Shirindo Jujutsu: With a lower than usual turn out, last nights Jujutsu class provided a good opportunity for a more ‘tailored’ session where our usual drills could be mixed up a bit with more focus on what would be needed for my first grading. With this in mind, Sensei Bert wanted to ensure that our Ukemi-Waza was on point, so enthusiastically went in for an attacking position as we hit the tatami to ensure we were guarding ourselves effectively. For the warm up we combined some pad work on the kick shields, including double-leg shooting, kicks and fitness drills; in addition to warming the body up, this highlighted that I need to work on my round-house kicks.

Following the warm up, Bert was keen to make up for missing last Thursdays Newaza drill; so, for the main drill we worked on a flow roll where the Tori looked to obtain a dominant position from a disadvantaged start. For me, I had a particularly enjoyable time when I had the opportunity to roll with Bert, who is vastly different from other training partners I have sparred with. In addition to having years of additional experience to me, Bert is a heavy-set adversary with large arms and a solid base; it was an interesting match-up, where to counter my outmatched strength and size, I tried to keep dexterous and flexible with my movements, ensuring I did not remain comfortable in one position for too long. I feel as though there has been a considerable improvement in both my conditioning and efficiency of movement, which has made my game a little more cerebral; however, ultimately the sparring match ended with Sensei Bert submitting me with an Americana/Keylock from side control.

The majority of the next part of the session, as usual, we worked on Nage-Waza, in particular Sensei Bert focused the class on looking at some of the techniques that I will be required to effectively demonstrate to obtain my next belt ranking. In particular these were Gyaku Ude Osae, Kote Gaeshi, and Kote Mawashi; these are essentially an arm pin and two wristlocks. For some inexplicable reason last night I was over-thinking the movements necessary for these techniques, rather than utilising a softer focus and using the feel of body movements and kuzushi. Because of this, I second guessed my grips and movements, and I was rigid in the execution of the techniques; seems as though I have some home practice to do before I get the flow down.

We finished the class off with a drill similar to last weeks Rush Hour scenario, but this time the Tori had to defend a ‘useless’ partner; the emphasis on this drill was analogous to a ‘close protection’ scenario, which Bert called “Protect the President”. Similarly to last week, I was able to consistently do something, even if that something wasn’t exactly a well executed technique. Well, I am only a white belt!

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