Saturday, September 27, 2008

My yellow belt test...

For those who don't want the blow-by-blow, I passed and am now a yellow belt in kajukenbo. Just in time for me to take a month off to purely focus on my jiu jitsu. In November I'll have a better feel for how much energy/time I have left over for kajukenbo.

So, the test. First, the introduction form (no problems there.) We moved into the kenpo stance set (good) and squats and escapes. Alone, I was fine, but when we paired up, my instructor became my partner, and inexplicably, I screwed up, went from horse stance right into the blocks that go with horse, completely skipping knee-down and bow stance.

Then the daily drills. I royally screwed these up, since they were called out by numbers and not by instruction (high block, low block, punch) and I got all flustered.

Forms: I had to do H, L, short 1 and 2, and kenchi... phew!

Rolls and breakfalls: L and R shoulder rolls, fwd rolls, and shoulder rolls to a judo breakfall (where you land laying out on your side, staying down on the mat, then getting up pseudo-MMA style with your arms guarding your face) all went fine.

Sparring: Here's where it got interesting. I was prepared to do rounds each in stand up, takedowns, and grappling; apparently we were running behind schedule so it was shortened to rounds of just stand up and then combined takedowns/ground. I was very nervous about the stand up portion because I have zero experience with it and I am afraid to hit hard; I don't want to be the spaz whitebelt that breaks someone's knee or whatever.

I sparred all the testees in standup, first against Samir, the brown belt who i really good in kickboxing. It was FUN! He videoed my other rounds so I don't know what I looked like against him, but it felt good; I tried to keep my guard up, but was horrible about blocking legs (tend to use my hands) and also very narrow-minded. It seems like I only throw jabs and cross punches, kick to the back of their thigh, and roundhouse. However once I start getting pummeled, I tend to ball up and block with my forearms, which tends to look like cowering and makes everyone yell at me (even though I'm not freaking, they think I am.)

Second I sparred Sifu Tony. He likes to get me mad, and it makes me try harder. However, then I punch more wildly and girlishly (swinging like a cat clawing, instead of power punches from the center). I seem to remember grazing him in the side of the head once. It was either him or Samir, I can't quite remember yet. Fortunately they were both being nice, because I did take a number of shots to the chin from in between my arms, and a few stomach shots as well (both kicks and punches.) They didn't hurt, so I kept going and had a blast.

Third I sparred a 5th degree blackbelt, a visiting instructor named Jeff Richardson. !!!!!!! He was more instructive both before the round and during it, and I felt happy about how I did. Fitness-wise I was great, had no cardio problems, and it seems more a matter of practice and muscle memory than anything. I definitely do not give up and I don't run away. So, I learned that maybe I do enjoy the striking game.

Everyone else finished their standup before I got to grapple. The first person to spar their ground game for their test was Jace, testing for his brown. He rolled with Samir first, then Sifu Richardson, and then me (so I was honored that they allowed me to roll with him, until I realized at his level he also needs to demonstrate control against a much lesser opponent, which he did.)

I told Jace before we started that my neck is sore. We started standing up, I defended against the underhooks, but he ended up handily reaping my leg and we ended up on the ground with me in his guard. I was trying to pass his guard but apparently too far forward with my head, because he guillotined me. He was sitting up and really had a decent hold on me. Then the buzzer called time. I was happy to be a part of his brownbelt test.

Then I stayed in the ring and grappled my instructor Tony. We started from the knees, I ended up on my back in half guard. I was almost successful in scissor sweeping him but failed. He ended up taking my back then mounting me somehow trapping my elbows against my sides with his knees. Oh, so bad a position to be in. Then I got choked, big surprise.

Then I grappled the visiting instructor. Again, from the knees. He started with small joint manipulations (spreading my fingers apart) until my instructor explained that's not allowed at our school; then he went to a wristlock. ANNOYING.. but I didn't say anything, just let my instructor step in and explain again we don't do wristlocks at whitebelt either. I did so-so, although unfortunately always ended up on my back. I never know what to do from there or how to do it. Everyone yells "sweep! armbar! triangle!" and it goes by in such a blur!

But I didn't quit and I think that's why they let me get my yellow belt. I am happy to have the yellow, and am heading out to a friend's B-day party after I shower and clean up. I'm mainly blogging this for my good friend and mentor Michael, who is far away in Thailand at a BJJ tournament (and thus unlikely to be checking my blog but you never know). Good luck Michael, I hope you kicked butt and took names!

I'll post the videos when I get them from Samir.

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