July has been a fantastic month for the students of the Stornoway Ju Jitsu Club. The first two weeks were spent helping the students of the Lionel dojo, who were preparing for their White Belt grading, and wanted extra training.
Bearing in mind that most the Stornoway Ju Jitsu Club have only been training approximately eight weeks, it was wonderful to see them step up and help the Lionel students prepare.
On the 18th July, the students and I 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 Stornoway, the Lionel students had had such a great time training with their Stornoway brothers that they wanted to keep coming to the Tuesday class, and so I introduced both sets of students to the Yellow Belt syllabus. This 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 of the ju jitsu students, from both dojos, cross training with our cousins in the with Eilean Siar Muay Thai club. 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 resume our focus on chokes, locks and throws.
Until next month,