Friday, 6 July 2012

Pulling Guard – Yoshin Ryu

I missed Tuesday’s class at DJC due to a dodgy stomach so was looking forward to training tonight. I’ve never had so many upset stomachs and colds etc as I have since my daughter started nursery in February. It’s odd because I’ve always had a cast iron stomach and was normally the one who wasn’t affected by that dodgy curry that gave everyone else the “two bob bits”

The warm up consisted of some light movements and stretching before we had to perform shuttle runs with sets of 10 pressups, sit ups and squat thrusts. This was repeated 5 times. Then, with a partner turtled up, we did static jumps over them and back, taking care not to land on them before swapping with our partners who then performed their 10 repetitions. Following this we did some Newaza specific exercises. With our partners in our guard we performed 20 reps of reaching up and over our partners shoulder and grabbing their belt (right hand over partner’s right shoulder). Effectively this was just like performing 40 sit ups but doing it this way you can easily see how it relates to Judo.

Sensei then showed us a couple of sweeps from the guard, one of which was done by reaching up and over Uke’s right shoulder with your right arm and grabbing their belt. Then you pull Uke in close to you and lean back, stretching Uke out as you do it and clamping their right arm to your side with your left arm. Then when they are stretched out you can simply roll to your left side in to Tate-shiho-gatame

Newaza followed and I stayed with my current partner who was a blue belt returning to Judo after quite a long layoff. I pulled guard and tried to work some sweeps but he was hard to move. He then attempted to pass my guard and as just as he got to half guard I managed to creep out and get his back. I spent a long time getting it but finally managed to submit him with a collar choke.

Next up was the big fella, whose name escapes me. I think he’s Polish but I may be wrong. Anyway he’s 120kg of muscle and a brown belt. Again I pulled guard and the first two rolls ended when we both stuck against the wall. He commented that I like to fight from my back, which I do but that’s mainly because otherwise you can end up knee wrestling for position which means you end up not doing Newaza. Anyway against someone of his size I am never going to win a “knee wrestle” and would likely end up with him on top of me in mune-gatame or something similar. As it went, pulling guard didn’t help much either as, apart from getting his back once where he turtled and I failed to move him, he generally dominated me and probably pinned me around 4 or 5 times.

I then rolled with a black belt who subbed me a couple of times with cross collar chokes, again from within my guard. I read about this on the Judoforum and the consensus is that you should never be cross collar choked by someone from within your guard as you should be able Juji-gatame them but I’ve yet to pull this off.

I had one last roll with a brown belt who was clearly more tired than I was. Again I went to my back and looked for san-gaku-jime, which I nearly had but he managed to roll out so I switched to an ashi-garami, thats Omoplata to my BJJ friends, and managed to secure the submission from there.

Matte was called shortly after and we went for a quick water break. At the time I wasn’t happy with my Newaza but on reflection and reading it back now it doesn’t seem so bad. I do, however, need to work on my top game. I can’t keep pulling guard, especially against the bigger guys who can lay on you and sap your strength as you struggle to move.

Following the quick water break I noticed that the crash mat had been put in the middle of the room. We were told to pair up and take turns in throwing our partner with Ura-nage, which is a throw I practised recently at DJC. The sensei commented that I needed to get a bit lower and user my legs and hips more, which would enable to get my opponent higher in the air. One person who seemed to have perfected this throw was the big Polish guy who was paired with Sensei Tim. Now Sensei Tim is by no means small but the Polish lifted him at least a foot above his head before dumping Tim on to the crash mat. This was greeted by oh’s and ah’s from the rest of us, most likely out of relief for not being paired with him.

We next practised Kata-guruma, which is a blue belt throw but one I’ve never done before. It actually seemed relatively simple to do but you definitely need the crash mat for this unless Tori is particularly skilled enough to drop you slowly. I’m not sure it’s a throw I’ll be adding to my repertoire of Randori techniques anytime soon but I think I can perform this in a grading environment.

We went straight in to Randori after this and I sought out Steve as we usually have quite a good tussle. I would say that Steve is just that little bit better than me in Randori which is why I like to go against him as I have a chance of actually throwing him as opposed to going against the dan grades where I feel I have no chance. I did manage to throw Steve with a Tani-otoshi and he threw me also so we were about even today. Of course he tried the obligatory tomoe-nage, which he always does against me, but I managed to step out of it. I then, following last week’s lesson, tried an Uki-otoshi on him but I was nowhere near to getting it.

My last randori was with an older black belt who I did manage to throw with O-uchi-gari. In return he caught me a couple of times with Ko-uchi-gari

Next week is the final class at DJC before it closes for the summer so I will be calling Yoshin Ryu home for the next 6-8 weeks. I’m also thinking about returning to BJJ for a couple of sessions as I haven’t been there since they moved in to their new permanent venue, plus it would be nice to catch up with some of them there, especially Ryan.


  1. Realy good blog. I enjoy reading it.
    The big Polish brown belt Przemek.
    See you Thursday evening

  2. Hi Przemek, thanks for the feedback, glad you're enjoying reading it.
    I'll be back at Yoshin Ryu next Thursday

  3. Come down to Nova Forca. We got a judo session on the timetable as well now.

  4. I do plan on visiting Nova Forca again some time for some BJJ, I really enjoyed training there and if I had more time on my hands I would definitely train both.