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Does this MMA lark get any easier?  It seems like the better my skills get, the tougher the classes get. Work that one out!  You wouldn’t want it any other way, though.  I’m currently training as hard as I can, as long as I can, and as often as I can.

The BJJ Competition Classes that I’ve started attending have brought my game on even further. It’s weird, as I don’t tend to learn as much from these as I do from James Owen’s 101 classes, as there’s less time spent on instructional drilling here. Don’t get me wrong, I do learn a lot, and we cover a couple of techniques at the start of the class, but in the main it’s sparring, sparring, sparring.  Hard sparring,  Against GOOD guys.

I’d say it’s roughly 30% drilling then 70% sparring (in the few classes I’ve experienced anyway.)  The 101 class flips these ratios to 70/30 in favour of drilling, with mostly positional sparring at the end.  Both classes play their part in developing your all round game, and if you really want to compete in jitz it’s crucial you pay attention to both sides.  In the 101 class word got back to Ste McGiverin that I’d been bragging I’d swept him in my last blog.  I won’t mention any names on who grassed me up (cough, cough *Jay Owen*) but Ste wasn’t amused…and low and behold I only ended up being paired with him near the end for some sparring.
He made me pay!

Ste dominating as per usual in one of the comp classes.

Ste dominating as per usual in one of the comp classes.

We were going over finishes from when you’ve took someone’s back. Mainly collar chokes like the ‘bow and arrow’ but also variations of the ‘rear naked’ choke where you use the collar and lapels to finish.  Anyone who’s ever rolled will surely have experienced ‘gi burn’ at some point. Unsightly red marks all around your upper body. In boxing I sometimes get ‘rope burn’ when I’ve been quite defensive, spending most of the round with my back to the ropes. That leaves some curious marks down your back …that you struggle to explain to your other half when you’re back home getting changed!  Well, the gi burn I got from rolling with Ste was even harder to explain to the missus – because we were drilling collar chokes it meant I had blotches and little red burns all round my neck. Looking in the mirror it was like I’d received about twenty lovebites (or spammys or beefys or whatever you called them when you were younger.) Now that was gonna take some explaining!  Tell you what though, it took me back…  Back to my school-days.  Ahhh yes, I’d often come home from school with a neck full of spammys.  I was always the popular one with the other pupils round the back of the bike sheds.  Just a shame I went to an all-boys school : – (  In all seriousness though, the intensity of these classes mixed with the learning pace of the 101 classes is definitely bringing me that one step closer to being ready to compete in MMA.

Unfortunately, on the subject of competing in MMA, one person who might not be able to so anymore is the Academy’s very own Lawrence Fitzpatrick.  Loz had some news this week which puts his health in danger if he competes in this sport.  I won’t go into the details, as they’re personal to him (and I’ll be honest I don’t know the full situation) but it’s looking like he’s gonna have to hang up the gloves for good.  Which is a shame. A big shame.  I’m trying to be positive about it, as is Loz himself, but this lad has talent coming out of every pore in his body.
There’s more to life than fighting, I know that.  Loz has a young family and sees the bigger picture in all this, so I won’t harp on…but trust me, I’m not being sentimental when I say this but he was the most talented mixed martial artist I’d seen in my short time spent on the MMA scene.  I’ve been talking to gym-mates who reiterated this. Mark Kinny summed him up well – for such a talented lad he was (is) so nice aswell. You’d half-expect someone with so much ability to maybe have a bit of a chip on their shoulder. I’ve seen that 1st hand in other sports.  But no, not Loz.  And he could do it all. Striking, rolling, wrestling, you name it.  Massive for his weight, a southpaw who could switch-hit. His kicking was amazing and he made it all look so effortless.

Personally, I never sparred him myself.  Of a Saturday when we’d all rotate sparring partners after every round, I’d always be at the other end of the room to wherever he was! Haha, this wasn’t intentional, as I wil spar anyone, but I think a part of my sub-conscious brain was saying “You don’t want none of that Loz fella do you, Seddo. Stay down this end and don’t make eye contact!”  Tell you what though…he has to be the unluckiest lad with injuries I’ve ever known. Freak injuries, sprains, strains, cuts, etc etc.  I think when he left his house for the MMA Academy of a morning he walked under a ladder on a daily basis, broke a mirror or two on the way and never saluted any magpies that flew in his path!

As it stands he said he will maybe be back for some Jiu Jitsu in the future (which he is also awesome at) but whatever he decides to pursue, myself and everyone at the Academy wish him all the very best for the future, and hope to see you soon Loz x