Despite being virtually bedridden for 3 days with Migraine and only having 1 full day to recover I still managed to take part in my first proper Judo tournament on Sunday the 19th February, which was held quite local to me in Redhill, Surrey.
Although my stomach was doing cartwheels in the morning I knew I had to eat a hearty breakfast as my weigh in was not until 12.30pm, which meant I wouldn’t be fighting until sometime after. So I forced down a big bowl of porridge with sliced Banana and dried apricots and followed that up with a couple of slices of toast and jam.
A friend of mine, Nev and his girlfriend Lisa very kindly came to support me and Nev also agreed to film my fights on the video camera my wife had bought me for Christmas.
We arrived in good time and stood watching the children’s tournament which preceded the seniors. As Dorking JC had some juniors entered two of my coaches were present so I quickly made myself known to them. Also present was Pete Swettenham from Witley Yamabishi as he had both Juniors and seniors competing.
As is normal at contests I looked around the hall for potential opponents. Luckily enough all the big scary looking guys were coaches so that at least eased my nerves.
As mentioned in previous posts I am lifting weights at the moment in an attempt to bulk up a little so I had no intention of trying to make the under 90kg category. The last time I weighed myself, at the gym where I work, was Tuesday where I was almost 93kg but when I stepped on the scales here I weighed in at 90.25KG, which meant I had lost over 2.5kg since then. Soon after I weighed in, Graeme told me that there were not many seniors present and that they were going to merge the under 100kg and under 90kg weight categories but that still left only four people in my division. A little disappointing but it still meant 3 fights each and an almost guarantee of a medal.
My first fight was against a rather stocky looking guy whose coach was wearing a Royal Navy Judo club hoodie. We entered the matted area and bowed off and the referee coach hajime. He charged into me, with his head down and immediately took his grip. I struggled a bit to grip him back as he was wearing a rather thick double weave gi. Eventually I managed to take a high collar grip and then began a series of him pushing me and me pushing him with not a lot of Judo taking place. The referee stopped us a couple of time due to inactivity and we both attempted various foot sweeps on each other but none of us were prepared to over commit with anything. I was looking for an O-uchi-gari but he was bent over a lot at the waist which made it difficult to get close enough. At one point I thought I had him with an Uchi-mata but he managed to hop to safety and then proceeded to attempt an illegal leg grab. The ref restarted us again and as he was constantly pushing me I tried a Sumi-gaeshi. I had him lifted in the air but didn’t manage to flip him over and instead he ended up in my guard where he stayed until the ref called matte. Then with only seconds left in our 5 minute match he threw me with an Osoto-gari and got an Ippon. I was disappointed to lose my first match especially as this meant it was now very unlikely that I would win gold.
My second fight was against a guy who was a 2nd kyu Blue belt as a junior and had only recently returned to Judo as a senior. He was wearing a white belt but I knew from experience that he was likely to be better than his belt suggested he was. This was to be a rather quick fight as I was able to take my grips (high collar again) and control him for an Uchi-mata Ippon only 1 minute in to the fight.
My last fight was against someone who I later found out was only 15 years old. He certainly didn’t look it as he was pretty stocky and quite strong. I nearly had him a couple of times as I countered some of his attempts at throwing me and eventually I managed an Osoto-gari, which didn’t score so I followed him to the ground with Kesa-gatame and held him for the full 25 seconds getting my second Ippon win and earning myself a silver medal in the process.
Looking back at the video footage, which will follow when I have worked out how to rotate the image 90 degrees, the Judo on display is a far cry from the YouTube clips you see of Olympic level Judoka. But that’s ok; I’m not expecting to look like Neil Adams just yet, I was just glad to get my first proper contest out of the way. I notice that High Wycombe’s Newaza contest is in May this year, so hopefully I can try to go one better than the two bronze medal’s I’ve got on my recent visits.
Back to normal training this week and hopefully the completion of my green belt grading.