Thursday, 3 September 2009

Training notes - Pt 1

Finally managed to get some free time on here, not the best time at 2am to be honest, should be sleeping and recovering from training today, but when you gotta type you gotta type!

As you are now aware, I have entered the Scandinavian Open in Stockholm in October, the forms have been filled in and I have registered for -94K Senior 1 purple belt and the purple belt Open division, which sees me on the mats on the Saturday (weight group)and on the Sunday (Open division).

I have competed in every belt division over the years and for me this will be the toughest test to date; I entered the purple belt bracket at the Capital Challenge International in Jordan, December 2008 and was beaten in the first round by the eventual winner of my division so it wasn't too bad a defeat to take on the chin. Conditioning was a key factor in the match in Jordan, plus having to cope with one of the loudest and passionate group of home fans I have ever come across, all armed with drums and whistles, making one hell of a racket supporting their team mates. It was an experience I'll never forget and a learning curve dealing with all the noice and distractions as your name is called and you walk onto the mats all alone in a foreign land, just you in the middle, no corner team to look at for inspiration, just little old you in the middle ready for action, facing your opponent across the mat, waiting for the referee to start the match.

All invaluable experience in the grand scheme of things.

The trip to Stockholm on the other hand will not be a solo affair; I will be travelling down and staying with my sponsors Tatami Fight Wear dot com for a few days, chilling out and I dare say making a few reports and articles on the time spent there, before heading off to Stansted Airport and hooking up with fellow UK athletes from London Fight Factory and travelling en masse to Stockholm.

The Welcome Hotel will be our port of call in Stockholm, where other UK competitors will be staying, which will be good for team morale and support over the weekend and of course, I will be at the event competing and taking photos and covering the whole trip out there and sending the reports in to the usual outlets.

Last time I competed at this event was in 2004 and I had the honour of having Rob Drysdale referee one of my matches and then after competing we were all treated to some black belt fights and again was witness to Rob steamroller his way through his opponents to take the gold medal.

As for preparation for the event, I put my thinking cap on and decided to concentrate on my stand up game, as with only 6-7 weeks to prepare, my ground work won't vastly improve in such a short space of time. My stand up game is something that can be brought up to speed within the time frame, so I have been drilling grip work and open guard attacks as well as a number of combos and defences and a few 'what if' scenarios.

So far so good; no injuries (fingers crossed) giving me any grief and the biggest battle for me isn't so much the training itself, it's more the personal sacrifices you make for a competition. Having to turn down nights out with friends at the weekends, cutting out the beer and the late night snacks, getting early nights in when everyone else is out having fun. To me, these are the toughest challenges to fight week in week out and for now I have been doing my best and feel so much better for it and now the momentum is picking up I am finding it easier to resist the temptations and can focus on my training knowing I'm getting the rest and recovery in every week.

So, for now all is going well - have plenty of drilling and rolling to get through next week, so will keep you all up to date at the end of next week, time allowing of course!

A big shout out to Sarah Jones and class RJC at Starbank Primary School, Small Heath, Birmingham, who are following my training notes on here - let's hope some of the pupils decide to start training BJJ!

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