“Hang on a minute, Doug.”
Slumped in the passenger chair of his red Mazda, I pleaded to open the window, my overheated face now blending in with the car’s paint job.
“If I have to go mate, I’ll just lean out of the window and projectile into the hard shoulder, OK?” This was my contingency plan, just in case I couldn’t hold it down. You have to make these back-up plans when it’s not your vehicle.
The last time I had felt this nauseous was when I’d inhaled river water combined with taking a slam off of a slackline. This time, I’d just finished my second ever NoGi class at Andy Roberts’ Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy.
The class is 90 minutes of sweat-inducing, in-your-face grappling, based on a combo of Greco-Roman wrestling and BJJ. And it gets hot in the academy. Real hot.
I’ve decided to enter a NoGi grappling tournament, the British NoGi Open, held in Birmingham on the 21st of September. And I’m far from ready. But part of this challenge will involve attending a class once a week, as well as trying to squeeze in two or more technical sessions, plus sticking to a strength + conditioning routine. Did I mention whilst working a labouring job? Hardcore.
For class two, we arrived slightly late, missing the intense 30 minute warm-up/conditioning phase we were subjected to during class one. Straight on the mat, and straight into takedowns. First takedown I went for, I steamed-in a little strong, picking this dude right up and dumping him into the mat, extrapolating his internal winds and crushing my right thumb. Good start. Welcome to class.
“If you know you can do it, then you’re not challenging yourself,” – Charles Xavier
Grappling is pretty much the hardest thing I’ve done and could think of to do. I can’t tell you how often I get a voice in my head telling me to quit whilst some other dude is strangling the blood out of my arteries, sweat dripping its way into a stinging eyeball. But still I want to train and improve. Some primal, caveman part of me loves the physical challenge and sweet science of grappling an opponent and coming out alive, preferably victorious.
And so the challenge is set. September 21st. I’m either gonna get the shit kicked out of me or place on the podium. We will see…
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