Shooto… where have you been all my life?

So I turn up to training last Friday at 10:30 a.m. When you are jobless, you get to do things like train martial arts in the day time.

I walk in with my gi all wrapped up in my bag, and the room is full of stocky guys with ears so deformed they look like shellfish. Nobody is wearing a gi. My jiu-jitsu instructor is wearing jeans and about to go out the door.

“Oops. Shooto class this morning, is it?”

They’re looking at me like the way a hungry person in a cartoon sees another person as a giant comedy steak.

I consider going home. I’ve had two weeks off training and I don’t fancy getting the shit kicked out of me on my first day back.

“But you just cycled 20 minutes to get here!” says a whiny voice in my brain.

What the hell, I’ll give it a go.

The shooto instructor, the silent but deadly type (actually a very friendly chap when you get to know him) decides, I think for my sake, to work on grappling first. The no-gi grappling I can handle.  So I partner up with some guy who’s got all the gear: the Reversal shorts, the reversal top, and, um, knee pads. I like rolling with these guys. When they have all the expensive gear, it either means they are really good and I’ll get to learn something, or they are a poser, and I’ll get to beat someone up whilst wearing an outfit that costs less than their left kneepad.

That day, the guy was the latter. He had good forward pressure and very bendy legs, so for the first few minutes I was on my back defending the guard pass. But once I found my rythm, I swept him a few times and subbed him by triangle and then arm triangle.

Moved on to the next guy, another strange Japanese phenomenon… looks like a fucking killer but as humble as anything. Guy has the yakuza sleeve tattoos on his shoulders and thighs. He’s strong as an ox and kicks my ass, in a very polite way.

I roll with a couple of other people and don’t feel too bad, all things considered.

Then came the kickboxing sparring… what the hell, I tried it out. Paired up with the same poser as before, and just boxed like anybody knows how to… ended up getting through to him a few times. I think the guy was even more a beginner than me actually. After all, I have done four years of Wing Chun Kung Fu, a deadly and efficient martial art based on my arse.

I sparred a few people. It’s funny how they all have different rythms. One guy, a judo guy that I had secretly been checking out for a while (in a non-homo way) just because he moves so well, and uses his judo very well. So we sparred, and he had a great “spirit”… his stare was so strong I couldn’t look him in the eye. He played a counter-attacking game, waiting for me to throw some retarded donkey punch in the air and countering with something that usually connected with my face. It was fun.

Had a few more sparrings with different people. Got a high kick to the face and a low kick to the thigh, ouchy!

Then there was padwork, which felt really natural and fun. I’m basically a beginner, but I could feel that I was doing well, and hitting hard. The coach said the same thing.

In short, hello Shooto. Nice to meet you. Let’s do this again some time!

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One Response

  1. I have been at many karate tournaments and have met many people and look forward going to the next tournament to meet a great bunch of folks.

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