Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A New Chapter - Jiujitsu

After getting my black belt in Taekwondo, I was no less motivated to keep training in Taekwondo than I was when I first walked into the dojang.

I have been, however, interested in supplementing my training, and becoming a more versatile martial artist. And having hit a milestone in Taekwondo, I thought it a good time to branch out.

So I went to a trial lesson at a Brazilian Jiujitsu studio here in New Haven. My rationale for trying Jiujitsu is three part -
  • First, being trained in Taekwondo, my "standing upright, striking" side has been trained pretty well.
  • Second, I have some experience in Aikido and hapkido arm locks and judo throws, but none in grappling and ground-fighting.
  • Third, I saw this really cool David Mamet film Red Belt, and thought Chiwetel Ejiofor made it look cool. (This may be the primary reason)
Whatever the reason, I walked into the studio, and did a class. Here are my first impressions:
  1. Great workout. The session lasted around 1 1/2 hours (a lot of classes in karate and taekwondo get cut down to 45 minutes or so). Note, this did not include stretching. The muscle groups which were sore afterwards were not the typical ones - neck was sore especially.
  2. Very different kind of workout. In the beginning, you do a lot of work in one spot - from your guard position, from the clinch, etc. But you're still dripping with sweat at the end.
  3. Very complementary to striking arts - whereas with taekwondo, everything stops at the clinch, that is where a lot begins with jiujitsu.
There's also a definite difference in aesthetic and profile of the participants in the two arts - the studio I went to was more like a boxing gym with some mats in it, and the participants were more like what you'd expect there. Very little formality - like a wrestling practice from what I can tell.