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OJJ – the best jiu-jitsu club ever!

January 18, 2009

If you’re not sure about what an OJJ is, I submit the following post from my buddy Matt. By the way you can read his super cool post on the same event we went to here.

da don
OJJ is the brainchild of the Man in Red – Ide-san

Here are the highlights of what happened at OJJ.

When I got there with Sam and Matt, I could hardly believe how cold it was. See your breath cold. Can’t believe I’m walking barefoot cold. Cold super fudging cold cold.

Huge amounts of people. Over 80 strong.

Lots of kids too! I looked over at them and thought “aw so cute” then wondered when they would turn into crazy intermediate school students and give teachers like me a hard time during class.

family
Notice the heating stove in the background

My pals from Teppo Ebi were there too! After a couple of 6 minute round sparring match they would look like they were ready to call it night. At Teppo Ebi they spar for 3 minutes each round. I got used to sparring for 6 minutes at Hakata, probably why I’m so much of a threat now at Teppo Ebi. I can spar for longer and at a higher intensity now.

I wanted to do some stand-up and work on my throws but there was definitely no room to spare. I actually saw a pair start from standing, they gave up after three tries. They kept running over people.

rolling
Right after this picture was taken
that stand-up pair I wrote about ran over
the two guys in the bottom left foreground

Met up again and sparred with a double stripe blue who trained Teppo Ebi for awhile. I used to catch him off guard before, but could never submit him or match his level of intensity. During our roll I got ridiculously swept (it felt like a throw) and gave up my back. He attempted a bow and arrow choke, but I escaped. I like to think after experiencing a black belt choke me out various times with the same submission (and having him teach me how to escape it), someone my level isn’t going to choke me out so easily. Somehow after escaping I got to his back and submitted him rather quickly. My only submission of the night. Afterwards he picked up the intensity and, to my amazement, I matched him for it. We were both working for a collar choke when time ran out.

My second sparring match was against a purple belt from Kumamoto (one prefecture down from Fukuoka – a little more than an hour drive on the Kyushu Expressway from where OJJ was held). I could pass his guard but couldn’t hold side-control for long. When the tables were turned, I had the hardest time escaping his side-control. His knee-on-the-belly was difficult to escape as well. It’s like most of my escapes were useless against him. And when I did escape it surprised him. I like to think it was probably more than he was expecting from me. At the end of the match he had me in a position where he could have worked for an armbar or a collar choke. I got submitted twice in our match – one by armbar, the other by Kimura. I had the largest grin on my face when it was over and I gratefully thanked him for our match. Before the night was over he gave me some encouraging words; “You’re very strong. Let’s roll again next time.” Only other purple belt to mirror what he said was Ayakawa-san. It makes me smile when obviously more talented people in jiu-jitsu say good things about me.

armbar a'comin
One of the better matches from the OJJ mini-tourney

Third sparring match was against my first opponent in the tournament I just had. It was a like a replay of our competition match. Except I had a harder time passing his guard, he’s a lot better with the gi than without. He had more control of me in his guard and his triangle attempts were much more solid, but I casually escaped them. When I finally did pass his guard, time ran out and I introduced myself thinking it was the first time to meet him. He politely said we met at November’s Kyushu Open and that was when I recognized him. I started to praise his triangle and how he could finish it or use it to move to another technique when I was interrupted by my last sparring partner of the night.

My last roll was with a Japanese guy who spoke English and loved to trash talk. He spent a year abroad and trained jiu-jitsu at a Gracie Barra school, proudly showing off his tattoo representing the GB. Before our match he warned me that he does “crazy style jiu-jitsu, so be careful”. It was cool though. I didn’t mind the trash talk. And his style was more like “crazy but really tired so I’ll try to use my size against him jiu-jitsu”. He reminded me of a low skilled, English speaking Ide-san (the Don of OJJ who giggles during sparring matches – a sign his opponent is not doing well). I ended up in top turtle and back mount most of the time, and did most of the attacking during our match anyway.

When I wasn’t sparring or taking pictures, I was the human safety barrier. I tried my best to prevent people from smashing into each other during their sparring matches. That was hard work but lots of fun! Often I’d get pinned in-between two pairs or stop guys just in time only to have another pair come crashing in and knocking heads.

There was a mini-tournament held at OJJ. It had teams mixed up of people from different schools. And while that was going on, in the corner of the mat space was no-gi grappling training. I would have loved to join in, but majority of the mini-tournament members were purple belts. I wanted to see matches performed at the next level up.

no1
The winners of the OJJ mini-tourney
Their prizes? 20,000 yen and toilet paper

I can’t wait for the next OJJ event. I mean, how often will I be able to train with other people who roll completely differently than my normal circle of friends and sparring partners? OJJ is probably the only club event that can provide me with that kind of opportunity and experience. And the next one is only a month away. Woohoo!

dude's badass
And, of course, where else can I see a guy
doing a headstand to pose for pictures?

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