February has been a fantastic month the Lionel Ju Jitsu Club, as we begin to gear up for the next grading in July. Hopefully William Donner will be ready to move up to white belt, whilst the other students will attempt to reach the dizzying heights of yellow.
The coveted Student of the Month award goes to Lewis O’Connor, who has been outstanding. Not only are his strikes becoming awesome hurting bombs, but he is able to put them in to great combinations. Additionally, his ground work is progressing, but perhaps more than that his natural leadership skills are really developing with him actively looking after younger and lesser experienced students in a way that really makes me proud.
This month we have focussed on our groundwork, using transitions to destroy an opponent’s position before moving to submission. In particular Eilidh Ferguson has really shined, seemingly able to memorise any root-and-branch combination after only a couple of goes.
Strikes have not been forgotten, and we have continued to develop our combination and tactical blows, culminating with The Pyramid – this is where the students run to the strike pads and knock out twenty kicks, punches and then knees before running back to the line, and then back for nineteen of each strike, then eighteen and so on. It has been amazing to see the ladies in the class dominating their male counterparts, and on one occasion beating them by over two minutes!
In the middle of the month I went to Ostend, Belgium, for a seminar with Joao Santos who is not only a great personal friend, but also a staunch supporter of our organisation. Joao is a six times European champion, and twice Pan-American champion, in the art of Brazilian Ju Jitsu. Whilst embracing much of the philosophy of its Japanese counterpart, it is both culturally and technically completely different and there was much to learn.
Additionally, it was great to catch up with old friends. This is perhaps one of the greatest aspects of the martial arts community; that we share an innate sense of fraternity and, without any ego or posturing, will spend countless hours reminiscing and swapping stories. Massive thanks goes to Joao for his technical knowledge, William for being so patient with me, and Antonio for hosting an awesome weekend. Also thanks to Gregg and Dave who were great training partners.
Hopefully, we will bring Joao to The Isle of Lewis at the end of June for an extended BJJ camp, with sessions being both in the morning and evening for those who wish to explore the wider martial art universe.
In the Senior Class, we have been looking using classical feudal weapons to expand our understanding of modern self defence. Lewis’ sword work continues to develop well, and Eilidh is a natural with the bo – a six foot staff used by peasant farmers. Both students have been able to use the associated classical techniques to augment their understanding of modern strikes and throws, and it has been a joy to see the look of realisation on their face as they appreciate the street application.
March is going to be a busy month for the club. On the 4th March we will be hosting a Strike-A-Thon to raise money for Spornis, our community run sport centre. The centre will be running “24hrs of Sport” in order to raise much needed funds and the club will be doing our part from 7-9pm. This is a session that is open to everyone, and will see parents and siblings (no younger than 9years old please) square off against the students on shields and pads, and we will take everyone through the basics of striking – punches, kicks and knees.
There will be no sparring, no throws, chokes, or submissions – rather everyone will just be getting a sweat on and hopefully learning a little something about how their body works. Students will be in their dogis, but everyone else needs no specialist equipment, other than either tracksuit trousers or shorts, and a light top. Do bring a big bottle of water.
Please come along and support this very worthwhile cause.
Until next month,