Monday, 5 December 2016

On The Mat Day 781: Belt Promotions

I trained early Sunday morning and yes, it was god damn freezing in the morning. We are now entering the too-cold-to-train season of Nagoya where you cannot believe that it can get so cold because the summer was so damn hot.

That night we had an end of year party (Bounenkai) which is standard for Japan. Usually we have belt promotions at this time. Although, some do happen throughout the year. Case in point, I was promoted to brown during Summer last year. I think in total there were about 4~5 blue, 2 purple, 1 brown and 1 black. There were probably more but I was so hungry that all I could concentrate on was the Yaki-niku.

So, Yoshida-san is finally a black belt. I'm very happy for him. I suspected he would be promoted to black as its his 9th year and he took 3 months out and went to Brazil a few years back. I consider him one of the people at the club who makes me want to become more technical.

My images of him at white belt was of him sitting down on top of my foot in Jan/Feb time and breaking my foot while I went for a sloppy single leg wrapped takedown. That broken foot made me more determined to continue BJJ. I had in my mind that if I had broken my foot, I may as well go all the way and train forever. If I stopped training, that break was for nought. I also recall him catching me in my first twister, after which, I jumped up in wonder at "that pro-wrestling" move, as I though it felt at the time.

At blue belt,  his guard was damn near impossible to pass so much so that he gave a lot of trouble for my instructor to pass it at the time. I sat watching in wonder at that. I recall seeing him get looped choked cold during a single leg takedown attempt in a local tournament.

At purple he would use spider guard, x-guard, and deep half-guard a lot at this time. He seemed very technical to me. I think at this time he started the Sunday morning class that I attend to drill and brush up on techniques. I recall him 2nding me at a Marco Barbosa tournament and giving me very good advice so that I won the match.

At brown, he became very relaxed, no longer caring if people would pass his guard or tap him. He would just smile and keep on rolling. However, when he got serious, you knew about it. He could be very sneaky, catching you with a reversal from nowhere. His passing became very good at the start of brown belt I would say as he transitioned from only playing guard to also passing it well. 

At black, well, that remains to be seen...but I congratulate you on your black belt my friend.

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