Monday, August 31, 2009

Jitsu International - Spartanburg 2009

Yesterday morning, I took my gi out to throw it in the wash. There were blood stains both in the top and in the pants. I can't say whose blood it is, but I know it's not mine. Oh, those Shorinji Kan-ers...

This past weekend, Chris and I travelled to Spartanburg, South Carolina to attend an international event being held there for students of the style of Shorinji Kan Jiu-jitsu. It was a great privilege to have been able to go and a wonderful experience, albeit a brutal one. I would challenge anyone who'd say that Shorinji Kan-ers don't train seriously. After 4 days of training, conference participants could be seen sporting black eyes, bruises, blisters, fat lips, and more besides. A couple of guys' faces were so scratched up they looked like they had stuck their head into a bag of angry cats. I can't help but wonder what went on at that particular seminar...

While I've been studying Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu for 16 years, I only recently started learning Shorinji Kan at the beginning of this year. As a result, some concepts that were featured at the conference's seminars were more natural for me to pick up, others had me fighting against my previous experience. And as frustrating as it can be to learn new things that are very different, there is something comforting about the fact that there are still many concepts out there that can make me feel like a white belt just starting out, even after 16 years of training martial arts of various styles. The more you learn, the less you realize you know.

Overall, the conference was fun and educational. My muscles were pretty sore by the end of the 4 days of training, but it was worth it. I am very impressed at the Jitsu Foundation's level of organization, allowing them to coordinate huge multi-national events like this one, which attracted over 100 participants from the UK, Canada, the US, and South Africa. In my next blog post, I'll write about two impressive Jiu-jitsu practitioners, both followers of my blog, whom I had the privilege of meeting for the first time at the event.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you had fun at your training-week. Minor cuts and bruises are all part of the game unfortunately. Ah well, what does not kill me only makes me stronger (Nietzsche). Reminds me of a rather funny retort a friend of mine made upon hearing that: "yes, what does not kill me only makes me stronger, and what tries to kill me will find my foot in its teeth". What a guy.

What I find interesting about training with people from other styles or even different MA completely is finding out exactly how much difference there is and wether or not their solution to a particular problem is better than ours (for the sake of learning, not ego). My experience is that you can learn alot from other styles but also that there are remarkable similarities: there aren't that many ways to stand or throw a punch or a kick and human bodies pretty much work the same way no matter the etnicity, cultural background or particular built. As Bruce Lee said there's no distinct Japanese, Chinese, Korean or western style of fighting: aslong as we human-beings have two arms and two legs fighting will always be the same. It's hard to grasp sometimes with the multitude of techniques and stylistic differences in application and tactics but when you get down to it there are only so many ways of damaging or taking out another person. I just feel lucky I've been born into this age, in the old days it would have been virtually impossible to cross-train (especially not styles from other countries), at least not for the great majority of people. We're even luckier most of the work has already been done for us, the only thing we have to do is to train hard and find what is most suited to our bodies and personal preferences.

I am interested in your Canadian style of JJ, from what I've read here there seems to be alot of common ground between our two styles (self-defense orientated, non-traditional, mixing grappling techniques with boxing strikes) but I would love to find out about the specifics in terms of technique and application. I would be obligated if you would write a post or two (preferably with pictures or video) outlining the most distinct features of the Can-ryu-style of JJ.



PS: if you ever plan to travel in Belgium let me know and maybe you could train with us in person, I'm sure my sensei would relish the opportunity. Who knows, I might even get my ass kicked by a girl, lol. That would be a first certainly.

Lori O'Connell said...

I'll be sure to do a few posts in the fall and will endeavour to create some videos to help illustrate. Thanks for the feedback!