Ok, at 72 kgs I’m not ‘little’ – but right now I’m happy being a noob on the mat … mostly because I’m just happy to be rolling!
One month after arriving in London, I finally got my big butt to an MMA gym. Why the delay? A few stressy ‘life’ set up things I had to prioritise – but I have also been enjoying the slight break that packing up and moving overseas has afforded me.
It’s this irresponsible, inconsequential feeling akin to the first little moment you have as a grown up, when you realise you don’t need to ask for permission to go somewhere or to eat dessert before dinner … just being away from home again is so freeing.
It was actually the second time I ate a whole tub of ice cream for tea that I decided I’d better get back to BJJ. Judging by the tightness of my gi pants, it’s lucky I didn’t leave it much longer.
I walked in, then straight back out of one MMA gym I found quite close to where I’m living. There’s something about a big dog lounging around on a visibly dirty (black in parts) mat, that’s just not very appealing.
I had much better luck at my second stop – Fight Zone London in Bethnal Green.
Marco Canha (Checkmat) is head instructor, with beginner and intermediate/advanced BJJ classes on offer.
There’s also the all-important S&C along with Muay Thai, Boxing and MMA.
You get the family vibe as soon as you walk into this gym, kids classes obviously help amplify the feeling – as does the sight of adorable gi-clad littlies burning off post-class energy, running about inside the cage!
There were a good 30 people on the mat in my first beginner lesson including four ladies, which was fab.
I’m told white belts regularly stay in the mix for the intermediate/advanced class that follows, but I’m happy hanging in the newbie sessions for now. While not ‘new’ I’m inconsistent, so have a lot of basics to work on along with overall fitness.
Friday night I hit class then stayed back for the open mat – just music, me and a bunch of guys who were pulling moves all over the place while I did something hopefully resembling defending!
I was a red faced, sweaty, crazy-haired, blissed-out mess by the end.
Bring on the next class.