My first Judo lesson for two months, due to the club being closed for the summer holidays, and I was very surprised that Peter told me that he was going to start my Yellow belt grading. As with my Red Belt grading this doesn’t have to be done in one go, which I was very grateful for as I did feel more than a little rusty especially with my throws and use of Japanese words.
There was a new senior tonight, new to me anyway, his name is Mark and he is a Green belt. He used to train here about 18 months ago but due to work commitments hasn’t been able to attend in that time but he was back and according to him, enjoying himself.
Having someone a little bit closer to my level can only be a good thing as apart from Ryan, who is a white belt but also a Blue belt in BJJ, everyone else in the club is either Brown or Black Belt. I didn’t get the chance to train directly with Mark tonight but at least when I do he will be less likely to be “taking it easy” with me, which I’m sure most of the others do.
After a quick stretch and warm up we went in to various breakfalls (Ukemi) and as I was doing them Peter ticked the ones that I have to for my grading off of a sheet. One of the breakfalls I did was Mae Ukemi which is a front breakfall. This was the breakfall I did several months ago which gave me my shoulder injury and I was little nervous about doing this but I managed to get through it ok and got another tick from Peter.
Following this we went in to some turnovers when Uki is laying flat on his stomach trying to stall for time. This is something I have not seen at all in my BJJ training as giving up your back in BJJ is like Boxing with your hands by your waist, sooner or later you’re gonna get put to sleep. However in Judo competition the referee will call matte if you are not able to improve your position very quickly when your opponent is just defending like this.
We then did some Newaza and I was paired with Troy. We were told that this was to be light Newaza so I was conscious not to use too much strength but although Troy is considerably lighter than me he is a Brown Belt so is obviously technically better which then means I resort to strength over technique. I took Troy down and tried to work towards Mune-gatame (side control) but couldn’t properly hold him down so I tried to get full mount but Troy managed to get half guard. Peter was watching and said that I shouldn’t have given up my Mune-gatame as now, unless I quickly got out of side control, a referee in competition would stand us back up.
This is the fundamental difference between Judo Newaza and BJJ. In BJJ your main objective is to submit your opponent by either a joint lock or a choke. If your opponent does not give up by tapping you continue until the joint is broken or until the person is choked unconscious. This is why BJJ works so well in MMA where the focus is to make your opponent submit or knock them out. Judo on the other hand now has such a large focus on what works in Judo competition.
If I got in to a real fight that went to the ground I would not want to hold someone in Mune-Gatame as it would achieve nothing. I would try and get a superior position, ie the mount and then punch them into submission or look for a joint lock or choke. I personally think Judo is losing its way as a form of self defense by concentrating so much on what can be done in competition and I think this focus is wrong but who am I to voice my concerns openly to experienced Judo Black Belts.
We went on to practice Ippon-seoi-nage which is a throw I need to perfect for my Yellow grading. We broke the throw down in to entry, braking Uke’s balance and picking Uke up and holding them on your back. Then when we finally got to do the throw I was able to perform it pretty well. I was paired up with Oli for this and he allowed me to just practice my throw on him rather than the other way around as he knew I had to nail this throw for my yellow belt. Of all the people I train with at the club Oli is probably the best Uke for me as he is reasonably close in height and weight, he resists just enough to ensure my technique is correct and always gives good feedback.
The lesson finished with some light Randori and I paired up with Troy again. Apart from the Ippon-seoi-nage, which I was never gonna get on Troy as he is a lot shorter than me, I am very rusty at throws so not surprisingly I struggled to get anything to work and even my trusty old Tani-otoshi failed me. Troy did point out that I was very stiff in the arms which I need to work on.
Next week I will have to perform Ippon-seoi-nage ona resisting opponent to get a tick on my Yellow grading and no doubt we will then concentrate on the other two throws (O-ochi-gari & Tai-otoshi).
I’m fairly comfortable with O-ochi-gari but my Tai-otoshi definitely needs some work on as does my knowledge of Japanese words for all the technique’s.
Providing I pass my yellow grading I should get this within a month which means I might be able to grade for Orange before the end of the year or at least be well on the way towards it which would be great.
Now on to BJJ and last week I mentioned that I had purchased an A-5 size BJJ Gi from eBay, well the bloody thing would not shrink at all in the wash despite a 95c wash and two at 60c. As I can’t send it back I have now put this up for sale on eBay and once sold I will purchase an A-4 from the same company as I know it should fit me. If however I bought an A-4 from a different company then their Gi’s would more than likely shrink and end up being too small like my Judo Gi is now although I’m gonna keep it for a while as I’m not sure my wife would appreciate me buying two new Gi’s in quick succession.
Next week I intend to write two blog entries, one for BJJ and one for Judo so I’ll be busy