Saturday, April 13, 2013
Visiting Hayastan Mixed Martial Arts Academy (or any dojo)
Usually, the reasons for not doing so are a combination of elitism - we have everything we need here, why would we go anywhere else? and laziness.
There is also that bit of anxiety - what if we say we are going to go to another club and nobody shows up?
We took the West Coast Judo Training Center kids to visit Hayastan Mixed Martial Arts Academy today and it was great on a number of levels.
1. I got to watch Sensei Sako teach. He is, in my opinion, one of the most under-appreciated instructors I know. He has been teaching young children judo for twenty years.
2. All of the students got to meet and work out with different people. No matter how nice the people are you train with normally, or how good they are, it is beneficial on a lot of dimensions to meet new people. Above the judo benefit, which was good, there is the meeting people you don't normally associate with. Most of the students at Hayastan are Armenian. None of the students who came with us were Armenian. We can have all the diversity workshops we want but nothing builds tolerance better than getting to know people from other ethnic groups who are nice, smart and hard-working - as every kid on the mat was.
3. It's a really nice facility, so as well as variety in partners and instructors, the students got to train in a state-of-the art location.
4. I met Zurab Bekochvili who taught an arm bar I had not learned before. It was so cool. Sensei Zurab who was a Russian national judo champion, world sambo champion, Georgian (as in the country) Greco-Roman champion and a genuinely nice guy.
The practice just flew by. Almost everyone wanted to stay longer - so we did. There is a sight for you - kids begging their parents to let them stay just a half-hour longer and practice more.
Field trips. Try it.
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