Jameel's Blog: Compound
Oh, Japan, you love and you hate me. You give and you take away. Or, as U2 would say, "I can`t live with or without you." These last two weeks out here have taken me to the heavens and brought me back down to the depths. At this point, my mind has experienced so many highs and lows out here that my mind has no clue what to think. In any case, this blog is way late because I was initially lazy, and then I got very sick, postponing it even more. The story of these last two weeks is basically I trained a lot and then bad things happened.
My motivation for my next fight could not be at a better place. A good training camp seems monotonous at times because you work on the same things over and over. Half of my training session is spent working on five different drills concerning how to throw a 1-2 punch combination with good form and power. This style of training can be boring as hell, until you get to nail people sparring and see that the hard work is paying off. There`s nothing like accidentally rocking your sparring partners.
Aside from the normal training, traveling to other gyms has helped me put these skills in perspective and practice with partners whose style I am not used to. Last week, traveling brought me to three different gyms to practice, with one kind of giving me a catastrophic outcome.
The first I visited was Paris-Giffu. These guys are awesome judo fighters who also practice BJJ. If I`ve learned one thing out here, it's that a GI can make all the difference in the world with all aspects of fighting. What is so impressive about this gym is that they are good with or without the GI. Training with this group gave me a chance to teach them some new no-GI techniques and then just get some ground sparring in, or in this case, three hours of ground sparring. It was awesome and it was a relief to see that my no-GI game has not gone to hell since I`ve been doing all GI at Gracie Barra back in Nagoya.
The second gym I visited was a return visit to the Nagoya Kickboxing Club. As always, these guys are tough as hell. My stand up game has gotten way better, but I am not able to compete with everyone here. However, Tsuyoshi`s training style is really paying off. The great thing about this group is that they come from many backgrounds of striking. I got a chance to spar Muay Thai fighters, Japanese Kickboxers, and even an awesome Karate fighter who managed to blindside me with a somersault kick to the face. Probably the most fun I`ve had getting clobbered yet. It was a sobering kick really. All and all, this was a great experience, but not nearly as memorable or hurtful as my trip to Osaka.
Setting out to Osaka at 5 a.m. last Tuesday morning did nothing but piss me off. I should have known based on the time alone that this trip would hold very little fun. But, the trip to Osaka was necessary for several reasons. In late February I`m scheduled to fight Vladamir Zenin at Fight Force in St. Petersburg Russia, and I need a Visa to do so. The nearest Russian consulate`s location is in Osaka, and so are my good friends at Cobra-Kai Jiu-Jitsu. The way Tsuyoshi and I saw it, we could hit two birds with one stone.
Training at Cobra-Kai had its good and its bad. We started off like normal, over-training like crazy. Hanazawa has us all do 1,000 push-ups without stopping (not exaggerating). It took 30 minutes. Next was an hour long technique class teaching us some unique holding techniques. After that, ground-sparring sessions ensued. The first person I went with I got injured....just my luck. I was rolling and I got knee-barred and instead of simply knee barring me into position and giving me a chance to tap, I got my knee yanked, popped, and hyper-extended before I had a chance the chance. To me, it was one of those things that was obvious: my knee would hurt in the morning. However, it did not hurt at all at the moment despite being a tad tweaked. I`d be dammed if I didn`t have a chance to roll with this group so I threw my common sense out the window and rolled for the next two hours without any problems.
Actually, rolling was a great experience and I found that I am truly on the level with this group at jiu-jitsu now since I did well against everyone. This is encouraging, since I have been training at Gracie Barra with the GI only and today was just n-GI, and I consider Cobra-Kai to be among the top level at ground no-GI training. Anyways, what had me really humbled was the fact they were asking me to teach them some of the stuff I was doing, and I`m not used to that treatment. It was a good experience. The best part was probably getting a chance to see Hanazawa and Kiichi again since training with them last year. Those two trained with us at the Freestyle Academy a little over a year ago so it's always good to see them. It turns out that they are fighting on the same card I am. Actually Hanzawa is fighting for the King of Pancrase title, and I don`t see him losing. The guy is simple a cardio monster with solid technique.
After I was finished, Hanazawa started his conditioning routine (which involves a lot of over-training). He basically ended up doing an MMA circuit for 30 minutes without any breaks at all. This means he was doing sprints, takedowns, pull-ups, plate exercises, among other exercise for thirty minutes. The guy is a machine. Anyways, my knee injury sucked, but might not have even been the worst part of Osaka.
As it turns out, we went to the cheapest hotel ever. Words do not describe well enough how bad this place was. Basically, the rooms had no heat and I had to sleep on the floor. In any case, it was particularly cold that night and upon waking up, I could already tell I was sick. To top it off, walking around in the morning made me feel that I definitely injured my knee.
Talking to a physical therapist back home, he said I probably just sprained my knee since there is no swelling and to just give it some time and don`t do any kicking for a week. He was right, because now it is 100 percent again.
As far as getting sick goes, well that might be the most beautiful part. It started as just a really dry chest and airway, and then I started coughing up stuff a few days later. On Monday, I started feeling achy and really sick, and on Tuesday I went to the doctor because I had a fever of 101. The doctor tested me by scrapping my throat and the way back inside of my nose. It turns out I did have a virus but it wasn`t the flu. Rest should do it and I`ll be fine in a day or two.
Nothing like injuries and sickness to make you want to fight. But seriously, I`ve been training too hard for too long and have given up to much for this damn fight. Two days of not training isn`t going to screw me over. It just sucks when this stuff compounds on you. Anyways, I`ve got a week and a half until my fight, so I`m going to send one more blog before I leave for Tokyo and one more blog after my fight. Thanks again for the support everyone. You all kick ass.
On a different note, James Warfield: you had better also kick ass at EVO2 this weekend.