Before the class tonight both Oli and I were discussing ways of increasing the profile of the club especially with respect to getting more seniors through the door. Inez then walked in and has the exact same discussion with us both so I’m glad I’m not alone in realising we need more students.
Thankfully Ryan was present tonight but it appears that he is only managing to attend every other week at the moment. He was the first to congratulate me as he walked in as he noticed my shiny new, un-blood stained orange belt. I told Ryan that I had recently seen him on YouTube as I was watching a video of Tim getting his BJJ black belt on Nova Forca. Its traditional at this club for the recipient of a new belt to get whipped by the other students and seeing as Tim was getting his black belt he had to take the whipping with nothing but his boxer shorts to protect him. I was very grateful for the firm handshake I got from Peter for my orange belt and was glad we did not copy BJJ in this regard.
The throw for tonight’s lesson would be Sumi-gaeshi, a throw we have been shown before and a throw that I often try in Randori but very rarely am successful with.
When I was shown it last time it was with Tori gripping uke over his back and almost grabbing his belt. It was a good throw to do against someone who was bending over and being defensive or against someone who was maybe attempting a leg grab. Tonight we were shown how to do this throw with the normal collar and sleeve grip, first as a direct attack and then as a counter to Tai-otoshi. I was paired with Inez at this point and she proved to be an excellent Uke and really helped with my technique so that I was able to perform the throw and then follow straight in to Tate-shiho-gatame.
Unfortunately as this throw favours a taller person, when she attempted the over the back belt grip, she proceeded to pile drive my head straight in to the mat. For the sake of my head and much to my relief, she decided that maybe that version of the throw was not for her, at least not against someone over a foot taller than her anyway, and decided not to attempt it again.
We drilled this for quite some time which was refreshing as often we are shown 2-3 throws and never really feel like we practice them enough. However after 20 minutes of drilling the same throw, albeit with different grip variations, I felt like I could possibly pull this off in randori.
We moved on to some Newaza and kept with the same partners. Peter told us to flow from one technique to another and conscious that Inez always remarks that I use to much strength I tried to use little to none at all. This actually proved to be a really good roll with Inez as we both freely moved from one technique to another and by being loose and not using strength I felt I was able to react better to what she was trying to do and the whole roll probably looked very technical.
Next I was paired with Ryan and if my roll with Inez was gentle then this was completely the opposite. As mentioned before, Ryan is a BJJ blue belt and as such his ground game is pretty good. I spent most of my roll with Ryan trying to stop him passing my guard and was actually quite pleased that I managed to do so. I really enjoy the Newaza aspect of Judo and do wish they would give us longer to roll with each person before calling matte.
Peter then stood us up for some randori and Ryan and I continued our battle on our feet. Peter remarked that this was Randori and not shiai as we were both going for it a little too much. Of course there is no malice between Ryan and I, we are just quite evenly matched both in skill and physically and therefore we often reach a stalemate when we spar.
By the time we changed and I was paired up with Oli, Peter told us to go throw 4 throw. Oli was clearly working on his left handed throws and to be honest I was left completely flummoxed by them. The technique he had the most success with was a left handed Tai-otoshi. It’ll be interesting to see how he fairs when we go back to Westcroft in a couple of weeks time.
We then went on to some situational Newaza, where we took turns starting on our back or with Tori in our guard and then Peter went on to show us some nice broken variations of Yoko-shiho-gatame and kami-shiho-gatame.