I was very excited on Monday to have received a package at work as I knew that this package contained my new gi which I had ordered form Toraki. I’ve read lots of reviews online regarding this company and all have praised their excellent customer service, which so far I have to agree with. As the gi does need to be shrunk to fit I can’t yet comment on it. In fact Toraki were quite explicit with their washing instructions (6-8 washes at 60c, hang dry before wearing). Out of the bag the gi is a little too long in the sleeves and body but have been assured that it will fit nicely after washing. I will write a full review on the gi in the next week or so.
With Chris and Andrew absent from class it was a perfect opportunity to work on a few advanced techniques, namely some from the blue belt syllabus.
First up was Yoko-guruma which we first practised on its own and then as a counter to Tai-otoshi, which coincidentally is how it’s shown on the BJA website. It’s an interesting throw this one, which would be pretty cool to pull off in randori or Shiai but not sure I’d be quick enough to get it.
The next throw, Koshi-guruma, was completely new to me but didn’t look too difficult to do as it essentially looks like an O-goshi with a different grip and a slightly deeper placement of Tori’s hip. Now hip throws, due to my height, are not my favourite type of throws however I was paired with Meho, who is a similar height to me, so it shouldn’t have been such an issue, but it was. I could probably perform this throw well enough in a grading environment but I would be unlikely to attempt it in randori.
We did a couple of quick rounds of randori next and I was paired up with Ivan. He started very stiff armed and bent over, which made it difficult for me to get to his legs but I eventually pulled him in close and when he backed off I caught him with a nice O-uchi-gari. He then tried, and was almost successful with, a couple of big throws on me, one of which was a drop-seoi-nage. Despite Ivan’s stiff arming, in my opinion, his randori seems pretty good for his rank and I liked the fact that he wasn’t scared to attack me.
Against Big Stuart I tried a couple of combinations, both of which were from a Tai-otoshi. The first was Tai-otoshi in to Tani-otoshi and the second was Tai-otoshi in to Ko-uchi-gake-mata-maki-komi. I wasn’t successful with either as I don’t think I ever really fully committed to either throw. Before tonight’s lesson I was reading a post on the Judoforum where a fellow green belt Judoka had stated that he was making a conscious effort to really commit to each throw, and if he fell over trying them or was countered then so be it. I think I need to keep this in mind next time I do randori as it shouldn’t matter if Stuart or anyone else throws me when attempting a throw as this is, after all, just practise.
Before we went on to Newaza randori we were shown two strangles.
And also another strangle which I can’t seem to find on the BJA website. It was a mixture of the above strangles with one hand up and one hand down. Both Ivan and I agreed that Nami-juji-jime was the most effective for us.
We then had just enough time for one round of Newaza randori and I paired up with Meho, our new Blue belt from Bosnia, for our first roll.
Meho tried to pull guard but I controlled his legs and jumped in to side control where he then rolled over on to his stomach. I jumped on his back, got my hooks in and rolled him on to his side where I attempted a collar choke. He then turtled up so I attempted the Neil Adams Juji-gatame roll but he held the sleeves of his jacket to prevent me from getting his arm out. After struggling with this for quite a while I decided it would be better to let it go so I rolled on to my back and pulled him in to my guard. I immediately saw an opportunity as he tried to pass my guard and slapped on a San-gaku-jime. I got it on pretty tight but he wasn’t tapping so I hooked his leg with my right arm to create more of an angle and tried again but he still wouldn’t tap. After what must have been thirty seconds I swung my leg over his head for a Juji-gatame but I couldn’t quite get the leverage so I went back again for the san-gaku-jime. This time he postured up and stacked me in to the matt, putting a lot of pressure on my neck and forcing me to let go. We then somehow ended up back in my guard where I again attacked with a Hiza-gatame but matte was called before I could finish him. It was a good tussle with Meho and I look forward to partnering up with him again next week as we are similar in size and grade.