Shodan (First Dan)
When did you start training with Ishigaki?
Why did you choose Ishigaki?
I wanted to do a martial art and preferably in a gay friendly group. Ishigaki came up on google.
Did you do any other sports before jujitsu?
I did Judo for a year or so when I was a child and Shotakan karate in my teens. In my thirties I did the gym and swimming thing, but got bored with the monotony of them.
Tell us about your first class.
The first class was fun and confusing and exciting all in one. We were taught to do breakfalls and some punching and blocking. I felt like I had two left hands, nothing came naturally, and I ached the next day! but I loved it and I loved the feeling of embarking on something new. I was fascinated watching the people training and just thought Ď I want to be able to do that.í
Was it easy to fit in?
It was a very friendly atmosphere where I was never made to feel stupid cos I couldnít do something. There were all types nationalities and age groups.
When did you think about getting your black belt?
I never thought I could get a black belt. I just did a grading then the next etc then I got my purple belt and it dawned on me that if I really worked at it I could get a black belt.
Was it difficult?
Yes. . But not in the way I thought it would be. I had to decide that it was going to take priority over all of other things for a while, and train even when I didnít want to. It was a process of constantly learning and taking criticism on board and trying to change and improve. I also found it difficult hitting the lows when the grading seemed a long way off and it felt like there was so much to learn. Having said that it was a wonderful experience.
What do you like about Ishigaki?
I like the fact the club has all types of people in it, and that itís very sociable.
Why do you like jujitsu?
The thing I like about Ju-Jitsu is itís range of techniques from throws, punches locks, sparing, kata, weapons etc there is something for everyone. It also caters for all sizes and shapes of people at all levels of fitness. There is always a new goal to aim for and a new skill to learn or improve.
Ever had to use jujitsu for real?
No. I hope I never have to.
Tell us about the Ishigaki social events.
Pub, meals, parties, boat trips, coffee, lunch etc etc etc.
Do you enter competitions?
I havenít yet, but never say never!
Has Ishigaki changed your life?
Oh yes! (apart from the fact that for the last year my life has pretty much revolved around training) it has given me a lot of confidence, generally, but also interestingly things like teaching a class at one time would have terrified me. It has given me a focus and a reason to get fit, stay fit and get fitter. Itís given me another group of friends and another interest.
How much time does training require?
When I started I trained once a week, but the more I got into it the more time I gave to it, and the more I got out of it. I spent most of the year leading up to my black belt training four times a week. There is no right or wrong amount.