Friday, 28 March 2014

happy anniversary to me part four

What was seemingly becoming a trait, we kind of lost touch with SBG but not before I met Leo Kirby, we kind of hit it off right away, I guess being the same age group we had that old man cynicism.

Leo had started training with Marcelo after he had persuaded Marcelo to move to Florida. At one point there was just Marcelo, Leo and 2 other guys training in his garage and Leo was getting a lot of information. He would email me daily with new techniques, ideas and Marcelo's philosophy on everything. I learned so much from that correspondence, most of the emails I have kept to this day. I even added "Leo's Page" to the old website, I don't know if anyone saw it but he laid out Marcelo's game totally complete with links to matches to fortify what was being taught. That in itself was a great resource, I wonder how many people actually saw it?

I have since had the pleasure of going to Florida to stay at Leo's, teach a couple of classes and train a little. This is another one of those occasions where I have made a friend for life through Jiu Jitsu.

Up to this point, this had been a very satisfying period for me and yet one that can never be repeated. There is so much BJJ now in the UK that no one will have to go what we went through and because of that I am sad for you.

These days it is easy to get access to great coaches, the group is full of them, YouTube and torrent sites[1] fill in any knowledge gaps but when there were just guys like Helen, Muckle, Spenna, Danny and Ryan[2] with us trying to work things out, that was real fun. I don’t understand some people’s rush to get through belts because they really are missing the point.

Life was really good; we had more and more guys getting graded, competing and winning. We had guys competing in BJJ, submission wrestling, all levels of MMA, Judo and Sombo; just about anything you could compete in. We were having a great time; we had more and more guys wanting to affiliate so we continued to grow to what we have now.

So here we stand, 7 black belts so far with plenty more on the way including the 1st female in the UK, something the big G can never take from us. We have the structure to keep providing opportunities for our students. We have mma, gi and no gi champions with guys that have competed from every level from local interclub to Mundials and everything in between. All this has been achieved without having to sell our soul to a franchise, this has been hard work from everyone involved and for that I am very proud.

Knowing that I also have Haueter there to call on too if I need any advice, which I often do. He has helped me a lot with the various problems you encounter along the way. 

I have been fortunate to travel, train and teach in a bunch of different places, home and abroad, have met some truly wonderful people and had some great experiences through Jiu Jitsu. So this gives me the inspiration to try to help others.

I am so pround that as a group we have raised thousands of pounds for charities, really giving back to the community that so many just take from.

For ourselves, our legacy is we are providing a friendly yet competitive environment for anyone to improve their lives through improved fitness, confidence, social skills and of course defensive skills.

Forget medals and titles, anyone who enhances their real life through Jiu Jitsu is a champion.

The future? Will report on that after the next 20 years or in a separate blog post.

[1] Neither Combat Base nor its representatives advocate the use of any illegally downloaded material regardless of how useful it may be, even if the originals are really expensive.
[2] Helen Currie, Steve Muckle, Mark Spencer, Danny Mitchell and Ryan Hunter

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