…I became a blue belt.
To this day it’s the greatest thing I have achieved in my life.
I’m a lazy bastard, and I really mean that. I have a tendency to ditch things fast. I get bored and quickly recognise whether something is for me or not. My brain says, Barry it’s time to move on. I’ve done this all my life.
I didn’t fit in very well at secondary school – clashing with other pupils and teachers. I tried Judo when I was younger, giving up early (yellow belt) because I didn’t believe in myself. I tried to become an army cadet, and a particularly brutal weekend broke my will. I’ve dabbled with bits and bobs throughout my life, never truly finding my place. What suits me.
I was convinced to get back into watching the UFC, having watched it years before from a work colleague. I trained basic MMA to understand better what was happening. Shortly after dropped the whole punchy-kicky-nonsense, for Submission Wrestling. I thrived here.
You could tap me thousand times in a single roll and I wouldn’t care. I belong here.
I’m not an athlete, I’m the casual laid back sort of a grappler. I’m not going to rip your arm off with brute strength, or crush your trachea with my devastating chokes. I’m here to have fun, and maintain a slice of health, in the sea of shit I fuel my body on (sausages/chinese food/BACON).
And so from Submission Wrestling comes the The Gentle Art.
Having trained under a very brutal wrestler, who came from a catch/shoot/short wrestling backround I wanted something different. No disrespect to him, but I just don’t want to hurt people. I’ll save the nastiness for my sharp tongue, and ability to cut through someone with words. It’s time for some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
After about eighteen months of farting about in a Gi (maybe shorter) I was somehow given a blue belt. I’m not sure how much ‘Speedy’ had been drinking that day, but I didn’t dare question it.
Here comes the kicker. On that particular day, it was completely out of the blue. No-one knew they were going to be graded, some people received stripes, the guy who runs my current gym received his purple belt, and then myself and two others at the end of the class were presented with our blue belts.
I’m an emotional person, so when my name was called I started to well up. The tears were building, ready to flow out of my bastard eyes as the belt was tied.
I approached ‘Speedy’ tentatively in my red Gi, and well worn white belt. I untied my belt, and ‘Speedy’ started to tie on my new belt. I looked over to Tyrone (Speedy’s son/purple belt), for him to say, “I wouldn’t have worn a red Gi, they’re for poofs.” and like that, my moment was stripped from me. I laughed and called him a bastard/arsehole or word to that effect. Thanks Tyrone, you saved me from crying this time.
Today to celebrate still being a blue belt (no demotion yet!), I had a light roll with a fellow blue belt, we drilled the moves from the Marc Walder seminar, and then we did some of that lifting stuff that people do. Weights, bleurgh. Also, Gi pullups. They were good. And apparently I can do them, so that’s reassuring.
Now it’s time to wind down until Wednesday. The next class. My body is currently fucked.