Peterborough, ON - Canada - The Grappling Connection
Tonight was my second class at a club called The Grappling Connection here in Peterborough, ON. They do mixed submission grappling with an eye toward MMA.
First of all, I'd like to thank Aesopian for his BJJ First Class article, because it summed up how things went pretty much perfectly. I went in and talked to one of the two instructors. He told me not to pay the ten buck mat fee until the end of class.
Here was my first class:
Things started with a "pre-lesson" on how to do the DLT. We drilled that for a while, starting with the movement, doing it with a partner and then from footwork. About 20 minuts of conditioning followed after that.
Next up was the triangle choke, which we worked on for a bit. We finished off with rolling. I rolled with the instructor, then one of his seniors. Very nice guys. Naturally, I got submitted a whole bunch of times but I was happy that I still had a few reflexive positions from back in judo and kenpo to help me along. Mark (the instructor) showed me how to keep an attachment from turtle and move him around. Since I really don't like turtling (I always kind of considered it cheating, since I used to work out with judoka who'd use it to stall) this stuck with me.
Tonight's class intrsoduced a throw from over/under, pummeling kesa-gatame and the armbar. The other instructor (Stew) had a judo BB they worked with over to the club who took the time to break down the technique. Tonight's rolling was head and shoulders above last week's and I came close to some legit submissions (armbar I couldn't make stick, keylock I was *just* firming up when time was called -- well, maybe I'm being optimistic there) a couple of times.
The thing that really strikes me about this class is that you can *immediately* apply ideas freely. There's no more than the absolute minimum number of baby steps to rolling before you can at least recognize an opportunity you culdn't see before and try for it.
I'm very pleased with the class, but I can't really offer a "review" as such, since I already knew one of the instructors before joining. Prior to this, the only grappling available was private lessons, YMCA Judo (and the Y is pretty bloody expensive around here) ot the Jitsu organization (which isn't my thing; I've done wrist controls over and over again and have no need to relearn them).
The two hardest things about the class so far are the conditioning requirements (my cardio is terrible) and the knee and hip flexibility required (I had knee surgery earlier this year). If anybody asked me how to prepare for starting this kind of thing I'd definitely say that cardio training and leg flexibility (esp the outside of the thigh) are things to attack.
Let me tell you where I'm coming from here. My martial arts training started with (not EPAK) kenpo about 18 years ago. I put 8 years into that art, which included some solid striking, basic throwing and some grappling. The groundwork was technically legitimate but "dead." There wasn't any discussion of how to pass guard or otherwise gain position. We did wrestle but without the missing link of how to put the static techniques together not much came of it.
Since then I've done a whole bunch of stuff. Aside from the UFC, the thing that kept me interested in grappling was a friendly challenge match with a judo dojo where we all got owned. Unfortunately I haven't had the money, time or, frankly, intestinal fortitutde to follow up on it with any commitment. I *have* cross-trained with grapplers whenever I could and that's been fruitful. Hell, I learned bridge and roll from a Bujinkan guy who happened to also be a Jiu-Jitsu BB under Dave Beneteau.
After '96, I didn't really have a regular club until I joined my current kung fu club (I practiced with a bunch of people, but nothing steady) about 3 years ago. I like that club, but as I alluded to in another threat it's a "big tent." There are people there who will probably never get into training with sincere resistance, but that's probably because they don't want to. The sparring and rough and tumble is possible for some of us, but the sifu has a pretty big class and can't provide those opportunities as much as I like. It's probably not going to improve my striking as quickly as just taking up kickboxing, but I've been doing striking MA for a long time and figure that in the interest of fun and variety I'll leave myself *some* slack there. Besides, I don't want to totally sell myself to that approach, since I've gotten a lot (practical and psychological) out of TMA.
I didn't want *total* slack though, and I'm very happy to find a club that gives me that option.
Anyway, that's it. No earthshattering gobsmackitude, nobody to yell at for having led me astray or anything like that. I do have to thank the community here for keeping my attention focused on functional training and showing me what to expect when I was finally able to get into grappling formally.