It’s called a ‘V’ after the shape that is formed by the attackers you are facing. Does it look intimidating? Good. It’s supposed to. The attackers are about to be sent out in waves, one after the other with a variety of weapons. Make sure you’re ready because you’re about to get the chance to shine. Do it for yourself, for your club and for your university. That is what the Jiu Jitsu Atemi Nationals are all about.
This weekend over 1,000 people will descend on the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield for the biggest event of the Jiu Jitsu calendar. The two mornings consist of training where the country’s best instructors teach something a little bit out of the ordinary. It’s a great chance to train with people of all grades from all over the country. You might even get the chance to train with a ‘3rd Dan’ if you’re feeling tough enough. The afternoons are dedicated to the competitions which are split into grade groups. The preliminary rounds will be held on Saturday afternoon with the finals to be contested on Sunday. Novices will show off their skills in squares and gauntlets while the higher grades take on a V and a gauntlet. They will be judged on movement, posture, technique, style, aggression and control.
The format of the squares is simple enough. Four attackers surround the competitor who faces each one of them in turn whereupon they attempt to punch or grab them. It’s all about showing that you can defend yourself effectively. The gauntlets are the opportunity to show off the more elegant side of Jiu Jitsu (it is the ‘gentle art’ after all). The competitor walks through the middle of the two lines of attackers and when one jumps out and attempts to punch them, stab them, smash a bottle over their head or wrap a chain around their face, it’s the competitor’s chance to do something innovative and stylish.
None of that in the V though; there’s simply no time. It’s all about blocking, doing a technique and disarming as quickly as possible before the next attacker gets sent in. It’s important not to get swamped. Get stuck with one attacker and it can quickly turn into defending yourself against two or three more. The highlight of the weekend will be on Sunday afternoon. The lower grades, having finished for the weekend, can now relax, sit back and take a front row spot to watch The Open. This is the competition for the brown and black belts. Blink and you’ll miss it. A rare opportunity to see Jiu Jitsu done at its very best and is always a fantastic show.
Last year, Leeds fared well in the competitions. Having finished 2nd in 2010, the club was determined to do one better last year. However, a 4th place in the novice category and 2nd and 3rd places in the dark blue belt category were only good enough to see the club finish joint 4th overall. Although disappointing, it showed that Leeds’ Jiu Jitsu club is one of the best in the country. With club instructor Luke Bishop on fine form, two-time silver medallist Simon Pickersgill looking to finally capture a gold in the brown belt category and a talented group of lower grades and novices, this might just be the year that LUU Jiu Jitsu fulfils its potential and takes the coveted club shield.
Author: Ranvir Singh Kalare