Kenpo Jiu Jitsu: Tonight’s class kicked off with a quick warm up and some Ukemi-Waza, which for the most part consisted of the usual rolls and break-falls that you would expect for a Jiu Jitsu class; however, with a glimmer in his eye, Master Witcher demonstrated a backwards roll, which ended with him using a hand-stand/arm-spring to vault back to his feet. I was impressed, and with some trepidation gave it a good go myself, demonstrating considerably less finesse; that said, I had enough success to motivate me to continue trying to master the technique, if not for its practicality, then because it looks cool! As the Kenpo Jiu Jitsu sessions progress, I am beginning to gain an understanding of the way in which Master Witcher’s style of Jiu Jitsu operates, although I’m sure my understanding will further develop and change over time. The core of the syllabus seems to centre around 10 key techniques consisting of various holds, locks and throws obtained from a variety of positions, with these techniques developing further as the Jujutsuka progresses through the belt system. In addition to this, the syllabus consists of techniques separate to the 1-10, which I am keen to investigate further, these include demonstrating hip-throws such as Seoi-Nage.

For the main body of the session I worked through the 1-10 techniques, some of the techniques being analogous to those I have used in Shirndo jujutsu with slightly different application/approach. I found the emphasis on the flow of the techniques to be helpful for understanding the Kuzushi, weight distribution and hip movements, and I ensured I paid attention to these elements. Additionally, Master Witcher’s numbered system for the techniques helps with committing the movements to memory. The next part of the session was particularly enjoyable for me, as Master Witcher directed the class to pick their favourite of the 1-10 and add our own finish, using techniques we may have learned from Jiu Jitsu, or other Martial Arts. I chose number 3, which involved the use of a figure of four lock; Master Witcher had demonstrated the use of a hip throw to finish the figure of four lock, I particularly liked the look of this technique so decided to go with it and had some success.

Lastly, following a final few demonstrations of various techniques from Master Witcher, and some quick drills, the Jiu Jitsu class ended; however, a few of us agreed to have an open mat at the end of the session to do some newaza sparring. I grabbed this opportunity to spar with Adam, who I had not done any newaza sparring with in some time, and never in the gi! This was great fun, and a fantastic opportunity to reflect on my progress since we last rolled. Although it was clear that I have a long way to go, especially in maintaining a solid position to avoid sweeps, I can clearly see an improvement in my game. Thinking back to when I last sparred with Adam, only a couple months ago, I can see a vast improvement in my movement; where before I held on to a closed guard, spending my time and energy trying to avoid my opponent from progressing, I’m now much more aggressive with my defence, and more comfortable working from an open guard.

In all it was a bloody good Sunday evening, where a lot of learning was crammed into a short space of time; I came away from the session feeling physically and mentally strained, but all the better because of it!

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