Friday, 17 June 2011

Orange is close

If I’m walking around with a certain spring in my step today it’s because at last night’s Judo I surprisingly did a big chunk of my Orange belt (4th kyu) grading. This was made possible because oddly I was the only senior student who turned up last night, which meant I had Peter, Graeme and Big Stuart all to myself.

In my post dated 1st June 2011 I commented that there were still several techniques which I had never performed in the class and therefore I was unsure whether I would grade before the club closed for Summer but I somehow managed to perform these techniques adequately enough to pass, although both Graeme and Peter kindly allowed me a couple of goes to get the techniques right.
I literally only have a couple of techniques left to perform next week, along with Randori and a verbal test on the translation of each technique, so with any luck I’ll get my Orange belt next lesson.

With the combinations one has to learn for Orange belt I can see that this level is where one begins to understand the concepts of Judo. The techniques I learnt for Red and Yellow belt were just throws, with some emphasis on Kuzushi (breaking Uke’s balance). Now I can start to see how one throw leads to opportunities for another. Additionally I am also beginning to see counters to the throws that my opponents are trying on me.

After attending the Randori night at Westcroft Judo Club I was immediately aware that I had little idea of how to set up the throws that I knew, unless my opponent was making an obvious mistake. As the lowest grade at Westcroft (apart from myself) was a Green belt, I was dominated in the stand up and could not find any opportunities to throw my opponent and was often countered every time I went for a throw myself. Since then Oli has helped me with a couple of combinations, one of which is Tai-Otoshi – O-uchi-gari and Big Stuart has helped me with my grips.

So for the rest of this term my plan will be to always think 1 throw ahead when I do Randori, i.e. never try a single technique without thinking about another technique that may become available on the back of it. I’ll work out maybe 3-4 combinations that I will try and drill until they become second nature and then as I get more experienced I can add to them.

I really appreciated the lesson tonight and the opportunity that Peter, Graeme and Stuart gave me to grade, so a big thanks to all of them. Although tonight the lack of seniors worked out in my favour I do hope this is only temporary and that those seniors who have been absent recently soon return.

Looking forward to next week now and hopefully I’ll be changing my belt colour.

1 comment:

  1. I took up judo over a decade ago in my late twenties, earning my orange belt (under the old grading system), but redundancy, a new job and different hours put the skids on things. Over the intervening years I've wanted to return, but had stretched my earlobes (yes, I'm odd), and grown so 'attached' to them, I didn't want to retire them. However, now I'm forty, and have decided that I need to get back to it NOW, ears or no...

    Anyways, I've decided to go for it. My tunnels are out (they're not THAT big) and my earlobes are shinking slowly but surely. I've figured that even if they don't shink as much as I'd like, they will close, at least to look at. Okay, they might stretch out when I'm on the mat, but I can always tape them! Tape is the Judoka's friend. In the intervening weeks (I reckon I need to leave them for two to three months to see where they get to), I'll concentrate on building up a bit more fitness. Having a sport, something to go for, will motivate me. Sometimes doing exercise just for exercise's sake can become a little monotonous (this is my opinion, I know not everyone feels the same), even if you try to mix it up a bit!

    Having now hit forty, I'm figuring that getting back to it sooner rather than later will mean it goes that bit easier for me! I have recently discovered that my old instructor is still there. He's a 5th Dan, and as he was just over 60 when I last did it, he must be well into his early seventies now, and he's still on the mat several times a week! :D

    I've been thinking about this for some time. I'm not the best at making a decision, I admit freely, but this seems to have embedded itself deep into my psyche - I've been having the feeling that I need to go back and complete what I started, though Judo is something which is never complete, I guess. I did consider Taekwondo on several occasions, but have realised that TKD would not give me what I'm looking for.

    I'm reasonably sure this isn't my mid-life crisis as I've been wanting to do it for a long time - it's just taken until now for me to work up the cojones to actually do it! The lack of sleep thing due to getting home late and starting early is still a real possibility - I'll just have to get more sleep on my non-judo days. Other people manage it, why can't I?

    You may be wondering what the final thing was that made me decide to do it. Whilst on a judo forum I saw a book recommendation; "The Pyjama Game, by Mark Law". Reading it finally swung the decision.

    Reading your blog and loving it, keep it up. :)