I got home from work on Thursday evening and picked up the post that was on the mat as usual. I quickly realised that there was a large letter from the organisers of the London Marathon and that, low and behold, I had been successful in my application to run at next year’s event. Although the amount of training I will need to do between now and then is slightly daunting it has certainly put me in a good mood as I have been trying, via the ballot, to get in for the last 5 years. So off I went to Judo with a spring in my step.
On arrival I noticed another new face, Chris, who has previously trained in Japanese Jiu-jitsu. I later found out that he was a green belt in JJJ but I’m not sure how senior that is.
Graeme took as through our warm up and then he told us that we would be working on O-uchi-gari tonight, which coincidentally is one of the throws I need to perfect for my Yellow belt grading.
Graeme had a great way of breaking this throw down in to different parts. First off he had us practicing our footwork and entry in to the throw. Then the arm movements and finally we put the whole thing together. I was paired with Ryan and before long we were both pulling off really nice O-uchi-gari’s on each other. We were then told to do the throw whilst moving and this actually made the throw easier as, providing you timed it right, you could catch their foot just before it hit the ground.
After we had properly drilled O-uchi-gari Graeme then told me to pick an Uke to throw with Ippon-seoi-nage so that he could tick this off my grading. I picked Oli and performed an average throw on him but it didn’t quite feel right as I threw him more around my right shoulder than over the top. Graeme asked me to do the throw again and this time Oli felt as light as a feather and flew right over the top of me. I knew straight away I had preformed a perfect Ippon-seoi-nage as it was effortless and Graeme agreed.
With the Tachi-waza out of the way we went on to some Newaza and in particular Kami-shiho-gatame, another Yellow belt technique. I was still paired with Oli at this point and we both drilled this hold before Graeme showed us a variation of the technique where instead of the normal grip, both arms under uke’s arms and grabbing uek’s belt, one of your arms grabs over Uke’s arm and then back towards your legs and grabs Uke’s collar. This was actually a stronger hold than the traditional way of doing Kami-shiho-gatame and one that I would certainly use in competition.
We finished up with some Randori, first standing and then groundwork. First up Big Stuart handled me with ease and threw me a couple of times then Oli did the same. Again what I noticed most about Randori with these two is that they really know what they are doing with their grips whereas I just try and get the traditional Judo grip as I don’t really have any idea what throw I want to perform or how I want them to react. For a relative beginner like me there is so much to think about with throwing that you end up telegraphing exactly what you are going to do which means you have no chance in throwing a brown belt like Stuart and Oli.
I did finally manage a rather scrappy Osoto-otoshi on Ryan but we largely cancelled each other out. I did have a quick go against the new guy Chris and he clearly has a bit of experience with throws as he was able to trip me and was difficult for me to throw.
Still, overall considering that I hadn’t done any standing Randori since early July I wasn’t that bad and at least we then went on to do some Newaza randori.
I had a good roll with Big Stuart and actually managed to submit him with a Sangaku-jime (triangle). I’m not quite sure if the two months of BJJ has started to pay off or if I got lucky or if Stuart wasn’t actually trying too hard but it made me feel good nonetheless.
Tonight’s lesson was just the tonic I needed after last week’s when I was clearly having a bad one and had a little rant about Judo in general. Graeme’s teaching tonight was first class and totally made sense once we pieced everything together. Unfortunately he will be away on business for the next two weeks so I’m not sure how much of my Yellow belt grading I will do in that time but there is no rush.