Friday, 27 May 2011

Tai-Otoshi & Kata-gatame

Only four students tonight with Peter and Graeme instructing and after a very quick warm up we were told to partner up. We were then told to pull our partner across the mat and whilst doing so we were to get in to position to throw with Ippon-seoi-nage. We practiced this a few times up and down the mats with each of us taking turns being uke. There was a particular emphasis on turning in to our partners using just two steps. Being taller than everyone in my club this isn’t a favourite of mine and I doubt I would ever attempt it in Shiai but breaking the throw down like this definitely helps.

Following this we then went on to some groundwork and Pater had us go through various holds, and made us practice moving from one to the other, whilst ensuring that we had control at all times.

We started in Kesa-gatame, and then moved to Kata-gatame, then Tate-shiho-gatame, then into Yoko-shiho-gatame before finally finishing in Kesure-kesa-gatame. I was with Big Stuart for this and we practiced first with no resistance from Uke and then with Uke resisting each hold.

Finally Peter showed us the submission from Kata-gatame, which is basically an Arm Triangle in BJJ although the way Peter applied the submission it was more like a neck crank than a choke, which is technically illegal in Judo Shiai. Still the pain was so sudden that you had to tap straight away, which would very likely be missed by a potential referee.

You can see from the pic of Kata-gatame (this is not on the BJA website,) that this differs from your usual Arm Triangle strangle due mainly to the angle from which it is applied. An Arm Triangle puts more emphasis on pushing the arm across your opponent’s neck and using that to choke him with whereas with the high angle of Kata-gatame you can see why the neck is cranked.

We then went back to the throw we had started to break down at the beginning of the class and Peter got the crash mats out. We all took it in turns to throw everyone else and for some reason I just wasn’t on form tonight. In fact the best throw of the night went to Jamie, who threw Big Stuart right over his head with a near perfect Ippon-Seoi-nage. When I was throwing I seemed to be using too much effort, probably because I wasn’t getting down low enough, but like I said earlier this throw does not suit tall people.

Our next throw to practice was Tai-otoshi and again it just never felt quite right, probably because we haven’t practiced this throw in a while. Despite my throws not being the best I really enjoyed having the crash mats out and wish that we could have more lessons with the crash mats out so we could just practice all the throws we have learnt.

Looking back at the nights lesson I can see this was tailored towards someone taking their 5th grading, i.e. Ryan. Unfortunately Ryan wasn’t there tonight but it was good for me to go over these techniques again, although looking at the Orange Belt Syllabus I have a lot of throws that I haven’t done before or done in a long time and they are:



So as you can see I have my work cut out to learn all of these. Hopefully the next lesson will have some of these throws on the lesson plan.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Newaza is for babies

So there I was yesterday evening changing the nappy of my 3 month old daughter Florence. Like most babies of her age she likes to grab fingers and last night she had a firm grip of both my pinkies. Another thing that babies do is bring their knees up to their chest and kick their legs around. So last night she had both my pinkies and her feet were planted firmly against both my hips and all of a sudden I realised that she had me in a Spider Guard. Realising that this was not a good position to be in I tried to break her grip but she has new baby strength in her grip at the moment so that didn’t work. I finally managed to cartwheel over to my right, gaining side control and went in for a mune-gatame but alas the hold was broken as her little legs scooted under me and now I was in her guard. Luckily enough she isn’t yet able to roll on her side, so I had no fear of her sweeping me but I doubt it will be too long before she is able to.

I wonder if I am the only new father who does Newaza with their 3 month old baby?

Monday, 16 May 2011


Peter and Graeme took the class tonight and present amongst the students were Big Stuart, Oli, Ryan and myself.

After a quick warm up Peter got us started with some Newaza. Graeme told us to start on all fours, side by side, as though a throw had been attempted and both of us had fallen to our knees. Graeme also said that he would make us re-start if no progress was made thus simulating shiai Newaza conditions.

My first roll was with Big Stuart and although I started off pretty well Stuart was eventually able to pass my guard and get kazure kesa gatame on me. Fortunately I was able to trap his leg and return to half guard before we both finally rolled off the matted area and at this point Graeme had already called matte. As I changed partners I realised that I hurt my neck and was finding it painful to turn my head either fully left or right and looking upwards was even more painful.

My next roll was with Oli and this time we started by both laying on our stomachs next to each other, again trying to simulate a position we might find ourselves in during shiai. When Graeme called hajime I was the first to rise and decided to pull guard. I held the material on his gi pants to control his legs and moved to side control where I attempted to get Mune-gatame. Oli was defending against this so I got the mount and then went for tate-shiho-gatame and at this point Oli bridged and turned me over and as I rolled onto my back I took his arm and went for a juji-gatame. Although initially this lock was on Oli managed to flip out of it and he then ended up in my guard and at this point Graeme called matte.

At some point in our roll I had briefly gotten Oli’s back and Oli commented after that I should have choked him with a collar choke. I have noticed in the past that when I get someone’s back I get confused as to what collar I should grab and in which direction I should pull it and this is something I am going to make a conscious effort to look at so I will be visiting youtube and looking through my various Judo books over the coming week.

For the benefit of Ryan, who will be grading shortly for his Yellow belt, Peter showed us Kami-shiho-gatame and we worked with our partners on holding and trying to escape.

Now on to Tachiwaza and Graeme took us through the details of Ippon- Seoi-nage. We first drilled kuzushi and then added the entry before we strung the whole thing together and started throwing one another. As I am the tallest person at the club this isn’t an ideal throw for me as I have to bend my legs quite a lot to get my hips bellow my opponent. But I was able to throw Oli, my uke, fairly comfortably.
Graeme then went on to show us a couple of set ups for this throw, for example attacking your opponents right leg with Ko-uchi-gari often results in them stepping backwards with their right leg to avoid the throw, thus leaving a nice bit of space for you to get under with Ippon-seoi-nage.

