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Back to my normal routine this week, training BJJ and MMA in Liverpool, after a brief stint with the pro team it’s been a smooth transition easing back into the evening classes. Actually. ‘easing back in’ probably isn’t the most accurate term, as the first MMA combat 101 class I took part in was a monster session! There was about 20 of us in Coach Mike’s class, the sun was cracking the flags outside, every student seemed in a dead positive mood and was putting 100% in, and Mike had some brilliant, but tiring drills for us.

It meant we’d all lost about ten litres of fluid each by the end of the class, so forget what I said about easing back in.

After that it was a quick change into my gi (which felt lovely to put fresh dry clothes on) and downstairs into the BJJ 101 class. The ‘fresh’ feeling didn’t last long, as this class was even busier than the last. Coach Jay Owen has just recently returned from tying the knot abroad and he had all us students tied in knots with some interesting warm up drills! The class ended with some ‘winner stays on’ sparring and I have to say, I felt great – especially considering I’d missed about 2 weeks of jiu jitsu. It was only conditional sparring, not full jiu jitsu sparring (rolling to submission.) For instance, Coach would set a scenario like 1 person starts in closed guard and the person on top would have to pass (the guard) and the person on bottom would have to sweep or submit. Now as I said it wasn’t the full shebang but for the first time ever I was actually unbeaten all night, ‘winning’ about 10 or 12 rolls on the bounce. The standard was quite good aswell, we had a couple of blue belts in the class, the odd purple, and as expected by now some killer white belts.

Of course I realise that ‘winning’ a lot of conditional spars doesn’t automatically make a great class. The best classes are actually the ones where you get ‘smashed’ over and over, as you’re learning a LOT more in those sessions.

It’s like going on a night out drinking. When I was young and just started going out, it wasn’t considered a good night unless I’d copped off at the end haha! I needed that ‘win’ at the end of the evening, otherwise it was just an average night! These days, you appreciate just sitting with good company, catching up with your mates and all that.

Well, I apply that logic to the jiu jitsu sessions now. (Although I’ve never copped off in training, they’re nice guys down at the MMA Academy but they’re not that nice!) Seriously though, I realise that you don’t learn half as much from the classes where you dominate.

Yeah…I realise that, but it sure felt good driving home with a big smile on my face.

Staying on the BJJ subject we had some gradings again this week. At the Thursday night Combat201 session there was a quadruple Iron man as 4 white belts spread their wings and became blues.

Coach Jason gave a good speech before the class about blue belt deserving a lot of respect in jiu jitsu and martial arts in general. Above all, it shows the student has a really solid understanding of the basics.

The 4 lads in question were Peter Atkinson, Piers Lough, Chris Green and Mick Dowd.All four are regular attendees of the Combat201 classes, and I’m not sure about the first two but I definitely know that Chris and Dowdy often frequent the Competition class on a Monday and Wednesday early evening.

This class is usually already underway as I’m arriving for my Thai class upstairs, and from the odd glimpse I’ve caught of it all I can say is Wow! Nevermind see it you can even hear it! Hear the intensity all the way upstairs. It’s definitely a class I need to eventually get on, as anyone who sets foot on the mat during it will 100% fast-track their progress.As usual the week finished with some quality MMA sparring on Saturday morning.

I mentioned last week about the ‘shootbox’ format being popular, and that was evident as we had 16 solid participants turn up to ensure a VERY busy session but one with lots of variety and people to learn from.I completed a few good rounds, finishing with a quality dust-up with the talented Tim Barnett. Tim is a machine and he got the better of me overall but I certainly made him work for it, which is testament to my own progress as he used to pepper me with ease when I first started sparring. Those little adjustments made from training with the pro team are already paying off, and with a bit of luck it wont be long before I’m back in the morning sessions.

It’s mad the way after a good, competitive spar your body releases all endorphins that put you in a good mood. Despite the aches and pains and the tenderness from taking the odd shot, you just feel great. It’s Saturday night now as I’m typing this and life is good. The Premier League is back, there’s boxing and UFC on in the early hours later, there’s a big bag of peanut M&Ms in my lap, life just couldn’t be better! (Well it could actually, my Fantasy Footy team is shocking, I’ve got to share the M&Ms, and I’m too tired from sparring to stay up for the boxing/UFC.)

But the point is I’m in a brilliant mood and it’s all thanks to the MMA Academy.