me to get was the terminology. They would say exactly what you should do to make something happen (move your feet 3 steps this way while keeping your legs straight and your shoulder on his head) but didn't really say the principle of what was happening. I luckily had a former judo guy to say "oh all he's saying is, keep your weight on uke's head while you circle around" and I would say "ah ha" and suddenly be able to do it. Also the differences between the "do" and "jitsu" mentality is very apparent. I had a wrist lock at one point and the instructor asked "now what are you going to do" and I said "well I have control, I'm going to let (whoever it was I was working with) up" and the instructor said "well they didn't tap, you might not have the submission" and I said "I could have it if I squeezed, but I've stopped them from being able to hurt me and that's all I care about". I know he was just making sure I was doing the technique right, it's just after it happened it hit me how much that "keep someone from hurting you" instead of "hurt someone who's trying to hurt you" mentality has stuck with me. Thanks Pat.

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