After we drilled this several times we got the crash mats out and Graeme showed us drop-seoi-nage which involved the thrower dropping on to two knees, so not for people with dodgy knees then.
I was again quite surprised that I was able to pull this throw off quite nicely, as we all took turns being the thrower and throwing the rest of students on to the crash mat.

Despite my neck injury, which 4 days later is feeling a lot better but still a little stiff, another very enjoyable lesson. As I mentioned above I am going to make a conscious effort to learn and drill some collar chokes and I want to be writing about how I submitted someone with a collar choke in the near future.

Friday, 6 May 2011

One Legged Judo

I was recently asked by Graeme if I wanted to write a small article for the Surrey Judo News letter on DJC’s (Dorking Judo Club) recent success at the Newaza Championship. Upon arrival at the club last night I was shown the published article. Hopefully such articles will help attract some new blood in to the seniors especially as there were only 6 of us last night, including two instructors.

Furthermore the DJC’s website has finally been updated after nearly 2 years of being dormant. Again thanks to Graeme for the time and effort of updating it, although he did say he chose the day of the Royal Wedding to do so.

After our warm-up we went on to Newaza but with a slight difference. We would both start standing up with each one of us taking turns to drop to the mat with the other person following and attempting to gain an advantageous position. Following this Peter showed us some interesting turnovers. One straight in to Juji-gatame and the other in to tate-shiho-gatame. If I can find videos of these techniques I’ll post them but as yet I have not been able to.

On to some Tachiwaza and Graeme first had us trying to break each other’s balance but by standing on one leg only. As I was paired with Ynez I didn’t have too much trouble making her put one leg on the ground as she is about half my size. By the time I was paired up with Oli Graeme was allowing us to add throws in to the mix and Oli managed to throw me a couple of times. It was at this point I could see the reason behind this one legged randori. When you go in for a throw you first break your opponents balance and then usually you hop in quickly on one leg to get in close enough to perform the throw. Having us practice Randori on one leg was a good way of forcing us all to do the following:

• Use attacking Judo
• Practice breaking our opponents balance
• Practice keeping our own balance
• Practice hoping in to close the distance and perform a throw.

We then went on to practice O-uchi-gari before finishing up with some Randori.
At the end of the class Graeme mentioned that we had all been invited to train at Surrey Police Judo Club for the next couple of weeks as Craig Fallon, World Champion in 2005 will be training there for a while. If I do manage to train with Craig then expect some photos and special write up to follow.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Kesa's

What with the Royal Wedding, Bank holidays, Baby duties and work, I have only just now got around to posting this, so apologies if it’s a bit short as I have forgotten some of the stuff we did and am slightly pushed for time.

Before we started our warm-up tonight Graeme congratulated those that had competed at the recent High Wycombe Newaza Tournament and I was given a special mention after my 3rd place finish.

The warm up was slightly more vigorous than usual with lots of sprinting up and down the mats, but this was a good way of getting rid of the rust that some of us had from not training for the last couple of weeks due to the clubs closure. Of course having competed and taken a BJJ lesson in between I no doubt felt slightly less rusty than others but I enjoy a good workout anyway.

We started with some Newaza and instead of starting on our knee’s which isn’t a position you are ever likely to start groundwork from we started with one of us standing and the other in the turtle position as though they had just been thrown. I was paired with Jamie and started in the Turtle first. I noticed that Jamie was sporting a new red belt so I (incorrectly) assumed he must have graded recently, maybe at another club. Anyway seeing as he was no longer a complete beginner I thought I would test his ground skills.

When Graeme told us to start I quickly turned over and pulled Jamie in to my guard. He pulled against me and got one arm out leaving himself open to my favourite san-gaku-jime, which I locked on nicely and after a few seconds he tapped. I’m not sure if this was the first time he had been caught in this technique but it is a strange feeling as it’s not painful like other chokes or strangles. This one just slowly sends you off to sleep so it’s important for both Judoka to be aware of this and is why I never crank on any submissions full pelt, not in randori anyway.

Following Jamie, I was paired up with Ryan and I did pretty well against him, almost getting a Juji-gatame. Following a couple more rolls of which I cannot remember the details, Graeme proceeded to show us some pins. I’ve often discarded pins, preferring instead to go for some flashy submission, but following the Newaza Tournament that I entered a couple of weeks ago, only now am I beginning to understand the true importance of pins in Judo.

I paired up with Oli and we went over the following


We each took turns doing the pin and trying to escape from it. The Makura-kesa-gatame was particularly nasty as this could easily be turned in to a choke.

Following the pins we went over O-goshi and as we have done before we drilled the perfect throw to do if your opponent is able to resist against an O-goshi and that is of course Uki-goshi. I do need to start memorising some combination throws as there are a couple in the 4th kyu syllabus that I need to learn especially as Graeme said at the start of the lesson that he expects Jamie, Ryan and me to all grade before the summer break.

We finished up with some Randori. I was paired with Jamie so I made a point of relaxing and encouraged him to not “Stiff arm” and to try and attack me with the limited throws that he knows. At the moment Jamie, like a lot of beginners, are too worried about not being thrown and that basically results in a stalemate against us lower grades. Of course against the 1st kyu’s and above stiff arming is not a good tactic and you are likely to be thrown, if they should so choose.

Hopefully next weeks, or tomorrows write up will be a little better.