Everyone around me is taking up BJJ and Luta Livre in order to get stronger on the ground. My teacher, Ronny, always said that „you play their game, you’ll always end up second to them“. I think that’s very true. So, instead of practicing BJJ, I’ve decided to take up Judo and improve my standup-grappling (aka wrestling) to a point where I don’t have to go to the ground anymore. This way, I can stick to what I do best: striking and kicking. Standup.

Mirko „CroCop“ Filipovic and Chuck „The iceman“ Lidell have always been role models to me when it comes to dictating the distance a battle is fought at. Mind you, Lidell has a purple belt in BJJ, so it’s not like he doesn’t know how to grapple. Which again attests my point: I have to learn grappling to a certain degree in order to minimize the time I spend on grappling during a bout.

Now, luckily enough, Austria is home to some great Judo players. As a shining example I’ll name Peter Seisenbacher, two time olympic gold medalist in the heavyweight division. Actually, I planned on training at his gym, but then they’re closed during July and August – just like my own school.

So, I’ve decided to do some training at another school nearby. It’s situated in Vienna’s 22nd district and belongs to the WAT organization.

Today, me and my girlfriend had our first training there today. The instructor, Alex, had one of his black belts, Martin, take us through various fall and roll drills. After that, he had us practice two side mounts.

Interestingly enough, while we had our technique training, the guys there warmed up with three rounds of randori. When the rest of the group finished their randori, we joined them in their technique training, which consisted mostly of stepping, setting up throws and some sweeps.

Also, Alex showed us the hip-throw, one of the few throws I already know.

Finally, it was time for randori again. This time I had the opportunity to join in.
In my first round I rolled with a female black-belt. Of course she was technically superior to me, but weight just does it’s part.

Next up was an orange belt, nice guy who gave me a couple of hints and even opened up his guard from time to time to allow me to work.

Finally, in my third and last round I was up against another black-belt. Unfortunately, after a couple of really intense minutes, he sprained his elbow. What I took pride in is the fact that despite him being a black-belt judo player and definately not lighter than me, he didn’t pin me. Now I don’t know if he didn’t manage or just didn’t want to do so, but I feel I was doing pretty well there.

Now, to conclude this, I just have to say that I’ll do more grappling and groundwork in any case. Not only is it fun, it’s also a great strenght-endurance conditioning. First of all, however, I simply can’t afford to ignore grappling.

Just as they say: „Failing to prepare is preparing to fail“.

I’ll keep you informed on my progress,
so long,

take care

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