Seeing as it’s been 2 years since I started Judo I thought I’d repost my first blog entry.
I thought I’d start my blog with the title “Back to Judo” as Judo was the first Martial Art I ever did when I was about 6 or 7 years old.
Unfortunately the hall where I practiced Judo was burnt down In an act of vandalism and was moved further from my house than my parents were willing to travel to so my first foray in to Judo only lasted a couple of months.
Wado Ryu Karate was my next venture when I was 10 years old and I practiced this for about 3 years where I reached the grade of Purple belt or 4th Kyu. At the age of thirteen both football and Table Tennis were much more important to me than Karate and also the A-Team was on TV on a Friday evening (the same time as my Karate class). In 1985 there was no Sky+ and relying on your mum to hit the record button on the video was a very hit and miss affair, so I gave up on Karate (Crazy fool)
Then at the age of 19 I got the bug again so I looked around for something different and found Wing Chun Kung Fu.
Wing Chun was very different to Karate, less physical but more technical. It also seemed to flow better. Then I discovered that Wing Chun was the system that Bruce Lee had first learnt before he developed JKD which made me think that Wing Chun was the best Martial Art to study.
Whilst learning Wing Chun I met some very interesting people, one of those people was one of the Junior Instructors called Marc who I later found out was teaching his own style of Martial Arts from his Garage with a select few students. This new style incorporated high kicks, locks and throws that he had picked up from learning various other Martial Arts and even some grappling. I’ve highlighted grappling because at around this time I had read an article in a Martial arts magazine about a tournament in America which pitted Martial Artists from different styles against each other in a cage with no rules and this was called the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)
I managed to locate a video of this in HMV and watched with fascination as Royce Gracie, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) Black Belt defeated everyone by tripping them up and submitting them on the ground.
BJJ to me looked very similar to the Judo I did as a child so the fact that someone in my Wing Chun Club was teaching his own style which incorporated grappling, very much appealed to me.
So at the age of 24 I left Wing Chun and trained with Marc twice a week in a hall near Croydon. The style was just called Freestyle but it was very similar in concept to Jeet Kune Do (JKD).
It was whilst training with Marc that a friend approached me and asked me to teach him Martial Arts. So along with training twice a week I was now teaching twice a week privately for free (as he was a guinea pig for my teaching).
Marc decided to branch out and open another school nearby and wanted his students to turn up for support, so I decided to take my own Student (also called Mark but spelt differently, pay attention) Mark along to see what Marc thought of him. It was whilst at this new club that I befriended Richie who would become my training partner for both freestyle and some seriously heavy Gym sessions. Richie is now training MMA.
Marc was very impressed with the work I had done with my student and I think this eventually led to Marc taking me under his wing and giving my PVT lessons with a vision of me teaching in one of his clubs as part of my ongoing progression.
I did eventually start teaching for Marc in one of his clubs in Streatham but I seemed to suffer from one injury to another, and eventually I lost the buzz that training gave me so I decided to quit.
I wasn’t that long after I quit freestyle that I started to miss the buzz so I dabbled with BJJ but as the gym was a long drive from my house it was a short lived affair.
Then when I was 31 I decided to give Judo a try again and went to Westcroft Judo club and loved it, especially the ground work as I felt like I was Royce Gracie and would quite often try things I had seen in the UFC. Unfortunately after only a couple of months training I tore my Pec Major and damaged my rotator cuff trying to avoid a throw, i.e. not being thrown on my back. Looking back at this now it seems ridiculous that I would worry that much about being thrown for ippon in a randori session but that was how I used to train, full of testosterone and not wanting to get beaten by anyone. Now my ego is left outside the dojo and I’ll happily practice my breakfalls when I am thrown in randori
Anyway the injury kept me out of anything physical at all for almost a year so I gave Judo a wide berth but now at 37 years and 6 months I have decided to go back to Judo, this time at my local Dorking Judo Club.
I have so far had 2 lessons and will shortly start logging all the techniques I have learnt so far.
The instructors at the club all seem friendly and there certainly doesn’t seem to be any ego’s in the dojo.
Anyway that’s my Martial Arts history so far, hopefully this blog will continue until I reach Black Belt and beyond.
Well I’m not quite at Black Belt level yet but I still have the same enthusiasm for Judo. The style of my blog hasn’t changed that much over the last two years but if anyone has any ideas of how to change it or what they would like to see then I’m open to suggestions.