Thursday, 5 November 2015

Lunchtime sparring class @ LFF!

I arrived early today and was the first student through the door, as Luiz, Enrique and Marcelo welcomed me into the gym; as I was getting ready the regulars started to come through the doors and get changed and ready to do battle.

There's never an easy session down here, just the way I like it and as I was taping myself up, the mats started to fill up with young, tough, hungry purple belts.  Three black belts graced the mats and pretty much everyone on the mats had some kind of ache or pain, a niggly injury or a fresh one to deal with and I was among them with my own aches and pains, thankfully through hard training this week.

Luiz gave us ten minutes on the clock to warm up and it was six minute rounds for the whole session, my first roll being with Luiz.  A great way to warm myself up as I was squashed, flattened and generally manhandled for the whole six minutes.  The next round was with purple belt Omid, fresh off his triple gold victory at the London Open and another beasting ensued.

My next roll was with a white belt from Amsterdam and before the bell rang for the round, alarm bells were ringing as I saw his gnarly ears and felt his vice like grip on my collar; more alarm bells started to ring, together with my head as everything went dark, as I was rolled in to a classic sangaku jime with ease.  Judo black belt I thought as stars were in my eyes and after the roll I found out he was a Judo black belt of ten years and word on the mats was that he was on the Dutch Olympic squad.  Beware the white belt, they are not what they seem.

Mineiro gave me smile and offered himself for my next roll and with a quick fist bump we were off; Mineiro really tries to get the best out of you and let me attack and force the pace, but always ended up with me tapping out and always with a huge grin on his face.  Great fun to roll with people like this, no egos involved just the love of good training and self improvement.

After the roll, I was contemplating sitting a round out and slowly dying, but black belt Enrique asked me for a roll and who can say no to a black belt? La Furia is one of the lightest guys in the gym and one of the slippiest customers on the mats.  Trying to pin him is like trying to pin a hyperactive eel; one minute you think you have him, the next out shoot his hips and the next thing he's clamped to your back.  Six minutes of slippery shenanigans.

Purple belt James Bryan was next on the list and a tough technical roll ensued; James is strong as an ox but handles it well without hurting you and another solid roll was in the bag.  A couple of rolls with a few guys whose name escape me followed and just as Omid and myself were agreeing to a rematch the class was over.  

There are no easy sessions down here at London Fight Factory, there are no hiding places on the mats; when some one asks you to roll you roll, what ever the size or belt, no matter how sore you are, you just grit your teeth and get on with it.  I was very pleased with my performance today, my injury is as healed as it can be and the long hard road to mat fitness is in full swing.  It's tough enough having a week or two out, but having a good few months out of regular training and at my ripe old age, is nothing short of horrendous.  

Your timing is a second or two out, you breathe like an asthmatic and every pin down is torture, giving you many reasons to just stop and give up; you just have to take the beatdowns and become the nail for a while and take the beastings and one day in the near future the tables will turn and you'll become the hammer.  To all the over forties out there that have had time out, don't be scared, just get back on the mats and if you have decent team mates like I have at LFF, you'll soon be back up there.

Thanks to everyone I rolled with today and pushing me to the limit and beyond.  Ooss. 

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