When we started out in this art, one thing is very clear for the vast majority of us. Getting your black belt isn’t even on the radar. Your first gi is either too small, or too big for you. And even though you know how to tie a shoe lace, tying a belt requires you enlist in the Navy and do your service for your country, or at least that’s how it seems at first. On day one, you look in the mirror, and see a dishevelled mess of a person. That’s what people think of, when they think of a white belt. Forget the hardened warriors that are on the cusp of getting their blue belt. When you think of a white belt, you see yourself. You were shite.
On Saturday on the 7th of November, Fort Speedy held another grading day in Newcastle. Usual format. Inter-club between the Darlington, Dundee and Newcastle lot. This is a competition between friends. There was some beautiful Jiu-Jitsu on display from white belt through to black. It’s a great day out.
Us Dundee lot had a great time, each receiving stripes and most notably, Andrew (JFK) finally got his blue belt. A well deserved feat, by a very hard working grappler. He was very quick off the bat to finish his opponents. That’s what he does. He’s a big strong brute of a man, that doesn’t mess around with his techniques.
I had two fights, both of which showed glaring holes in my game, and have given me something to focus on, in movement. I fought two guys that were bigger than me, but that wasn’t a factor, as neither muscled me into the mat. Fahad and Hubert both had far better technique than I. It’s a humbling experience, but one that should only make me a better grappler, once the hard work is put in. I’ve marked their names in my little book of enemies, and will be taking their skulls home with me in May.
From Dundee/Fife, we had a strong showing, sans my own glaringly shit performance. Aaron, Andrew, Grant, Lewis, Paul, Ronnie, Scott & Sloany all had moments of brilliance in their matches, but we’ve all come away with things to work on, because that’s how this sport works. Even on your best day, there are gaps to be found by someone. We’re very fortunate to have some great coaches sending us into battle up in Dundee, one of which, who heads the BJJ classes is Billy Beckers. He’s our Yoda. Our Jiu-Jitsu-off-on-another-tangent-but-is-leading-you-down-the-right-path-master. Paul Hughes whilst not affiliated with Origin Jiu-Jitsu is also an asset to our training, well worth a mention for his invaluable grappling knowledge. He’s a dirty wrestler, but like Billy, I love him to bits.
The Darlington and Newcastle guys put on a show. Their finesse, movement and approach, even at white belt is something special to watch. Speedy and Dom are doing great work down in their retrospect cities. Their guys were rightfully showered in stripes, blue belts and a few well deserved purple belts that I think we all knew were coming.
Last but by no means least, our wonderful coach in Speedy may be a man of humility, but we look upto him as some sort of mad professor. His approach to Jiu-Jitsu is simple, effective and brutal. I think the scariest thing about a mad professor though, is the things that they can create. Think Frankenstein.
On Saturday, he created a whole new evil in giving Dom his black belt. Dom has been on a long and difficult journey, and the darkest colour will suit him well, because his Jiu-Jitsu is incredible. He’s an awkward, technical little bastard, with the same bloodthirst in his eyes as Speedy. If I can be half as good as either of these two men, I will have made it in this art.
Right, toodle pip.