I finally got myself back on the mat. I had a 5 week break because of some emotional things and some scheduling things, and I went last night to a new gym.

Jiu Jitsu World is in the basement of a building. The mat is very square and in the back there is a very large dressing room and a self-contained shower, so it doesn’t get all over the floor. The gym was a bit musty smelling, but not DIRTY smelling. More like that smell a gi can get if it takes too long to dry.

The class started at 6pm and there were 8 students. 7 of us were white belts, one was a blue belt, and the instructor is a brown belt. I was paired up with a bigger guy than me who probably weighed about the same as I did. He was also the only white guy and the only other American. To my ears he had great Korean. The funny thing was: we were all counting in Korean for the stretching, and afterward he says something to me in Korean to which I said: o_O. Apparently I speak Korean with a Russian accent. heh

My partner was nice, and we did some reps. We did some take down throws, some breaking-the-guard techniques, etc. Then we sparred. Two of the guys were going to a tournament, so they were the main focus. The rest of us rotated, sparring them for a minute each. So the tournament guys sparred nonstop for…10 minutes? 15 minutes? While the rest of us sparred for 1 minute and had 2 minute breaks.

Taking 5 weeks off has noticeably affected my health. I didn’t feel as strong, I didn’t have the stamina, and my brain went blank a LOT and all I kept thinking was “hold on!” However, I did notice a few things. I gave my partner a workout. I didn’t just give him things–he had to work for them. Whether it was because I was pulling back my arm as he was going for it, or he was trying to pass my guard and I was holding on tight, or he’d try to get a choke and I’d block it. I wasn’t completely schooled, which felt nice. I lost every round, but I didn’t feel like I was back at square one.

The school has a very convenient schedule and a very convenient location for me. They’re located one metro stop away from my work, or an easy 20 minute walk. There is a 7:30pm class every day, open mat at 6pm on Mondays, and Tuesdays and Thursdays there is a proper class at 6pm. The 6pm class went a little shorter than I expected–the formal teaching finished at 6:45 and then people hung out and they were free to spar or drill until the next class. Apparently the 7:30 class people will often stay late on MWF often until 10pm.

I’m going to try out this school for two weeks and see what the feel is. I’d like to meet more of the students and find out what the general feeling of the school is.

Overall I have a good feeling about it, but have decided it’s a bad idea to commit to a school immediately without doing some research. So I’m currently in research mode. 🙂

But, I’m back on the mat.

What is YOUR longest hiatus? Why was it? How did you feel after?