Thursday, 28 June 2012


Another small turnout this evening as both Ivan, Oli & Peter were not present. However, returning after breaking her elbow was Ynez.

Stewart took the class tonight with Big Stuart only assisting due to his ongoing back injury. First up was Ura-nage, which we practiced using the crash mats. We also did the knee assisted version which is called Hiza-Mae-Ura-nage.

We then progressed to Uki-otoshi, a completely new throw to me. We practiced this by taking two steps backwards and on the third step Tori puts his knee on the ground and performs a large wheel motion with his hands. I commented that this technique looked more like an Aikido move than a Judo throw but it did seem to work and I certainly didn’t flip myself in the air like Aikidoka appear to do. Ynez and I paired up and practiced this in a throw for throw randori setting with plenty of movement. She said that you could use this throw in Randori/shiai if your opponent over reaches to get a grip on your collar. I must admit it would be a pretty cool way to win a contest.

On to Newaza and we focused on sweeps, mainly using double butterfly guard. We both started on our knees, in the position one would start in a Newaza contest. You take a double grip on Uke’s right sleeve and pull his arm across his body and immediately close the gap and take a double grip on his belt around his back, trapping both of his arms. Then you roll backwards, making sure to hook both of your feet under Uke’s legs and then basically you can roll them anyway you want.

We then went on to work a couple of variations of this move.

The last throw we practiced was Kata-Hiza-Te-Ouchi-Gake-Ashi-Dori, which Stewart said sounded more like a train station in Wales than a Judo throw. However it is in the Brown belt syllabus, as is the other two throws we practiced this evening. The throw is basically a hand assisted O-uchi-gake.

The class finished up with me doing some Randori against Ynez and Stewart and I had some success with Uchi-mata, including a left handed one, and towards the end I managed a Tani-otoshi on Stewart.

It was good to see Ynez back on the mat tonight and I hope she is able to attend more often.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Sacrifice Throws

Dorking Judo club is currently plagued with injuries. Oli damaged his knee in competition and had to have it drained today. Big Stuart hurt his back, also in competition and had to leave the class very early on and of course then there’s me who may or may not have broken the same toe that I did break last year. I say may have as the swelling has gone down a lot now so it’s possible that I just badly bruised it. That said, a broken toe sounds a lot better (when telling people why you are limping) than a badly bruised toe so I’ll stick with broken for now.

Stewart took the class tonight and told us we would be practicing sacrifice throws.

Tani-otoshi was the first throw we practiced which is a throw that I’ve used quite a bit in the past as I think it suits someone with long legs like I have. We used it first as a counter to Ko-soto-gari and then as a counter to a poor Tai-otoshi.
Next up was Yoko-guruma as a counter to Tai-otoshi. Tori steps around the Tai-otoshi and through Uki’s legs, rotating and launching uke over Tori’s left shoulder.

Finally we did Uki-waza, which is sort of a forward version of Tani-otoshi. All three of these throws are part of the blue belt syllabus so it was great to tick a few more off the list. As I said earlier I have had some success with Tani-otoshi before but I have never been shown the other two. Of the other two throws Yoko-guruma seemed like it would work best for me as stepping off of someone attempting a Tai-otoshi does happen quite frequently in randori.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Toe no, not again - Yoshin Ryu

First thing I noticed when I lined up tonight was that Steve was wearing a new Brown belt, so I quickly congratulated him on his promotion before we bowed.

After the warm up we paired up for some grip fighting, which is something we rarely do at Dorking but definitely something I need to work on especially against the higher grades. We progressed on to some Uchi-komi which finally evolved in to throw for throw Randori, using combinations. Following on from Tuesday’s lesson at Dorking I practiced Uchi-mata into O-uchi-gari and O-uchi-gari in to Tai-otoshi, both of which worked pretty well.

After several minutes of Randori, Sensei had us practice arm rolls from the turtle position and then we practiced Juji-gatame off of our backs. Every 10 minutes or so Sensei would tell us to lock feet with our partner and do 20 sit ups or get one of us to turtle up whilst the other did 20 jumps over his back. This is quite normal for a Thursday where the pace rarely slows down for the whole hour and a half lesson.

