Friday, 24 June 2011


Following last week’s poor turnout in the seniors we had two extra headcount (Oli & Ynes) joining us tonight. Unfortunately there was still no sign of Ryan or Jamie. I do hope Ryan, especially, hasn’t quit. Hopefully I will find out more following the text I just sent to him.

I had been very much looking forward to tonight’s lesson as I was sure I would be finishing my Orange belt grading that I started last week. Trying to learn, parrot fashion, all the English translations for the Japanese techniques when you have a four month old crying baby in your arms isn’t easy but I had sufficiently learnt them, with the help of my Wife, to be confident that I would be able to remember them when asked.

Following a quick warm up we were told to partner up for some Newaza, starting with one of us on all fours. I paired up with Ynes and volunteered to be first in the all fours position. Ynes attempted to roll me over but somehow I managed to end up in her guard where on passing she turtled up. I took her back and tried in vain to sink in a choke before matte was called.

Now it was her turn to start on all fours and I tried a basic turnover but she wasn’t having it. Again I took her back but she managed to turn around until she was in my guard. I pushed her arm out and started applying San-gaku-jime slowly but was picked up on this by both Peter and Ynes herself. I had the right arm of Ynes in the triangle and was about to move to my right to get the right angle to choke her but she insisted I move to her left, which was odd. Peter agreed with me, that I should move to my right but his criticism was more about the length of time Ynes was in the choke without tapping. I’m not sure why I didn’t slap on the choke full pelt as I would normally. Maybe it’s because Ynes usually comments about me using too much strength against her or maybe subconsciously I was aware that she is a female, albeit a 2nd Dan international female, but still someone who is about a foot smaller than me and did not want to hurt her.

We changed after this and I was paired with big Stuart. This time we started in the guard and Stuart, after several attempts managed to pass to half guard where I basically hung on for dear life. Stuart started applying a collar choke but I managed to sweep unfortunately ending up in his guard. As he applied more pressure to the collar choke I was preparing to tap but wanted to see if I could hold out and luckily Graeme called matte just in time. We changed positions again shortly after with both of us starting, lying on our stomachs. The first time Stuart was able to pin me and the second time, after Stuart turtled up I attempted a turnover in to Juji-gatame, but Stuart hung on to his arm long enough until matte was called.

Peter then went on to show us both San-gaku-jime and San-gaku-gatame. As Stuart isn’t the most flexible of people his San-gaku-jime wasn’t having the desired effect on me. I told him that I had seen a slight variation on this move from a Youtube video that Tony, a regular reader of this blog, provided me with a little while ago whereby you under hook on your right side and are basically side on to your opponent. This means that instead of squeezing your thighs together, which requires a certain amount of flexibility, you are doing a sort of leg press movement with your right leg, which is easier to perform. Stuart then tried this on me and got me to tap quickly, which he seemed pleased about.

Going on to tachiwaza and tonight’s focus would be on Uchi-Mata. After being showed the correct entry to this throw I again paired up with Stuart. After a couple of attempts I was able to feel quite comfortable with this throw. Whist writing this post I noticed that I had previously remarked on the 20th November 2010 that I wasn’t able to perform this throw very well, but tonight couldn’t be further from the truth as I was even able to throw Stuart who due to his size is quite often difficult to throw. Does this prove a distinct improvement of my understanding of Judo? I hope so.

Once we had both practiced this throw a dozen or so times Graeme asked us to think of a combination to this throw. I suggested to Stuart that Ko-Uchi-gari would be a good combination and he concurred. We then continued to practice this combination until Graeme finally called matte. Being asked to think of combinations of techniques and putting them together reminded me a little of my Wing Chun days when we would often be told to come up with combinations from a punch blocked with a Bong-sau or a Tan-sau. Learning in this way really helps a student to understand the flow of a technique and the Ko-Uchi-gari to Uchi-mate combination is one that I will try next time we do Randori.

Realising that I would need at least 10-15 minutes to finish my grading I glanced up at the clock and was disappointed to see that it was already 10.00pm. Peter remarked that we would finish my grading before the end of the term but I couldn’t help but feel a little deflated as I expected to be leaving here tonight with a shiny new Orange belt. Oh well, as Mr Miyagi would say, patient’s Stuart-san.