Archive for March, 2012

The clock is ticking to my 5th dan grading: Success!

March 30, 2012

I’m very proud to say that Sensei Salur Onural and I were awarded the rank of 5th Dan in Ju Jitsu by Kyoshi Mike Johnson, 8th Dan. I can honestly say that I’m honoured and humbled to have achieved this grade. It takes a minimum of 15 years to get from 1st to 5th Dan and that obviously means that there are very few who achieve this and higher grades. In my case it’s been 19 years since I achieved Shodan. As Kyoshi Mike said when awarding this rank to Sensei Salur and I, we may have got the award without going through a formal grading just for services to Budo but we instead chose to grade for it. As mentioned before in this blog series there are many reasons we chose not to go down this route. The main reason we did was that we wanted to show our students that we train just as hard if not harder than we ask them to when we’re about to take a test. The feedback we got from our students after the event led me to believe that we acheived that aim.

In addition Sensei Spencer Riley achieved the rank of 3rd Dan. I thought his grading was exemplary and Sensei Salur and I were very proud to be a part of it. Sensei Spencer had already practised Ju Jitsu for many years before his move to London and was extremely good when he arrived so we can’t take too much credit for how good he is. We are proud however that he chose London Ju Jitsu to continue his training for the last 8 years or so and of our contribution to his development.

So what next? It will of course be at least 6 years before Sensei Salur and I are eligable for 6th Dan so how do I keep motivated? One thing I do know is that I wish to continue to practice and teach Ju Jitsu until it’s physically impossible for me to do so and I hope that will be for many years yet! In previous blogs I’ve talked a lot about how much I’ve learned from teaching and how much my technique has improved by passing on my knowledge. One thing I haven’t touched on so much is that the Ju Jitsu club is like a family and for the time that the students are members they are like family members and best friends all rolled into one. We seem to be lucky in Ju Jitsu as we generally attract really nice, intelligent, well rounded people with only a slight touch of insanity. To be able to have met and had some influence on such a large number of inspirational people is much more of an honour than the number of tabs on or colour my belt. The motivation therefore comes from the students and Dan grades at the club and, even after all these years, there is never a night I wish that I was doing something else!

The clock is ticking to my 5th Dan Grading: Part 4

March 19, 2012

Yesterday was our final hard training session before our grading. It was another tough four hour session which began with 60 consecutive throws each, then Sensei Spencer and I practising Kime No Kata, 30 mins ground fighting, another 80 consecutive throws and then another 30 mins ground fighting. Sensei Ian, who has been been training almost as hard as us even though he’s not grading, unfortunately fractured his shoulder as Uke for one of Sensei Specer’s techniques. This technique has become known as “Number 11” as it’s the 11th in his sequence and is always a particulary hard fall. I have to put on record here how much we all owe to Sensei Ian Ferguson for the effort he’s put in to help us over the last year!

Next week is the grading so the remaining training sessions will not be so intense. The aim is to keep repeating the techniques and keep the muscle memory but also to allow the body to heal and ensure we have as much energy as possible for the day. I honestly don’t think we could have done much more from a training perspective and I think the techniques are as good as they can be. Of course they can ALWAYS be improved but most of the time they are as good as we as individuals can execute them. Pass or fail I think we can all be proud of the effort we’ve put in and I hope the students have been inspired by seeing us put in even more time and effort into training than they’ve had to thus far in their journey.


The clock is ticking to my 5th Dan Grading: Part 3

March 2, 2012

With four weeks to go progress is mixed. On the plus side Sensei Spencer is still alive! Last Sunday while practising Kime No Kata, I attacked Sensei Spencer with a Katana, tripped over my hakama, fell over and nearly cut him in half! Luckily his reactions were good and he got well out of the way! A comic moment looking back at it but it was a bit scary at the time. All three of us are having to practice through injuries. I severely injured Sensei Spencer’s knee when practicing drop knee Tai-Toshi a couple of weeks ago so he’s training through the pain barrier. Sensei Salur has a number of minor knocks. I have this really weird injury to my achilles. It is fine one minute (not even sore) and the next minute for no apparent reason it goes into spasm and the pain is excruciating. After a couple of minutes it’s fine again and I can carry on. I really should get it looked at! 🙂

On the plus side the fitness is getting much better. We’re all starting the class with 70 straight throws and then practising them and the other techniques in the syllabus again and again. We end the sessions with line ups and at least 30 minutes of groundfighting. We’re now training for 4 hours straight on Sunday’s so hopefully that will be enough to ensure we’re fit enough. I feel the techniques themselves are getting there but still need to be smoother and sharper. All in all I don’t think we could be doing much more so if we make it through to grading day we’ll be giving it our best shot.

I’d like to thanks all of the Dan grades in our club who are helping a lot with teaching and giving us the opportunity to train. It’s very much appreciated.