Friday, 11 April 2014

10 Years of BJJ - My Jiu-Jitsu Journey - Part 1 (The Beginning)

So I have being doing BJJ for 10 years! I don't know the exact date when I started, but I know it was in April 2004, and I was 9 years old. Actually, except for three other people, me and my brother are actually the longest running students at our academy (Chris Rees Academy/Gracie Barra Swansea), which is quite weird when I come to the think about it! There were loads of people training before me, but for whatever reason they just stopped and I carried on.
So I thought some of you might be interested in how I got started in Jiu-Jitsu, so I thought I would share my journey with you.
So before I started BJJ, I did kickboxing for around a year, and started when I was 8 years old. If I'm honest I didn't really like kickboxing that much and I only really did it since my best friend at the time was doing it, and it was chance for us to hang out after school. Anyway, the club was at a small gym in Skewen, which is a small village in South Wales, where I live and eventually moved to Cwmbwrla, Swansea. After that my friend stopped going, I did a few more sessions but ultimately stopped as I really didn't like it.
Well anyway, a few months later (April 2004), my Dad said someone had told him that the gym in Skewen had been taken over, and was now doing Jiu-Jitsu. So I was pretty intrigued by the thought of it, and to be perfectly honest I had no idea what Jiu-Jitsu was or what is consisted of, but since the gym is about a 2 minute drive from my house, we went down to have a look. For whatever reason my brother didn't come with us, I don't know if he was sick or just couldn't be bothered, but anyway he wasn't there.
I remember the drive to gym, and just wondering what I was about to witness, a montage of every Karate Kid movie I had ever seen, and every Mortal Kombat game I had ever played was running through my mind at this point, so I was pretty damn excited!
So we arrive at the gym, and made my way upstairs to where the mats were, and the first person I met was a women called Tracey, who is my head instructors sister, and basically told be what Jiu-Jitsu was and what I would expect on my first lesson. So then Tracey instructed two guys at the front of the mats, who were Mike (Tracey's husband) and Chris, who is my head instructor, and was a purple belt at the time. So they did a few techniques, and to be perfectly honest I didn't really know what I was seeing, just two guys rolling about on the floor, but it was enough to convince me to give this Jiu-Jitsu stuff a try.
When I got home I told my brother about what I saw, and to be honest I think I basically described it as a more technical WWE, as that was the best thing my 9 year old brain could come up with. Actually, I thought Mike was the head instructor, and not Chris, simply for the fact that he was older. At this point I'm pretty sure our academy wasn't under Gracie Barra either, I think that happened some time later in the year. 
So that was my first introduction to Jiu-Jitsu! And 10 years later I'm still doing it!
Part 2 will follow shortly.
Catch you later,