For years, I’ve been telling myself that turning 30 wasn’t going to hurt. Turns out I was wrong, DAMN WRONG. Nothing’s changed mentally (helped by the fact I’ve been a cantankerous prick since I was about thirteen).
Physically however, it’s a different story altogether. I didn’t wake up and suddenly feel old, oh no – none of that capers. I just so happened to attend a leglock seminar with David ‘Speedy’ Elliot. Turning thirty has never been so fucking painful.
Speedy’s a 2nd degree black belt under Marc Walder/Mauricio Motta Gomes. He’s this incredible ball of pressure and tightness, that makes you feel like your limbs are going to literally explode from the strain he’s putting them under.
His speciality is focused on immobilising those big heavy hams that carry you around all day. He’s one of the most crushing, powerful grapplers I’ve ever experienced but more than anything else, he’s a family man and a man of humility. Any time I see him, he sings the praises of his students and how hard he’s having to work to keep them at bay. He’s responsible for some of the most savage grapplers in the North East. A team of killers, but his love is simply training, and watching people get better. Sharing whatever knowledge he can.
This seminar was arranged by a good friend of mine called Grant. Grant and Speedy are close. I think it’s probably because they’re both so goddamn old. They talk about the war a lot. The good old days, and how when they were brought up, their favourite toy was a stick or if they were lucky, a rock. They often reminiss about how the world was black and white, and then it became sepia and then finally colour. Wonderful, good times (hopefully Speedy forgets all this before I see him next).
The turnout was incredible for this seminar. Speedy hasn’t been up for a few years, because he’s got a big family and it’s a pretty hefty journey when you’ve got young kids at home. Today though, he brought the family with. It’s good to have mental bairns running about the place, whilst you’re attacking someone’s legs. It lifts the tension of all the snapping, popping and cracking that the knees, ankles and feet were doing on the regular.
Word of mouth, coupled with Grant’s contacts within the Scottish BJJ world lead to a fair crowd hitting the mats. It was actually a bit claustrophobic in our wee shed for a change. I looked out and thought to myself, this is a pretty grand thing to be doing for my thirtieth. I barely drink, don’t go to pubs, clubs, etc. so having a Birthday party would have been wasted on me. In a way, this was like my own personal Birthday party; albeit a horribly violent one. THIS IS THE BEST. Fuck conforming to the norm, there was nothing else I’d rather have been doing today.
Speedy worked a numbered of leg attacks, entanglements and variations on simplistic setups. I felt my achilles locks, kneebars and footlocks come on a great deal in the couple of hours that we trained. It was bloody smashing. I’ve taken notes, as I usually do and my focus from here is going to be putting it all into practice. Trying my best to hit these techniques more frequently, and abandoning my beloved loop choke sequence for a while. Fuck loop chokes, I’m hunting legs until I’m forty.