We were chatting tonight about the fact that I have now tried ALL THE THINGS you can do at Leicester Shootfighters and I was asked if I have a favourite. Argh what a question! But on the way home I was thinking about my personal MA journey so far and the different arts that have formed it, what I love about all of them.
The week my (then) husband moved out I started kickboxing (points/light con/ fitness). Shortly after I added Judo and Japanese Jiu Jistsu to the mix. After a couple of months I dropped the others and settled to kickboxing. The reason for this is simple. It’s easy to get a lot out of striking even when you do it badly. My brain was fried, I was a wreck and the concentration required for the grappling was more than I could handle.
I focussed on the KB, fitness, light con and a little points. I got to competing in light con and I have loved it. But time moved on and three years later the urge to do some grappling again can no longer be ignored, because there always was something about it.
So I went to Shootfighters and I’ve done a little of everything now.
So here is a breakdown. Massive over simplifications and missing the point may occur and it’s all coloured but the light contact background, this being a personal journey and all.
Boxing is in some ways wonderfully stripped out. You have your hands, your footwork and your evasion/head movement. It’s incredibly focussed and forces you to work on hand speed and movement like nothing else does. Take away a kickboxers kicking and she mostly gets punched in the face a lot because the distance is now different, especially when her background is in light contact. We will get back to that point. I love the narrow focus, working basics over and over till they are smooth. I wouldn’t want to just do boxing, but I love it.
Full contact kickboxing
Make no mistake, after three years kickboxing I’m back almost to square one here. The use of knees, being allowed to grab, the fact that we are driving for full impact not just controlled contact for the point, it changes everything. The footwork is different, the distance changes, the part of the leg you kick with, how you slip a jab or level change. I am having to relearn everything I thought I’d got sorted. Last night I was shown a whole new and deeply enjoyable way of kicking someone in the head. For all the differences though this still feels like home.
Judo/Jui Jitsu (gi and no gi)
I know they aren’t the same, but there are some commonalities so I’m dealing with them together. I find these hard. Jitsu in particular its all position swappy and tricksy. It takes me a lot of concentration, I find it hard, it’s utterly alien. I love the challenge, trying to think in a different way, to understand the movement and leverage and work my way through it. I feel as though I will never really get the hang of this but I really want to keep trying. Fortunately I’ve never needed to be good at a thing to enjoy it.
Wrestling I get, sort of. It has simple straight forward principles. Get the other guys shoulders on the mat and hold them there. And as Karl says ‘grab their legs and run through them’. This is something I can understand. It’s not simple, or easy, but it’s direct, more straightforward. I really really like the wrestling. It’s going to take some serious time, but this is the other one that feels as though it could become home.
Putting it all together and learning the stuff that is particular to MMA, like cage wall stuff. This is huge fun, totally mental and for all that it’s largely made up of the component arts there is so much more to it than that. This is what it’s all building to kids, this is the end game, and it is a lot of fun!! I’m looking forward to getting into the classes proper for this.