Saturday, April 26, 2008
Entry 1: In roughly 14 hours from now, John Will rolls back into KDT to conduct his second-ever Malaysian BJJ seminar. It's been about a year since he was here last and I'm really pumped up for this. Not trying to oversell him but John is probably the single best BJJ coach I've ever met.
His teaching style is, to me anyway, excellent - he moves along at a good pace and always manages to never leave anyone behind. What's more, right before the seminar starts, there will be a 2-hour open mat session. I'm really looking forward to a thoroughly awesome day of training.
Entry 2: Well, I was right - it was another amazing session by John, focusing on the omoplata. We covered so much it such a short span of time, it was nuts. I have about 4 pages of "rough" notes in my book! There was so much pure gold to be found in his coaching style, his advice for us and even just things that he said offhand. I also snagged a set (2 books) of his new autobiography. I'm told it's pretty good reading so I'll be checking it out when I have time.
What's more, the day was capped off with Sam getting his brown from John! Excellent stuff and well done, coach!
Entry 3: We did a session based around the x-guard, then takedowns. I had seen the x-guard material presented before at one of his Singapore seminars but far from being redundant, I was amazed at how much more sense everything made to me the second time around!
Not to mention the fact that in Singapore, at the exact same time he was showing the x-guard sweep I was overcome by an upset stomach and had to run for the mens room...
The takedown material was pretty eye-opening for me. My experience with them is rather bad, to put it mildly, and this was a great primer on the single-leg. I'd be looking to try some of this stuff on Tuesday if I didn't have to fly off for wedding preparations!
There was also another grading - this time for Vince! Mr. KDT himself was graded to purple by John. A great achievement and much deserved. Way to go!
The whole thing was a really awesome BJJ experience. Besides the gradings and the techniques, it was cool to see Allen Chong and the BJJ Borneo guys in town again. Also cool was to see Laurent back on the mats again, he's been MIA since the CMD seminar, when he hurt his knee during a roll.
And yeah, it wasn't bad meeting John Will again. There are not many people who inspire me as much as this man does - who make me really want to be excellent in what I do...not just to stand out, but to go above and beyond. Whether or not such a fate is in my future remains to be seen, but man, I can't wait to get back on the mats and start working for it.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Last Saturday I had a sort of double celebration at the gym. My birthday was the next day (when the gym is closed)...and my wedding is coming up pretty quickly so it was also a kind of bachelor's party.
I wouldn't say I'm really a match for Steve Martin or Dan Aykroyd in the "wild and crazy guy" department, as I much prefer a nice, quiet evening of good, old-fashioned, brotherly violence with a room full of sweaty men, to say, a wallet-draining night out on the town that everybody and his uncle vows to never forget, but will all the same.
So it was with much joy that I made my way to a Bert-requested, Vince-approved KDT birthday-stag party: 6 hours of boxing and BJJ fun with isotonic sports drinks sponsored by yours truly!
I showed up at noon and spent about an hour on my own, just doing a light warmup, scribbling in my training notebook and doing a spot of reading. It was really cool just to have the place all to myself, I wish everyday could be like that...and as it so happens, it will in a few months!
Mike was the first to show up and we did some no-gi training for about another hour before more guys started to show up. I had a few marathon rolls with Rizan, Sam and Wee Li and then did a spot of boxing to finish off.
It was so much fun and just goes to show that the best part of any gym is the people who make it what it is. Usually Saturday open mats are over much too quickly for my tastes and it just leaves me wanting more (true, sometimes I just show up late). Today, though, it was a thoroughly excellent session with an awesome bunch of guys.
Times like this, I really recognise how lucky I am to have found this gym and I'm especially grateful to have been accepted as a part of this family. I'm really going to miss days like this when I move and start my own place, but hopefully I'll be able to make some more of these memories happen, somewhere down the road.
Or maybe I'll just close up shop for the day, hop on a plane and pop by KDT, who knows!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
When I first got my blue belt, I remember feeling like a complete poser. The sheer weight of my own expectations and preconceived notions was so intense, it was crazy. I felt really nervous, like a fraud waiting to be found out. It took me a while just to get used to holding it in my hand, never mind wearing it.
The thing that freaked me out the most was in my gym, there seems to be this thing where someone gets their blue, then either stops training or takes a sabbatical. I was so afraid that would be me as well. Over time, though, I slowly got used to it. I didn't stop training, in fact I started to enjoy it more.
So I doubt I'll be winning the Mundials anytime soon, but at least I don't beat myself up about it.
Tonight at the end of class, Patrick, Rizan and Wee Li got their blues. I'm really happy for them and I'm even happier that I get to train with them. For as long as they've been with the gym they've been really dedicated to BJJ and I'm proud just to be associated with them. Over the past two years they've come a long way, and they've still got a lot of potential, just waiting to be realised.
In terms of BJJ, or martial arts for that matter, today may just have been the best, most fulfilling day of my life. It was so cool to see these guys step up to take their belts (and beatings!), having watched them progress from the day they walked on the mats for the first time. I actually got in my car and started to drive home before realising that I was still wearing my rashguard and kneepads!
Plus, Vince got in his new BJJ T-shirts today, they look really sweet and I think I may be persuaded to buy a number for myself.
So congratulations to the new blues - well done and well deserved, boys. I really hope you stick around and see what happens, because it really just gets better from here. I promise.
On a side note, I also got graded today - as did Mike - to a blue with one stripe.
So that was pretty nice, too.