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It's More Than Just Sports.

Sports is more than just recreation. It Binds, It Breaks. It is both a kind and harsh teacher. It Brings Joy and Sadness. Celebrate in Victory and in Defeat. It's a part of our life. Let's Celebrate it.

BJJ RHAPSODY: WHITE BELT

Fair bit of Lyrics taken from Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. And a salute to Art of Submission (AOS Studio)



Drill sessions are done and it's time to spar. Me and Gary square up on one section of the mats. We start from the knees eschewing the start from stand up. Slap Hands. Fist Bump. Go!


Is this the real life?

Is this just fantasy?

Caught in a landslide,

No escape from reality.


Open your eyes,

Look up to the skies and see,

I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy,

Because I'm easy come, easy go,

Little high, little low,

Any way the wind blows doesn't really matter to me, to me.


The match-up is a contrast. Obvious was the size difference with Gary being larger and heavier (at least 30kgs diff). If this was a tournament, we are most likely never going to match up as you get put into weight classes by no more than 6kgs. It is deemed that the heavier opponent has an advantage when it comes to 2 equally skilled opponents. Of-course, there is the open weight class but I wouldn't jump in just for the experience.


The reality is that life doesn't take weight classes into account. IF forced to confront, you will have to deal with whatever tools you have. In this sparring session, Gary will have to contend against a much younger and agile opponent. Having said that, I'm 44 and the Viking is 60.


We get into our opening stanza of Grips. Collar. Sleeve. Twist. Break. Collar. Sleeve. Elbow. Twist. Break. Angles. Shifts. Pommel. Twist. Break. Under-hook? Deny. Single Leg. Deny.


Though it's just a sparring session, the intent is still to Physically dominate and force a submission upon your opponent. You can "Tap Out" when you're in trouble but taking into account we're white-belts, anything can happen. Thankfully for us, we have Coach Mike keeping a watchful eye on us.


Coach Mike looks on. Timer on 6 minutes. 6 minutes can feel like a lifetime on the mats. This pic was taken sometime ago, Coach is a Black Belt now.

Mama, ooooh,

Didn't mean to make you cry,

If I'm not back again this time tomorrow,

Carry on, carry on as if nothing really matters.


Too late, my time has come,

Sends shivers down my spine,

Body's aching all the time.

Goodbye, everybody, I've got to go,

Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth.


Coach Mike takes the bottom position and keeps a loose open guard. I try to keep close and maintain top position. All the while, trying to defend the sweep and looking to pass the guard. BJJ 101 says that the top position is a better to position to be in than the bottom.


"Dillan, what's your favourite Airline?" Mike asks. I raise my eyebrow in confusion.


Grip here, Foot There, Shift Weight. I take off. I land on my back. Welcome to Prof Mike Airline.


"Where did I slip I wondered?" No slip. A simple Setup for a simple sweep. And nothing I could do about it. Yes Master.


That's the thing with this Martial Art. Unless the Coach is sleeping, there's no way I'll land a lucky shot. Somehow, try as you might, your fate is pretty much in the hands of the Coach. He/She will do with you as they please and you question your own worth as a capable human being. Ok, a touch dramatic. (but ask those guys who got owned by Royce Gracie at UFC 1)


"Ok. Put your shoulder here, pin my legs, go over. Boa...." Professor Pedro educates me on a move while sparring. Nice guy, does enough to keep me motivated to try and catch him. Timer Rings. Switch Partners.


I go against another fellow white-belt, Jake. As we roll, the set up was there. "Put my shoulders here, pin his legs, go over...Side Control!" Revelation: Pedro just taught me a move to use on Jake. Means while Pedro was sparring with me, he was also watching Jake. Yes Master.


Lunchtime Crew with Professor Pedro (Guest Coach). Whitebelts from left Jake, Gary the Viking and Me)

So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye?

So you think you can love me and leave me to die?

Oh, baby, can't do this to me, baby,

Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here.


For however long, Minutes, Sub only, Shark Tank, once you slap hands and fist bump. You try and keep it together. Move-Counter Move. Trying to play Chess as opposed to Checkers. You realise it ain't as easy when your opponent is trying to do same thing to you.


OR in my case, question my sanity "WHY AM I HERE?" when Gary and his 100 kgs has me in Side Control. Imagine a Polar Bear lying on top of you.


Chris (the gym owner) will say to me, "If you get caught in Gary's Side Control, then you deserve to be there" .


Where's the love Sir?


ABANDON CHESS. GO JUMANJI. SURVIVE FIRST.

But that's the Learning. Note to Self when a similar scenario approaches :Abandon Chess. GO JUMANJI. SURVIVE FIRST. Ain't nobody can help you out but yourself.


Nothing really matters,

Anyone can see,

Nothing really matters,

Nothing really matters to me.


There's something quite fascinating in indulging in an experience of intentionally putting yourself in a position to hurt and get hurt. To dominate and be dominated. Challenging yourself not physically but mentally. I believe much like rugby, this martial art makes you lay your soul out. No hiding.


Almost therapeutic in an abusive way.


Timer goes off. Sip of water. Next guy rolls up. Slap Hands. Fist Bump Go.


Any way the wind blows.


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