July has been an absolutely extraordinary month for the students of the Lionel Ju Jitsu Club. The first two weeks were spent focusing hard on our syllabus in preparation of the white belt grading on Saturday 11th. Some of the students even took on extra classes to ensure that they were fully prepared, training up to FOUR times a week. There was massive emphasis on respect, fighting spirit and mental fortitude, and I am proud to say that all of the candidates passed with flying colours.
On the 18th July a mixture of students from Lionel and Stornoway Ju Jitsu clubs embarked on our first road trip as we all journeyed to Glasgow to see the UFC. For those who don’t know, the UFC stands for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and represents the Premier League of Mixed Martial arts. It was the first time that this international bonanza has been to Scotland, and only the second time that it has been to the UK. The atmosphere inside was absolutely electrifying, as thirteen-thousand Scots cheered their local heroes on.
For me, the fight of the night was Stevie Ray versus Leonardo Mafra. Ray, who fights out of Kirkaldy, Fife, was absolutely blistering with his strikes, and his first round win by technical knockout was well deserved. Also worthy of note, Joanne “Jo-Jo” Calderwood who is a muay thai fighter in Glasgow. Her fight against the iron-willed Cortney Casey was solid display of combination work and surely another step on the ladder towards global success.
Back in Lionel, we returned to our syllabus, this time introducing the Yellow Belt which includes the superfast Body Drop throw and work with the police straight baton by way of Escrima stick. The students really enjoyed this, and are particularly having fun with the enhanced groundwork techniques as they are now able to defend and counter from the guard position.
July ended with a bang, with all the students being invited to Stornoway to cross train with Eilean Siar Muay Thai. Many will know that the Muay Thai club is run by former British Heavy Weight champion, Norrie Mackenzie, who is a great friend and student of Ishin Ryu Ju Jitsu, and he was able to secure instruction of a whole host world class coaches.
First up was the legendary Guy Ramsay, who has held pro titles at Scottish and British levels, and now coaches UFC fighters out the Griphouse in Glasgow. It was my first time meeting Guy, and we just clicked instantly. His easy going demeanour is offset by his fearsome knowledge of brutal combination striking, and understanding of flow and balance.
We were also honoured to be coached by Dip Sekhon, and Hilary Mack. Hilary is Scotland’s first Muay Thai World Champion, and seeing her kicks on the pads is not hard to understand why. All of the coaches were great, giving careful and tailored instruction to each individual student and every one of us appreciated the advice that they had to give.
After such a colourful month, August will be back normality as we return to our permanent base in Lionel and resume focus on our chokes, locks and throws… and maybe just a little more striking work.
Until next month,