- Growing Up Bronx
In my ongoing quest to get fit, I have joined and trained at gym upon gym! I’ve tried many different methods to try and re-spark my fire for fitness. The latest school to become part of my attempts at getting fit is Striking 101.
The school is extremely close to where I live. About a 10 minute or so walk away. Just far enough to provide me with an adequate warm up prior to training.
The instructor is a man named Sensei Jon Ruiz. He’s a very cool down to earth guy. The school itself is adequately stocked with the usual items that one can expect to find at a martial arts school. Dummies, punching bags, mats, and guys who are willing to kick your ass in training!
I took advantage of their one month trial and have so far have only taken a grappling class. The class here was pretty much like at most places where I have trained. Start up with the warm ups, go over some technique, then get some live sparring in.
The time I went there wasn’t a black belt level BJJ instructor, and though I believe it makes a big difference when you are trying to take your game to the next level, at my current skill level I can still learn a lot from the other ranks.
I was slated to test for my blue belt in 2006, but I suffered a neck injury that took me out of that test cycle. So they kept me with my “tips” on the belt. Actually, they took my white belt, and gave me one with a blue stripe running through it at the Blitz Center under Marcos Santos.
However, some time later when I went to train at Jucao BJJ, Professor Jucao took that belt away from me, and gave me a plain white belt.
I will know when you are ready for blue.
Professor Jucao doesn’t play. In any case, after so many years out of training, even if I had that belt, I wouldn’t dare to wear it. And my performance during this class solidified that sentiment for me.
I was rolling with guys that are relatively new to BJJ. Guys that I should have easily submitted if we rolled back when I was about to get my blue belt in 2006. Back then I was catching blue belts in armbars, rear naked chokes, and I even caught a purple belt with a kneebar!
Yet this time around I could barely even breath! I didn’t get dominated, but my performance was disgusting. I saw the openings but I could not execute the submissions. I found the escapes, the sweeps, but my body just wasn’t cooperating! The guys were also pretty strong, and in seemingly better shape, so the fall back that brutes like myself usually turn to, “out muscling them,” wasn’t working for me either. I am truly starting back up from the bottom, and again, even if I had that blue belt, I would not embarrass myself or disrespect the instructor who gave it to me with such a terrible performance.
This particular class was great for me. Starting me right from the bottom, where my overweight, unskilled, and out of shape butt belongs! I have to acknowledge that I no longer have the same skill level I did back then. I wish I had continued training, but that neck injury did me in for a long time. Then I just lost the love. Most of the guys I used to train with are now brown belts, and quite a few have earned their black belts after over a decade of training. Me? I’m starting all the way at low level white belt once again. Good job Angel, good job.
The other students were super cool, and though they didn’t give me much mercy, they understood that at times I was simply out of gas and couldn’t keep up. They worked with me as I struggled and tried to provide some level of resistance. I was just like a big lug trying to fight, I simply couldn’t execute any of my techniques. They are still in my head, the sweeps, the locks, all of it is still in there, I just couldn’t get my body to execute. That is a pretty terrible feeling, but all it means is that I have to train more.
I look forward to going back, I did some moves last time that hurt my wrist, so I have taken some time off. But next time I know what exercise drills to avoid as they mess up my wrists. I have to put my pride and ego aside and accept that there are some movements that I just can’t and shouldn’t do. Doing so put me out of commission for a few days, and its just not worth it to lose so many days because I want to complete one of the drills that I shouldn’t do! Live and learn.
If you want to train and live in this general area, I’d say come check these guys out. For $100 you can get a full month of unlimited training with a great group of fellas and some talented instructors. I’ll never be Bruce Lee, but martial arts have and always will be a part of my life.
Just a life long New Yorker sharing the journey through my lens. Please take note of a post’s date. The views I express here are subject to change and evolving as I grow and learn.