Saturday, April 13, 2013

Visiting Hayastan Mixed Martial Arts Academy (or any dojo)

Remember when you were a kid how much you looked forward to field trips? Well, I think martial arts clubs should have field trips, too.

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.

I am constantly impressed with him. He knows good technique for judo and sambo. He also understands children very well. Unlike many judo instructors whose teaching for kids is very pedantic and far better suited to adults, Sako is literally hands on, stopping students and demonstrating how to improve their posture, gripping and throws.

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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Anonymous said...

That was a really great practice for everyone involved. I hope we can visit Hayastan MMA every three months. From the time you stepped onto the mat(you were required to clean your feet with a solution prior to entering - very wise) to the end of the practice, the kids had a lot of fun and NO it wasn't some lame let's make it fun for the recreational judo kids kind of practice, but a really hard workout, along with great instruction. In addition to the, instructors mentioned above, you also had senseis Gokor, AnnMaria, Blinky and Gary in the mat. Lot of extra eyes to make sure the kids were doing things correctly.

Also, that armbar you mentioned by sensei Zurab was very unorthodox and would catch a lot of grapplers by surprise and in a lot of pain. Now the kids got an extra technique in their back pocket then can refine at an early age.

Why do the kids at WCJTC place regularly at Judo and BJJ tournaments while representing their home schools? Because those kids, like the aforementioned instructors, give a damn. If you live in LA county, shouldn't you care and have your kids practice WCJTC? There are two different families who come from San Diego and El Centro every weekend to get the extra training. What's your excuse today?

I also happen to come across your post( almost two years to the day about how people did not take advantage of Ronda teaching at WCJTC. Now you have to pay way more to get her instruction. There used to be a time when there would only be 5 kids on the mat with Ronda in 2011, when she was there regularly on Saturdays.

4 of those same kids were on the mat today at Hayastan MMA and have been going to WCJTC since October 2009 when they were the following ages: 8, 9, 11 and 12. They are now 11, 12, 14 and 15.

See you at practice...CN

Anonymous said...

What was Zurab Bekochvili's armbar? The curious want to know.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

I don't know the name of the arm bar. I had never seen it before. But it was awesome. Say you are left handed. You get a left grip like in judo - left hand on lapel, right hand on sleeve but a little lower down than the usual grip at the elbow.

Then you lift up your left leg, bent at the knee, and put it in the opponent's stomach. You go to the mat and use your right leg that you swing over to curl the opponent on his or her back as you sit up. Now you have the arm straight, between your legs, locked against your body. You just need to lay back, arch and you have the arm. Sweet.

david hain said...

Its is not a business,it is life time process for maintain the fitness by the proper martial arts training.

Anonymous said...

The Ronda Rousey vs. Julia Budd video is here by the way:

Also I would like to say, this place sounds like a dream.

Interesting 'david hain', you said it's not a business and I like the idea of lifetime fitness... one half of me knows how judo vs. money is not always a win for Judo. I measure by the way my sensei's don't have enough time after seeing many of them with years of practice having to go to family and job more than students... I've always told every sensei I wanted to talk with but could that WE are also your family and Judo is the system we can rely on more than anything else... but it seems perhaps not yet...

After visiting Armenia/Hyastan and being new there, it was hard just to find the place of practice (I called someone who said in summer the Judo places close down but wasn't sure if it was to stop me going?)

I talked to a a person in the the body building and gym place, and they have to pay to use the space too so it's like a pyramid scheme; he pays him, who pays her, she pays him, he pays here.... how is judo ever going to get past that and practice more Judo? Not just practice but reading and writing it during the day.

Comments welcome: nowisthetime @ riseup . net - To be clear I'm sticking to Judo myself as this is the only system I've found that works, even if almost EVERYONE else is working with the faulty monetary/economic system(s).

Someone must have something to say, the sensei's always go quite on this one though I appreciate their position(s).