Friday, 18 February 2011


Well it’s been 1 year since I started Judo at Dorking Judo club so I thought I’d reflect on what I had learnt and how my thoughts have changed since my first couple of posts in February 2010. In my first lesson only 3 people were present, Big Stuart, Peter and myself. Oli was absent for the first couple of lessons as was Ynes, Troy and Gill. Then Mark returned to Judo after a long absence and Black Belt Stuart came back to Judo, also after an absence. We have had a number of new people who have come and gone and this is quite typical with Martial Arts and can be a little frustrating for the Instructors who give their time and effort to teaching someone who then just disappears, usually without even saying goodbye or providing a reason. For bigger clubs who turn over a profit and pay the instructors this doesn’t matter so much but for most small, locally run clubs, they usually only break even and all the instructors teach for nothing other than for the joy of teaching.

In fact the only person to start after me and stick with it is Ryan. We do have Jamie who started in January of this year but he was absent from last night’s class so I hope he isn’t yet another name to add to the list of people who give up.

Looking back at my first post I wrote that I was able to hold down Big Stuart with a Mune-gatame and Kesa-gatame and that he was not able to escape therefore I must have learnt the technique perfectly. I also thought that I was able to best a big Brown belt Judoka in Newaza because I nearly caught him in a San-gaku-jime. Oh dear, I’m glad Big Stuart didn’t read my early posts otherwise he would have got the wrong impression of me and maybe of crushed me the next time we did Newaza. Of course none of the senior grades try much at all against the noob’s as they usually let us get submissions in Newaza and throw them in Randori. This is in complete contrast to my experience of BJJ where as a beginner you are crushed by everyone from the beginning. The only time you get any joy is when some other new person starts and you are then eager to crush them and welcome them to BJJ.

So which way is the best?

Well at least when I did BJJ I didn’t have delusions of grandeur, thinking that I was able to submit brown belts because I had watched a few UFC’s. Of course before I had my first BJJ class I did think that I might do ok but I did very quickly realise that I was way out of my depth.
With Judo on the other hand I am still not sure how I stack up against the more senior grades as I never know how much effort they are putting in when we do Tachiwaza randori or Newaza. Yes I have submitted nearly everyone in the club at some point and thrown everyone as well but would I be able to do so if they were really trying?

It would be nice if we did occasionally have a Randori only night where we didn’t learn any techniques and all we did was fight. I know my club is very recreational and we are all the wrong side of 30, so we are never going to make the Olympics, but surely even if we did this once a month it would be nice. Now I’m not saying we never spar, because we do in every class, but usually it’s only for about 25 minutes in total when you add the Tachiwaza and Newaza together.

One thing I have done that I mentioned in one of my first posts is train some BJJ. Although I did suggest I would try and attend a BJJ seminar held by Kevin Chan, who was my Wing Chun Instructor, which never happened, I did still manage to make it down to Nova Forca in Epsom for a couple of months in the Summer and had some seriously hard training sessions with the guys down there. Their attitude to training is very much that you learn on the job and by your mistakes. So as I have already said a complete beginner will get crushed by everyone in his first lesson and probably only be taught 2 techniques. But he would learn so much more from his first lesson and usually by about lesson 4 you can start to see a huge difference in his game and he would probably be able to control someone else who has just walked through the door for their first lesson.
Now I would imagine if my Judo club took this approach then they would seriously limit the type of students that would want to learn as only someone very fit and athletic and who can take a beating would want to attend Judo week after week if they were being dumped on their heads by the seniors. When I attended Westcroft Judo club their attitude to training was more in line with Nova Forca but I was a lot younger then and able to take the beating, or so I thought because I ended up getting seriously injured tearing both my Pec major and minor.

So to summarise I like the way my Judo club teach, it is right for our club but now and again it would be nice to be a little bit more like Westcroft or Nova Forca but only now and then as we don’t want to get everyone injured.

What else has happened in the last year?

I have gone up two belts having gained my red (6th kyu) in May 2010 and my yellow (5th kyu) in December 2010. This year I hope to go up two more belts by gaining first my orange and then green which would hopefully mean by the end of 2012 I would be near Brown belt level.

I injured by shoulder in May whilst doing front breakfalls incorrectly and have since injured it again whilst doing a rowing challenge in the gym at work. I do have a weakness in my left shoulder ever since I injured my chest doing Judo about 8-9 years ago. The injury basically restricts the movement I have in my left arm which means if the chest is tight one side of your body then the rear deltoids on the other side are probably not aligned correctly and thus are prone to injury. I am seeing a sports massage therapist at the moment who thinks that with plenty of stretching and some deep tissue massage it may solve this problem once and forever. If it doesn’t then I guess surgery is the alternative but it would be worth doing if it finally cured my shoulder problem and then allowed me to start doing shoulder exercises in the gym again.

I got accepted in to the London Marathon which is on April 17th of this year. This has obviously meant that I am doing a lot of running which has helped with my general fitness and has meant that I now weigh in at 90kg, having lost about 4kg or 8.8lb. Most of the weight I have lost is from around my stomach, which is good but I am already fantasising about getting back in the gym after the marathon so that I can start lifting some proper weights and getting lumpy again. Once the Marathon training started I quickly realised that I was going to struggle to keep up both the Judo and BJJ training so I had to give up BJJ but I do hope to revisit this sometime this year although finance may be a problem due to the most important thing which happened last year and probably the most important thing ever in my life which is that my Wife became pregnant, with the baby being due on the 9th March.

That’s it, a quick summary of 1 years worth of Judo and how my thoughts have changed throughout. The club is closed next week due to the school holidays which isn’t a bad thing as it will give my shoulder another week to recover. In the meantime Ryan leant me a good book called Guerrilla Jiu jitsu by Dave Camarillo. Having had a quick look already this seems like a good fusion of both BJJ and Judo so I shall enjoy reading this over the next couple of weeks until I can hopefully try out the moves in Judo, until then enjoy.