It seems that summer is drawing to a near in this part of the globe. Today is Sep 1 and Autumn is right around the corner. This has been a great summer, and a great year. You know it has been really great for me, because I wasn’t posting much over the summer. It’s hard to sit and write when I can be out enjoying life! As the fall approaches there is no doubt I will be posting more again, with even more to write about now that I’ve added BJJ to my curriculum.
I feel very blessed to belong to Contact Kicks, a dojo that not only offers three great martial arts that completely compliment each other. Kyokushin Karate, Kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. But they are taught by two of the best instructors and coaches I have ever had the pleasure of coming across. When you take a lesson with Sensei Steve Fogarasi or Coach Mike Aviado, you not only learn something that makes you better on the mats, but you always walk away with a lesson and philosophy that is completely applicable to every day life.
This past week has been amazing. A couple of the guys from Kyokushin are preparing for an upcoming tournament in Quebec, and some kickboxers are gearing up for their fights, so the classes are amping up in intensity and cross training is happing in both disciplines. Not to mention there is testing next weekend!
Each class this week was very tough in the heat and humidity. Sensei Fogarasi pushes us through various drills, working our conditioning, skills, as well as spirit. It might be 100 jodan mawashi-geri per leg. You try to pace yourself, leaving some gas in the tank for the last ten, but you’re exhausted in the heat. But you push as hard as you can, as you feel the weight of your leg, the sweat rolling down your back, your hands and feet feeling heavy, but you dig in and persevere. As Sensei says, it really isn’t about the 100 kicks, it’s about pushing through your limits, when you think you can’t do another kick, but instead you do 10 more. That’s what it’s about. And this kind of spirit and determination will serve us inside and outside of the dojo.
There is honestly too much to even write about here, as it was a fantastic week, but there was one drill in particular I really enjoyed. Working on Kumite, partnered up, we begin with light sparring using only low kicks, with one person the aggressor the other the defender, checking kicks and moving. Next we do the same with only punches. We then add a kick and punch. Back and forth. We continue building on this, adding more and more. Eventually you are going steady, flowing back and forth. It works wonders for the technique and confidence. Plus, it’s honestly beautiful to watch this controlled sparring. This all culminated with a Friday night of fighting that was hard but very satisfying.
After a Friday night of kumite my week ended with a 9:00 AM Saturday morning private class in BJJ with Coach Mike. I was a little stiff and sore from the previous evening, but after a warm-up I was ready to go.
I am really enjoying BJJ and it is the perfect compliment to Kyokushin. Coach Mike had me review some of the previous class and then we worked sprawling and chokes.
Like Sensei Fogarasi, Coach Mike fills his lessons with a strong philosophical approach. Everything he teaches he adapts to not only the technique you are working on, but to life as well. I really need to start bringing a note-pad to all of my classes, because there are so many profound things said I want to capture them. And as much as I think I will remember, I find myself forgetting by the time I get to my laptop.
The one thing that continues to strike me with Coach Mike is the absolute confidence he moves with. The control that he always has. It is so visible on the mats and off, and what makes this really incredible is, there is no ego, in the classical sense of the word. Everything is done with humility. This humility goes deeper than just BJJ. He communicates respect, celebrating the progress of this lowly white belt, creating healthy self-esteem, where learning is the goal.
I am very honored to be receiving instruction from these two great teachers, and I didn’t even have to move to Japan to find it! Seriously though, I searched for a long time to find a great karate teacher, and was lucky enough to find one here in my city of Toronto. So, when I discovered that the Jiu-Jitsu coach was cut from the same cloth I just couldn’t believe my luck. But, I guess like attracts like. It is a dojo with great teachers, which attracts great students as well.
Both of these great teachers, and men, are teaching me the fine art of Humility.