Newaza was next and I had a couple of good tussles, one of which was against Steve who I managed to catch with a San-gaku-jime and another against a black belt who attacked me for the whole five minutes and I was quite pleased that I managed to defend myself and not get subbed. However I did face off against the biggest guy at the club, a brown belt, who is 120kg + and the majority of his weight is made up of muscle. Sometimes when I am in a bad spot I muscle my way out of things but that didn’t work against this guy as he was easily stronger than me. He managed to sub me whilst in my guard with techniques that he shouldn’t have been able to get but he put them on with such force and speed that I had to tap or fear losing a limb. I did at least make him work hard for his subs on me so I will go away and work on a few things and then seek out him out next time to gauge my process.

A roll against one of the white belts meant I was able to get a few subs in myself, one of which was of course another San-gaku-jime. Overall it wasn’t a bad session of Newaza and I was quite pleased that I managed to avoid being cross collar choked, something that I often get caught with.

I sought out Steve for my first Randori of the night but we were both very tired at this point. He almost caught me with a Tomae-nage and to be honest I should have taken the fall rather than spinning out of it by putting my hand down as this often leads to injury.

Next up was one of the senior Sensei’s who apparently hadn’t trained for a while. Not surprisingly he dominated me with his grips which meant my attacks were easily blocked. He told me that my high collar grip gave him space to get in under me but this confused me as, due to my height, I’ve been told in the past to hold higher on the collar. Right towards the end of our Randori I attempted a foot sweep but stubbed my toes against his ankle. Ouch, it was the toe that I had previously broken and it hurt like bugger. I was given an ice pack to put on them and I sat out the next two rounds of Randori but I fancied one last fight before the class ended so when the Sensei said this was the last round I jumped (ok, I climbed) up and took my place opposite a rather stocky black belt. He threw me around with ease, sometimes throwing me with the kuzushi alone, probably due to the fact that I didn't want to put too much weight on my bad toe. I was glad when the class ended as it was really starting to hurt by now.

24 hours later and the Toe looks broken which is a real bugger as it took over 6 months to heal properly last time. I’ll ice it as much as I can and tape it up for the foreseeable future. Hopefully I can avoid making it any worse in the meantime.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012


The club was closed last week due to the half term holidays so most of us had had a rest. I say most of us as both Oli and Big Stuart are competing a lot at the moment attempting to gain enough points to get their black belts. Big Stuart managed another 10 points but injured his back in the process so was absent tonight. Oli didn’t manage any additional points as all his fights (4 in total) ended in draws. Oli did say that he had some success with the double lapel grip that Brian Jacks had shown us a few weeks previously and it’s a grip that Oli will continue to practice and use.

Back to tonight’s class and we started doing the leg movement for Uchi-mata and practiced this by holding on to your partners shoulder and swinging your leg backwards. This then progressed in to turning in fully for the throw but instead of reaping the leg we went past the rear leg and reaped the air. Once we had both drilled this for several minutes we got the crash mats out and completed the throw a number of times on both sides.

We then progressed to throw for throw randori, using just Uchi-mata and finally we were told to add O-uchi-gari as either the first or second attack. It was nice to get lots of lots of repetitions of these throws in and by doing them in a randori situation is was a lot more realistic than doing the throws statically. Oli and I both practiced right and left sided throws, which we very rarely do, but is encouraged a lot when we have trained at Yoshin Ryu and was further encouraged by Brian Jacks recently. I was actually quite pleased with some of my left sided Uchi-mata’s and I will make a conscious effort to practice both sides going forward.

We then practiced some turnovers and I asked specifically to practice this one as it is in the blue belt syllabus and it’s a technique I have never tried before but have wanted to for a while now. It was relatively easy to perform and get the tap so it’s definitely one I’ll be trying in Newaza.

