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.