Wednesday, 23 November 2011

New Faces

The day after my last lesson I embarked on a weekend’s trip to Snowdonia in Wales for a bit of climbing with a mate. Unfortunately I returned with a serious case of Man flu which has meant a delay in updating my blog and due to my head being all scrambled with various cold/flu remedies I cannot remember much of what went on so please excuse the briefness of my report.

The first thing I noticed when I turned up for last week’s lesson were two new faces who were already on the mat. One of them was a brown belt from Crawley Judo club who was trying to get as much training in as possible to get his black belt and the other guy, also from Crawley, was a white belt.

Following last week’s Newaza based lesson we had another one this week. Peter told us to start with some light randori and I paired up with the new brown belt guy. He decided to pull guard against me and then tried to work some sweeps but due to me posturing up well and being a few stone heavier than him I was able to resist his attempts. He then decided to get back to his knees and I was more than happy to pull guard myself. Now it was my turn to look for sweeps on him but he did a pretty good job of resisting my attempts until Peter reminded us both that it was light randori and subsequently called matte.

Peter then had us working through various holds on each other, for example I would start in Kesa Gatame and then move in to Mune-gatame then Yoko-shiho-gatame then Kuzure-kesa-gatame and finally in to tate-shiho-gatame. The person being held would slowly increase resistance until they were either able to escape or the person on top got bored and gave them ago. I think this is a very good exercise as being able to hold someone in a pin isn’t that difficult but to be able to move from one pin to another whilst keeping control is a different kettle of fish entirely. Of course in Shiai you wouldn’t give up a pin but there are times when you know you are slowly losing a pin and being able to switch to another one with minimal effort is advantageous.

We went through a couple of changes of partners and eventually went on to do some free Newaza before Peter decided to show us some Kata. We have done a little kata before but not for a while now. There is a big difference between the Kata one does in Judo to that which I performed in Karate or the form’s I had to do in Wing Chun and that is Judo kata’s are performed with another person.
I think the name of the Kata that we performed was Katame-no-kate and we only went through some of it but what I did find was that it was very useful for teaching us the correct position for the techniques.

Following the Kata we did some randori and finished up again with some more Newaza. As I said earlier my brain is slightly fuzzy due to cold/flu remedies so I can’t go in to any detail.

An interesting lesson with plenty of sparring and it was great to have some additions to the senior’s class. I hope they both return next week.

Friday, 11 November 2011


It appears that someone has taken offence to my blog and has therefore taken it upon themselves to email my club and complain. I haven’t seen the offending email but from what I’ve been told by the instructors, the anonymous emailer thinks that my blog is somehow damaging to my club and disrespectful to Judo due to the links I have to other martial arts like BJJ. There is an option to leave comments on my blog so should you take offence or disagree with anything that is written within it then please use this as a way of contacting me and we can then have a sensible discussion.

Just to add, all of the instructors have now read my blog and cannot see anything in it which in anyway damages the club or Judo. In fact they are of the opinion that it is a useful way of promoting Dorking Judo Club and they encourage me to keep at it. One thing that was pointed out to me by Black belt Stuart was that I have been spelling his name incorrectly as he spells his name Stewart. So from now on he will simply be referred to as Stewart, which means I can drop the black belt part.

On to last night’s lesson and it was a sort of Newaza master class. After we were warmed up I was paired up for some Newaza first with Oli and then without pause Stewart and then Peter. Following this Peter proceeded to show me various ways of applying Waki-gatame and Ude-gatame, specifically from a standing position. Although these techniques are not always successful when standing they can cause your opponent to move to a position where they are easily thrown or at the very least, give your opponent something to think about and put them off of a certain grip.

We then moved on to Ude-garami and finished with Hadaka-jime before Peter asked me to try and use the techniques I had just been shown, in some Newaza against himself, Stewart and Oli. Again I did this without any pause in between so it was a good workout but I really enjoyed it. I did have some success in applying these techniques but I cannot remember what technique I performed on whom. Stewart commented that I had a fairly good defense off of my back and in the most part I was able to stop anyone passing my guard.

Although we didn’t work specifically on my green belt syllabus tonight I felt like I got a lot out of the lesson, specifically with regards to my groundwork. I have commented in the past that I needed to learn some collar chokes as they seem to be presented quite regularly but I have rarely been able to finish them due to my lack of understanding of them, so hopefully this is something that I can start to address and improve on.

At the end of the class Peter said that he might show us some Kata in the upcoming weeks as it’s a good way of improving our technique and as Peter has won national Kata championships I’m sure he’ll be the right person to teach us.

Friday, 4 November 2011

More green belt syllabus

After I updated my blog last week I also decided to post an excerpt from my blog entry on the judo forum as I was looking for some feedback specifically around how I was dominated by another orange belt and how it made me feel. Rather oddly I was contacted, through the Judo forum by the orange belt guy from Yoshin Ryu who had crushed me, as he was concerned that I should feel so demoralized after what was after all just randori. It turns out that he did have previous experience at a junior level and had graded to Blue belt and even though he had only been training for 8 months since his return he was training 3-4 times a week. This did make me feel a bit better about how easily I was dominated by his grips and again how easily he was able to throw me. We have exchanged a couple of emails since then and I look forward to returning to Yoshin Ryu sometime soon and maybe learning a thing or two from him.

On to last night’s lesson and Graeme had returned from his world tour but he was only joined by Peter and Oli, which meant there were only 4 of us on the mat. We discussed briefly before we started, about what had happened to me a week previously and Graeme commented that it was quite common when people returned to Judo after training as a junior that they would be a lot better than their senior grade, particularly as juniors usually have a lot of competition experience which makes them rather good at randori.

Graeme and Peter then said we would again go over some of my green belt syllabus and that I would probably get my green belt within a few weeks. When you consider how I was feeling after last week’s lesson this didn’t seem right, I mean being thrown around by someone your own grade is bad enough but being thrown around by a lower grade would be a lot worse. When I’ve graded previously I’ve always felt I was ready to grade and that I was deserving of my new belt but now there is a degree of self doubt creeping in over whether I am good enough to wear a green belt. I guess this will only get worse as I get closer to the elusive black belt.

First of all we went over some of the Newaza techniques from the syllabus and they were Ude-gatame, Waki-gatame and finally Hiza-gatame. I had a bit of trouble finding the space to get my knee on to uke’s arm whilst doing the Hiza-gatame, which is odd as I’ve not had any trouble with this in the past.

On to the Tahi-waza and I was fairly comfortable with both Harai-goshi and Uchi-mata, although I totally forgot about the higher grip that Ynez had shown me previously and also the nice entry techniques.

Morote-eri-seoi-nage was easier this week as Oli was not wearing a stiff double weave like Stuart was when I was shown this last time which caused me to struggle to get a strong grip. Graeme showed me another way of doing this throw and that was two hands on the same side lapel as opposed to opposite lapels, which if you look at the link is actually the same way Fallon is demonstrating this. I also think this way of doing the throw would be a lot easier against someone wearing a double weave.

Now I really struggled with Sase-tsurikomi-ashi and Hiza-guruma, which are quite similar throws. I had a habit of pulling Oli down instead of lifting him up and breaking his balance properly. I will try and practice some uchi-komi in the week to correct this.

At the end of the lesson Graeme asked for ideas on how to get new seniors interested in joining the club. My immediate response was to try and tempt some of the parents who bring their kids to the junior sessions to try it out; we shall see how this develops.