Not only was I recovering from a dose of Man Flu but I had also injured my neck on Tuesday lifting weights, which meant I wasn’t able to turn my head fully left or right. Not the best shape to be doing Judo in but, as the club was closed last week for the holidays, I wasn’t going to miss training for another week.
Inez took the class tonight and after the initial warm up we did some Newaza techniques where you have to reverse/sweep Uke from inside your guard with you on your back. We partnered up and Inez told us to perform any techniques that we already knew so she could first gauge what we did or didn’t know. I was partnered with Oli and the only reversal I have ever been taught was one that I was shown in BJJ which was as follows: You start on your back with Uke in your guard grabbing your gi near your sternum. To break Uke’s grip you use both hands and grab his gi around his wrist and pull hard upwards and then to your right side. Then your left arm grabs around Uke’s back and grabs their gi by their right shoulder and at the same time you move your head towards Uke’s left knee. You then slide your right arm under Uke’s left leg and lift them up with your right arm and pull them with your left arm thus ending up in full mount.
Whilst performing this technique Inez actually commented that it was a nice move but what was even nicer was that I was able to remember this from BJJ.
Inez then went on to show us a couple more sweeps. The first one involves bringing your right knee across Uke’s body. Then you push with your right leg whilst at the same time your left leg pushes against Uke’s right knee, this flips Uke over to your left hand side where you can easily follow them into a hold or full mount.
The variation on this technique was using a butterfly guard with your right leg only and flipping them over in pretty much the same way. Oli then showed me how to do this with a double butterfly guard which I have had done to me on a number of occasions in BJJ.
Following this we did some Newazai Randori and after my initial roll with Oli I paired up with Ryan. Although Inez told us to try and keep it light it’s not always an easy thing to do especially when you are trying to defend yourself against Ryan. We started with Ryan in my guard and he attempted to pass but my hip escapes are definitely improving as I was able to keep full guard until he eventually got to half guard. After a few failed attempts by Ryan to get side control he attacked my left arm and was looking for an Ude-garami. I let him have the arm as I was trying to regain full guard and I didn’t think he would have the leverage to submit me in half guard but I was wrong as he cranked it on and forced me to tap.
We started again, this time with me in Ryan’s guard. I tried to pass a few times and Ryan was trying hard to sweep me but I managed to keep a good posture. I grabbed both of his legs in an attempt get side control but in doing so he trapped an arm and I could see that he was close to getting a Sangaku-jime (triangle) choke on me. I was lucky in that I was able to force my other arm through his legs and I was back to where I started, in his guard. Inez called Matte shortly after this.
It was refreshing to have had so long to do Newaza as usually Matte is called after sixty seconds. Although I understand that in Judo competition you don’t get long on the ground to advance your position before the referee’s stand you back up, when doing Newaza in your club I think you should be given a lot longer so tonight was a step in the right direction.
Following my roll with Ryan I paired up with black belt Stuart. He let me dictate our roll and work my holds and positions. He commented afterwards that I felt strong and in control.
We then went on to some Tachi-waza and Inez said we would be working on Uchi-mata. We stayed with our partners which meant I was with Stuart. I practiced my entry in to this throw a few times before I actually attempted the throw but I couldn’t quite get the technique right. Stuart then performed the throw on me and I was impressed with how easily I was thrown and the fact that there was nothing I could do to stop it. Stuart was reluctant to actually let me throw him, preferring instead to resist, and although he gave me good feedback and commented that I was doing it right I didn’t feel like I really got the hang of this throw.
We finished up with some Randori and I got a chance to spar with Mark who is a green belt. After failing with Tai-otoshi the week before last in my Yellow belt grading I made a conscious effort to try this as much as possible on Mark but I wasn’t able to get him with it and every time I tried, he stepped out and threw me instead. I did manage a sloppy Tani-otoshi towards then end but I ended up feeling a little despondent.
I know the learning curve for Tachi-waza is a lot higher than for Newaza but I do feel that my throws are particularly poor. Maybe I’m just being hard on myself as the only person in the club who is a lower grade than me is Ryan and everyone else, bar Mark, is a Brown belt or above. In fact when we do Newaza it’s even worse because although Ryan may be a White belt Judoka he is a Blue belt in BJJ so I get beaten by everyone.
Maybe I need a competition to gauge properly what my true level is or maybe I just need to train at another Judo club every once in a while. I know Westcroft have a Randori night on Tuesdays so maybe I could persuade Oli to join me in a trip there sometime.
We didn’t get the chance to go over anymore of my yellow grading this week but I would expect, with the return of Graeme next week that this should continue.