Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Shaking off the Tatami rust

If you’ve been following my blog you’ll realise that I haven’t been 100% for a while.
I had a neck injury which required some physio, then I had an Ear infection followed by manflu which basically laid me low for the whole of December and resulted in me losing nearly a stone in weight. So after two sessions back at Dorking I was eager to jump in to the Thursday night randori session at Yoshin Ryu. I was accompanied by Ivan and Meho.
On arrival I found out that both Steve and Sean are now 1st kyu’s and Przemek was now a 1st dan.

After a good warm up I was paired with Meho for some grip fighting and then went on to practice Ippon-seoi-nage uchi-komi, which is ironic when you consider the master class we had on this throw just two days earlier. Even more ironic was that both Meho and I had our form corrected by the sensei.
We were then shown a specific kuzushi drill whereby we took turns lifting both arms and elbows up and out, turning our head to look over our left shoulder. Whilst doing this our left foot steps behind our right foot and ends up slightly advanced of it. After practicing the kuzushi we were then told to pick our own throw. Meho chose Uchi-mata and I chose harai-goshi. On my first couple of attempts I didn’t get low enough against Meho, which considering he is roughly the same height as me shouldn’t have been a problem. Then suddenly it clicked, I remembered the little hip bump that Stewart was so good at and then Meho was airborne. Sensei Neil asked a few of us to demonstrate our throws to the rest of the class. Luckily for me I saved my best throw for this demonstration. Meho’s Uchi-mata was also his best.

Newaza next so I continued against Meho. I caught him with a San-gaku-jime but he wouldn’t let me have his right arm so I grabbed his left leg and turned him on his side so that I could squeeze really tightly. He tapped quickly thereafter.
Sensei Neil was next up for me and despite being pinned and squeezed and made to feel generally uncomfortable I did manage to catch him in a belly down Juji-gatame. He rolled on to his back and I followed, but then he turned parallel to me and eventually ended up pinning me again. Still I was encouraged even though I was tired.
Sensei Tim was next, the highlight for me was the almost successful escape from Kezure-kesa-gatame. I used the escape I showed in my last post, which almost worked save for the fact that he used his head, literally, to stop himself rolling over. The rest of the roll was again a blur or pins and submissions and at one point I was very close to throwing up. What I did notice was just how easy it was for him to sweep me when I was in top position. It wasn’t like he was using some complicated sweep it was just a basic, grab my gi pants and roll me over. It can be quite humbling to be handled in this way but that’s a good thing. It gives you something to aim for and reminds you how much there is still to learn.

I was totally knackered at this point but on the next change of partners I noticed Ivan was free so I crawled over towards him. Seeing that he was equally as tired as I was encouraged me a little. I decided to pull guard and just work on my sweeps, which I eventually got but I spent an awful long time trying to secure a collar choke from the mount position so I decided to go for a tate-shiho-gatame instead and make Ivan work to get out, saving my energy and expending some more of his. Thankfully matte was called shortly after so a quick water break beckoned.

At the water machine I joked with Steve about whether he was going to throw me with Tomae-nage we did randori and low and behold he did. His set up was more subtle than usual so I didn’t really see it coming. Before the end I did manage a Tani-otoshi counter.

Next up was Sean and for quite a lot of the time he wasn’t allowing me my second grip. I had the lapel grip with my right hand but couldn’t get anything with my left, although he couldn’t either. I was weary that he could be setting me up for a Seoi-nage so I decided to try a left handed Morote-seoi-nage on him, something that I’ve never tried in randori before. I wasn’t successful but I think it had the desired effect of giving him something to think about. I then decided to go for a double lapel grip (as shown to me by Brian Jacks) and was then successful with a couple of throws off of it. I had a really good tussle with Sean and I think our Judo was good. We didn’t spend overly long fighting for grips, we both attacked and we both scored with throws.

The last randori of the night for me was against another one of the higher dan grades. Like I’ve said in the past, against the instructors there is no point stiff arming and being defensive, they’ll still throw you anyway and you won’t learn anything. You may as well get thrown trying to attack, which is what I did and I was ritually dumped on my ass a number of times for my efforts. Still, I bounced back to my feet each time and tried again, which is all you can do sometimes.

When Sensei Neil finally called matte he had us all finish off with 20 press ups, star jumps, sit ups and squat thrusts, which finished me off.
It was really nice to be back here training hard and hopefully I can start coming regularly again.


  1. Thanks for your fantastic blog. I relate your experience with mine. I did judo as a kid then just returned last year as 41 yrs old. I've been sidelined for the last 3 months from a bad fall with a rotator cuff and muscle tear but thinking to return judo this week.
    How long did it take you to recover from your shoulder injury? Cheers Keith.

  2. Hi Keith, thanks for your comments. I've had a couple of shoulder injuries in the past,which one are you referring to?

  3. Hi Stuart. I referred to the fall on your elbow with a full force on your right shoulder. I didn't realise you have more than one so with these injuries, do you recover well or end up with a weak shoulder? Thanks. Cheers. Keith.

  4. I’ve had a couple of falls on my shoulder that resulted in injury and also a couple of injuries whilst lifting weights. I do have a weakness there now and have to be careful not to overdo things especially with regards to doing things like shoulder presses. That said it hasn’t really affected my Judo other than making me realise that there’s no point trying to twist out of throws when doing randori at your club, it’s not worth the risk of taking a bad fall. I try to leave my ego at the door and take the fall.
    All the best, I hope your shoulder gets back to normal soon