Friday, 25 March 2011

O Gosh-i

I have taken the decision to put off my Marathon dream until next year due to my new family commitments which meant that getting time to train properly was becoming increasingly difficult. This does however mean that I am now able to compete in the High Wycombe Newaza tournaments on the 17th April. Both Oli and Ryan are also competing so no doubt we shall all travel up together. Last year I was able to get a bronze after only 2 months of Judo so you would think that my chance of progressing further this year would be improved. Unfortunately it is very likely that Ryan will be competing in my weight class which at present is the under 90kg category. Last year I weighed in at 93.5 kg and fought in the open weight division which was 90kg + with no upper limit but what I lacked in weight I made up for in fitness and speed. If I manage to stay below 90kg ( I was 88kg two weeks ago but this was due to my marathon training) then I would be amongst the heaviest but would no longer have advantage of speed. Also as I am 6ft 3 I will likely be one of the tallest. Anyway I have a month until then and my training will consist mostly of weights and a couple of short 4 mile runs a week. I will also try and get down to BJJ for a couple of lessons as this is the best and quickest way to improve my groundwork.

Back to last night and Ryan was asked to warm the class up, unusual as he is the least senior person in the club. Ryan’s warm up closely resembled the type of warm up that we do in BJJ, although he toned it down somewhat for us as the full BJJ workout would most likely give some of the club a heart attack.

When I taught Kung fu I would often take the class through a 10 minute warm up but having not done so for while I will have to have a good think about a structured warm up that includes stretching etc just in case I am asked to do this next week.

Following Ryan’s warm-up we went in to Newaza. One of us was told to lie on our back whilst the other stood over him as though a throw had just been performed. When Graeme gave the signal the standing person would take a grip and attempt a hold or pin. The person on the ground could not move until Graeme called yosh. Getting the hold was not a problem when you had a few seconds before yosh was called but as this went on the time got shorter and getting the holds became harder.

The purpose of this exercise was to stress the importance of controlling your opponent before attempting the hold. What I was doing was trying to go straight in to Kesa-gatame without ever controlling the person under me first. This meant that they were able to defend. When I was paired against Peter or Stuart they would first control me with their body or knee on belly and slowly and methodically move in to a hold one move at a time, never giving me an opportunity to wriggle out. This was a good lesson learned especially with the Newaza tournament coming up.
Something I did realise from doing this exercise is that Kesa-gatame is my favourite and most effective hold along with probably tate-shiho-gatame, but only when coupled with pushing uke’s arm across their body, kind of like an arm triangle. Submission wise my go to move is a san-gaku-jime but I also like ude-garami.

When we got on to tachiwaza we were told that we were be concentrating on the goshi’s or hip throws, and from then on the class was almost a carbon copy of a class we had in October of last year and my post dated the 8th October refers.

We started with O-goshi, and I was paired with Black belt Stuart. I concentrated more on the entry and breaking his balance than on the actual throw and I think this really helped me improve this throw. We were then asked to try O-goshi and then go into Uki-goshi, which is the natural throw to go to should Uke stiffen up and stop O-goshi.

Graeme then showed us a nice entry in to O-goshi using our sleeve hand instead of our collar hand to go behind their back. It felt a little awkward at first as it makes it a left hand throw but is a good way of mixing things up and confusing your opponent.

We then finished up with Harai-goshi and I was able to pull this off quite well. Now I don’t want to jump the gun but recently the throws have started to become a lot easier and I seem to be “getting” them more now. This was in slight contrast to Ryan who was struggling to put the components of Harai-goshi together although the fact that both Peter and Graeme were constantly watching and critiquing him couldn’t have helped.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Okuri-ashi-barai ( The Oomph throw)

Judo has had to take a bit of a back seat for the last couple of weeks due to the early arrival of my Daughter Florence, who decided she wanted to make an appearance 10 days earlier than expected and low and behold a future Ju-Dan was born.

So with the birth of Florence and with the continuing physiotherapy I am having on my shoulder, the result has been no Judo for almost a month.

Anyway I was back last night and although I wasn’t exactly raring to go, due to weeks of broken sleep, I was looking forward to seeing everyone again.
We warmed up with some pushing and pulling exercises and then we all took turns running up and down the mat before throwing each member of the club once, which meant we were all nicely warmed up.

The lesson focused mainly on two foot sweeps, De-ashi-barai and Okuri-ashi-barai , which is apparently known as the “oomph” sweep (the noise uke makes when he hits the floor and all the air is knocked out of him).
This was very similar to a lesson we had in November “foot sweeps” but whereas I struggled slightly with my timing, especially with Okuri-ashi-barai, tonight I was able to perform it fairly well. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that my Uke was Ynez who is considerably lighter than Black Belt Stuart, whom was my Uke previously, but I’d like to think that I’ve just got that little bit better since then.

Following this we did some Randori and for the first time ever I got to spar with Peter. Understandably I found Peter particularly difficult to control, of course when I say control what I really mean is that he controlled me and put me down with ease but again I attacked constantly and he complemented me on some of the entries to my throws, even though I wasn’t successful with them.

We changed partners and this time we were told that from a throw we were to go into ground work. I was paired with Ryan and managed to get him down with Osoto-otoshi but I ended up in his guard. I attempted to pass but was quickly reminded by Ryan that he has superior ground skills as he almost reversed me. Luckily for me you are only given a short amount of time on the ground in Judo and I managed to stay in his guard without being swept for the next 20-30 seconds before matte was called.

We then changed to Newaza and I got a chance to roll with Peter. I got side control and got a nice Yoko-shiho-gatame on him, to which he complemented me on. Not wanting to sit there with the pin for the whole of my roll I mounted which gave me Tate-shiho-gatame. I held this until matte was called. We then had a second roll and this time I decided to pull guard and try for a sweep but Peter gave me the opportunity to get my favourite San-gaku-jime and although it took a while I did eventually make him tap.

As I sit here writing this I’m trying to work out just how hard Peter was trying against me. I could never submit Ricardo, my BJJ instructor and he would never let me submit him, not because he has an ego but because he wants you to be able to gauge your progress by how long you can survive against him. When I did Randori against Peter he took it easy on me by not smashing me to the ground but he never let me throw him because that would have given me false confidence. So why then was I able to submit him? I know that when Big Stuart and Oli are really trying that they have too much for me and maybe if we rolled ten times I could submit them once or twice so surely I couldn’t submit a black belt. All this has fuelled my desire to go back to BJJ and do some more training but I know that until I have gotten the Marathon out of the way that I just don’t have the energy and also training BJJ increases my chances of getting injured so I will wait until after April 17th.

At the end of the class we were informed that Graeme had recently passed an advanced Dan grade theory test which meant that he was a black belt but unfortunately he could not wear the belt for another year as he had only been a 1st kyu for 4 years and the minimum time spent as 1st kyu is 5 years unless you earn your black belt in competition. This is good news as Graeme is very deserving of a Dan grade especially with all the time and effort he puts in to the club and with the coaching of the juniors so well done Graeme.

I really enjoyed last night and I was pleased that I didn’t show any signs of being rusty. Hopefully my shoulder can hold out and I can now start pushing towards my 4th kyu which I would like to get before the summer.