Thursday, 13 September 2012

Tapping like Riverdance

Before I found Dorking Judo Club I researched all the Martial Arts clubs in the local area and although I was open to other styles I was primarily looking for Judo or BJ. As I am a fan of MMA I favoured a BJJ club as this is, along with Wrestling, the favoured style of grappling among MMA fighters. At that time there was a BJJ club in Guildford run by Andy Roberts who was then a Brown Belt (now a black belt) from the Roger Gracie academy. Unfortunately Andy Roberts’s club moved to Farnborough, which was too far for me to travel, so I then refocused my efforts on finding a Judo club. However it was while I was looking in to BJJ that I stumbled across a blog called “Tapping Like Riverdance” which was written by a guy called Jaden who had recently started training BJJ at the Andy Roberts academy. It was Jaden’s blog that inspired me to start my own when I first started training Judo. Why am I telling you all this, well when I walked in to the Dojo on Tuesday evening for the first class of the term I noticed a guy sitting down watching the juniors who was wearing a BJJ gi. On closer inspection I realised that this guy was in fact Jaden, who had decided to give Judo a try for a while since BJJ was becoming a little expensive.

Other than Jaden there were no new faces and in fact we were missing Oli and Ynez from the usual line up. I have, however, been informed that we are expecting 2-3 new people when this beginners program starts in a couple of weeks.

After a quick warm Stewart showed us an O-uchi-gari, Ko-uchi-gari into to Harai-goshi combination. I partnered up with Big Stuart and at first I wasn’t getting that “flipping” motion that one normally gets when executing a Harai. Big Stuart told me to pull his head in closer to mine, sort of like an old fashioned headlock, assuming you have a high grip, and turn my head further around so I get a bigger twisting motion. Stuart also remarked to everyone in the class that we really need to commit to this throw and used Gemma Gibbons recent win over Audrey Tcheumeo in the Olympic Semi final match as an example. Gemma won via Ippon with a Harai against the French girl but she only threw her because she persisted with the throw and was fully committed. Something I’m guilty of, and a lot of other kyu grades, is giving up on a throw if it’s not successful straight away. I’ve noticed that when I am watching the Randori at Yoshin Ryu the dan grades will attempt a throw and even if it doesn’t work straight away they will continue twisting and turning in to it until eventually their opponent flips over. This is certainly something to think about and try and address.

After some grip work where we practised changing from left handed to right handed grips we did a bit of situational Newaza. In pairs one of us lies on our side and the other kneels with their back to them. We then take turns attacking and defending from either of the two positions.

We finished off with what was supposed to be light randori but it got less light the longer it went on. I was first paired with Stewart, where the highlight for me was a tai-otoshi in to tani-otoshi combination.

Next up was Jaden and I found him a pretty tricky customer. As he is a lot smaller and lighter than me he relied on his speed and movement. I managed to throw him a couple of times one of which was a nice o-uchi-gari but each time I threw him he almost countered me. I’m pretty sure that had I been his size he would have succeeded. Towards the end Jaden moved to my side and grabbed me around the waist. I felt vulnerable but thought I could throw my way out of it so I tried for another O-uchi-gari but this time Jaden’s counter did work and it was a big Ura-nage. To be honest I actually enjoyed being thrown with this as it was a nice clean throw. Ynez has said in the past that she didn’t mind being thrown if the throw was good one. At the time I thought she was slightly mad but now I understood what she meant.

I squared up against Big Stuart afterwards but on reflection I was too defensive. When I was a yellow or red belt I knew I had no chance of throwing Stuart so I threw caution to the wind and just attacked. Now, as a green belt, I feel I should be giving him some problems and as such I think I’m too worried about being thrown myself. This is something I need to work on.

It was nice meeting Jaden and I hope he returns to the club. Although he no longer updates his blog I would still recommend reading it. His blog can be found here.

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