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 Blackbelt grading Coventry

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Nick Engelen

Number of posts : 210
Registration date : 2007-09-07

PostSubject: Blackbelt grading Coventry   Sat 08 Sep 2012, 15:28

I was standing on the train from Stafford to Liverpool Limestreet. The second class carriage was full and to the other side was first class. I had been reasoning that there would come some space when the train would pull in the next station and some people would get off. However it started to look like the train would drive in one go to Liverpool. I looked at the ticket the lady printed out for me in Birmingham. It showed that the ride would be about an hour. I felt very tired and a mild motion sickness came up. I didn’t have that for years, I guess it was a result of being exhausted form the grading earlier that day. It was Saturday 1 September 2012 around 19.00 and the first day of the 10th International Combatives seminar in Liverpool. Organised for the first time in 2002 it’s a yearly event during which Dennis Martin leads a team of guest instructors through a program of hard, but enjoyable, self-protection training. I missed that day’s training as it was on the same day as the grading on Geoff’s black belt course.

I had arrived the day before at Birmingham airport from where I went to Coventry. The grading took place at the AT 7 sportcentre that morning.

When I arrived at the venue together with Ben and Martin who were kind enough to pick me up from the hotel, we were met by Dean, Lee, Kai and Glen. Inside the gym I could feel an air of tension, we knew we were doing a grading but nobody knew what we had to expect. To cope with my own trepidation I joked about just watching instead of participating to which others responded that they would drag me in. Suddenly there was knocking on the door it was Geoff. After everyone arrived class started and Geoff started with a speech, he said the grading consisted out of grappling and we had to win two fights. I had a look around measuring up my opponents and thought I could handle most of them. Jelly Bryce’s quote to meet everyone with a smile on your face and homicide on your heart came to mind. I visualised the moves I would use for each one of them. This made me miss a lot of the talk. After Geoff finished we started with putting out the matts where after we practised uchikomi, I was partnered up with Martin, a big friendly guy. The next was the machadodrill. I went first. Time went by very quickly, each time Geoff said we had a break I couldn’t believe the time had passed that quick. Then it was Martin’s turn… Throughout the drill I had to push him and threatened him that I would kick his arse if he dared to give up.

After that Geoff restated that we had to win 2 fights and most certainly couldn’t give up. He asked for a volunteer to which I stepped forward. I was up against Louis who was doing his 2nd Dan and had to win 5 fights. It didn’t take long for him to work me to the ground. I got up and was faced with the next opponent. My visualisation didn’t seem to work, as Mike Tyson says everyone has a plan until they get hit. As the fights continued I started to feel tired and went into survival mode, getting frustrated that I didn’t have a win I smashed my fist into the mat. I tried a sacrifice throw. The hand slipped off and I ended on the floor. The point went to my opponent. I tried again which failed again. Some of the guys seemed to hesitate when they faced me as I showed signs of getting tired, they were ordered to put the pressure on. No quarters were given nor asked for. The eight fights were like a blur. Looking at Geoff I asked if I still had a chance, he said ‘yes join in with the next fights’. Others came to console me telling me that what I had done was hard. Martin was the next one. He is a heavy guy, when I went up against him Geoff told me that he needed a win from me. Martin grabbed my shirt and kept me away from him almost tearing my shirt apart. Unable to move him with his weight and him just keeping me away from him I ran out of steam, at a certain moment he came into action and threw me.

We were with 9 people to do the grading this meant a total of 16 fights for each one of us. Fighting when tired is hard, I tried to be the first one on the mat every time. After a grapple with Glenn some vomit came up as I had given everything. Some of it landing on the mat, I sprinted to the bin where my entire stomach content which was mostly water came up. I apologized to Geoff and cleaned it up. He said it wasn’t a problem and he liked my attitude and spirit.

After everyone had his go we cleaned the matts up and put them away where after Geoff called us together. As I didn’t win enough fights I was told to redo the grading.

After the grading 3 of us went for a coffee and a chat to the hotel. After my two friends left and I said goodbye to the staff I went for a quick visit into the town centre to meet up with a friend who works at the local pizzahut. The month before I had promised her to come by before going to Liverpool as she would quit that month as she was going to study at University in Birmingham. After a small meal and a coffee I asked for the bill and asked the waitress to give two of Geoff’s books to my friend who had been busy. While I was organising myself she came by for a quick chat where after I asked the quickest way to the station and said bye. To my surprise she said maybe see you in a couple of months. Apparently she could read my mind as she continued that she would keep working there.

Carrying my heavy luggage I raced towards the train station where I took the train towards Liverpool. I would have to switch trains twice.
The End


Nick Engelen
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Number of posts : 9082
Registration date : 2007-06-27

PostSubject: Re: Blackbelt grading Coventry   Sun 09 Sep 2012, 13:44

The fact is that the Judo Black Belt is a tough test. It is a "fighting grade" and you have to win a certain number of fights. I spoke to Nick about this over a coffee in Liverpool city centre, and it seems his major problem is lack of training partners. The grading is not won on the day, but in the hundreds of fights you must do leading up to it. Nick really hasn't access to serious Judo training where he lives in Belgium, unlike his fellow grading candidates who are engaging in serious competitive training several times a week.
One solution would be to spend a week in Liverpool in the run up to the next attempt, training daily at the gym, where there is a good assortment of grapplers from Judo to Sambo to MMA.
Anyway, the thing is to keep trying. Nick is already a Black Belt in Aikido, and with the right build-up I'm sure he'll win the coveted Judo grade.

Check Six,
Dennis Martin
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Number of posts : 228
Localisation : Edinburgh
Registration date : 2007-07-20

PostSubject: Re: Blackbelt grading Coventry   Sun 09 Sep 2012, 14:43

With the support Nick is going to get I suspect that it will be a different story next time.

Hopefully he can find some grappling training at home and that week at the gym would set things up nicely.

No doubt about Nick's mentality though, I would have chucked it !

Next time Nick !
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