Stewart then showed us some nice set ups for Waki-gatame. One attacking the turtle and another one attacking from the turtle. I believe these were techniques that were shown to him by Steve Gawthorpe, who is apparently a Newaza specialist, it's very difficult to explain them in words but the one attacking from the turtle was similar to this.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Brian Jacks - Yoshin Ryu

I received a text message from Big Stuart which I had to read twice. It said that Brian Jacks would be taking a class at Yoshin Ryu on the 28th May and myself and Oli would both be welcome. The price for this lesson was the normal £5 matt fee. I had to pinch myself as Brian Jacks has been somewhat of an idol of mine for many years but this wasn’t entirely due to his prowess on the tatami.

Brian Jacks was the first Britain to win a medal in the world Championships; taking a bronze in Salt Lake City in 1967 he then went on to gain a second bronze in the 1972 Munich Olympics. As I wasn’t born until 1972 you might wonder why I hold him in such high esteem. Well it wasn’t until he started competing in the BBC TV show Superstars that he achieved real fame, winning it 4 times. I remember as a young kid cheering him on as he went on to win nearly every event that he entered. He was especially remembered for that famous gym test dual with another hero of mine Daley Thompson, the 2 x Olympic gold medal winner in the decathlon and probably Britain’s greatest ever Athlete. Jacks still holds the world record for the number of Dips and Squat thrusts he was able to do in a minute, 100 dips and 118 squat thrusts.

When I arrived at the club there was a real buzz around and also an awful lot of Judoka present, many of whom I had never seen. The senior Coach, Sensei Errol was also in attendance who himself is a 6th Dan. He approached Oli, Big Stuart and myself and introduced himself.

When Sensei Jacks appeared we were told to line up. The line of Dan grades stretched the entire length of the dojo and the kyu grades matched it on the opposite side. Despite being a 3rd kyu I was the second lowest grade on the mat and therefore I was virtually opposite Sensei Jacks when we bowed.

He warmed us up with some Uchi-komi and then had us practice all the techniques holding lapels only with one arm over uke’s and the other arm under. We then practiced with both hands either over or under. The purpose being that we could attack with left or right sided throws without having to change grips and without our opponent knowing which side we were going to attack. The throws we focused on were Hiza-guruma, tai-otoshi & Uchi-mata.

We then did a drill whereby we did the Okuri-ashi-barai dance and after the third step we both had to sweep, the purpose being to avoid the sweep and then sweep your opponents foot as it missed your own. Occasionally both partners fell to the ground as they had swept each other.

In between practicing the techniques he was open to questions and showed many of the dan grades other ways of doing certain techniques for example Tomoe-nage and Yoko-Tomoe-nage. He then had the person who asked the question come out and perform the throw to show that they had understood what he had said. At this point I was glad that I hadn’t asked any questions myself.

Throughout the lesson Sensei Jacks called upon the Johnson twins (both highly regarded young black belts who compete nationally) to either be his uke or perform throws on each other so that we could watch how things are done. At one point he asked them to do some throw for throw randori using the double lapel grip that we had been practicing with and I must say I was extremely impressed with their speed, power, movement and technique, none of which I could ever hope to obtain myself. Now I have randori’d with both of them and it is like trying to control an empty jacket caught in a tornado but seeing them against each other made me realise what high level Judo is all about.

We finished up with some Ne-waza which was done in a loser stays on format. I won my fight fairly quickly against a brown belt who I submitted with my old trusty favourite san-gaku-jime. Unfortunately this meant that I didn’t get to fight again as the losers then had to keep fighting until there were only a handful of them left on the mat. Still with the hot temperatures we have been experiencing recently it was nice to sit down and watch and catch my breath.

After the class we sat down around Sensei Jacks and he just talked and we asked him questions on anything we wanted to. I was racking my brain for something to ask him, especially regarding Superstars but my mind was blank. I wish I had been more prepared.

Before we left we had a group photo and then we had an opportunity to have photos taken with both Sensei Jacks and Sensei Errol. I hope to obtain these photos soon so I can post them on here but they were taken by a photographer and not by my own camera.