Thursday, 27 June 2013

Brian Jacks at Yoshin Ryu

The fact that I am still blogging should tell you that baby is still yet to make an appearance, 8 days overdue now. In hindsight it means I could have attended the Brian Jacks seminar at Yoshin Ryu but hey I wasn't to know that. Anyway the below was posted on the BJA Facebook page a couple of days ago so thought i'd share it.

Click on this to find all the photos taken on the day.

In other news I bought this the other day from here
I'd been looking for some Judo clothing for a while now but most of them say things like "I love Judo" or "Judo Rocks" which is not particularly cool especially when you consider the wide array of cool BJJ and MMA related clothing on the market. Anyway I thought this t-shirt was a simple and nice design and have recommended it to other people at my club.

My last bit of news before I sign off for a couple of weeks is that my next post will be a full review of Black Eagle's new Shiai double weave Judogi.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Ippon Seoi Nage

With the baby due today this may be my last post for a little while. Even though the ringtone on my mobile is turned up loud I keep checking it to make sure I haven’t missed a call from my wife. When I’m home it’s even worse as every time I hear her wake up at night I assume she’s going in to labour so I’ve been kind of sleeping with one eye open for the last week or so. Still I’m not complaining as we men get off a hell of a lot lighter than our respective female partners.

Anyway I made it to Judo last night, albeit with my phone positioned at the side of the mats. On Monday I was informed that Brian Jacks was taking a class at Yoshin Ryu but with the club being almost an hour’s drive away and no real place to park my phone I decided against it. Missing out on training with one of your childhood idols sucks but something’s are more important.

So back to last night and following our warm up we went straight in to newaza randori. I managed to not be subbed by Jadon, which I was pleased with and even got him in my guard at one point. Although I was largely fighting him off and being defensive I was still pleased with this roll. After all if you can make it difficult for the other person to submit you you’re half way there.

We went on to practise Yoko-shiho-gatame and some of the escape from it. The below video providing some good examples although I don’t like the second to last one where you roll over on to your stomach and give up your back. I know from a Judo Shiai perspective this is fine but it’s not something I would chose to do.

The throw we focussed on was Ippon Seoi nage, another throw that’s never really suited me. We started off practising the entry in to the throw and progressed on to uchi-komi before finally getting the crash mats out and having a go at throwing everyone in the club. As I’ve stated before, I really like this way of training as throwing lots of different sized people continuously is better than sticking with the same partner who may be someone who is very light which could therefore hide any imperfections with your technique. Duncan pointed out that I was not leaving enough space between myself and uke, which is something I keep doing. I am making a conscious effort to leave a bit of space now, but I guess practice makes perfect.

The class finished up with plenty of randori. Rather frustratingly my attempts at Tai-otoshi were pretty poor despite last week’s class on nothing but this throw. Assuming I’m not able to train at the club for the next couple of weeks I’m going to practice my foot positioning for both Tai-otoshi and the seoi nage’s so that when I return I won’t be too rusty.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Tai Otoshi

Tai-otoshi (body drop) is a throw that is on the yellow belt syllabus. Does this mean it’s a throw that is only used by low kyu grades? Well from my own experience it’s a throw that I learnt for my yellow belt but rarely got any success out of when doing randori. I think the reason for this is that there is a lot more to this throw than meets the eye. This is possibly the reason why the BJA put this throw in so early in their syllabus as it takes years to learn properly so you might as well start learning it from the beginning of your Judo journey.

If there’s one person who is synonymous with Tai-otoshi then its Neil Adams. Tai-otoshi was his favourite throw and he used it throughout his career to great effect so I had to include an instructional video of the master himself. Last night at DJC we had Graeme playing the part of Neil Adams.

Graeme showed us many different entries and versions of Tai-otoshi but I ended up favouring the Brian Jacks version which involves tori stepping across with his left foot and planting it wide to ukes left leg before spinning and planting your right foot across ukes right foot. I’d love to be able to post a video to aid my description but unfortunately I cannot find a single example of Brian Jacks doing Tai-otoshi anywhere. The reason I favoured his version was that I was able to generate more power and more whip to the throw, if that makes sense.

Following last week’s lesson where we got lots of practice with our throws, last night’s lesson was very similar. Before we progressed on to randori we got the crash mats out and practiced throwing everyone else in the club. We each got two goes at this.

We finished up with 3 rounds of newaza and then tachiwaza randori. The highlights for me were a successful reversal from the turtle in to a Yoko-shiho-gatame, a couple of Juji-gatame’s and a san-gaku-jime. Standing up I had a really nice tussle with David, where we both managed successful throws without the need for stiff arming or using too much strength. With David being a lot lighter, younger and quicker than I am, doing randori against him forces me to improve my footwork to keep up with him. It’s challenging but something I enjoy and probably need

Friday, 7 June 2013


There was no Graeme on Tuesday so, with Peter present but nursing a sore back, Duncan took the class.

As a warm up we were told to do some very light Newaza so I paired up with Jadon. However Duncan had to keep telling us both that we needed to go lighter and use no strength whatsoever as this was just a warm up. Now for me this posed a problem as Jadon is clearly a lot better than me at Newaza. Not using my size and strength advantage meant that he could do basically whatever he wanted and he made me look like a complete beginner as he dazzled with some funky guard passes and transitions in to dominant positions and then to rub salt in the wounds he even caught me in my favourite submission, San-gaku-jime, right at the end.

Continuing with our warm up, Duncan had us do Uchi-komi practising our entry in to a number of throwing possibilities.

It was similar to the one below

From this position a number of throws present themselves and Duncan had us practice first O-uchi-gari and then Morote-seoi-nage. Duncan’s way of doing O-uchi-gari was different to the version I have been shown in the past and indeed the one I often use to great success in randori. Duncan takes a wider reap of uke’s leg and sweeps it wide to his right, similar to the version you can see below.

The way I normally do it is more like a gake, which is a sort of hooking movement which when coupled with the hand movement forces uke to the floor. With Duncan’s version you can quite often make Uke fall down without even using your arms. Personally I liked Duncan’s version a lot and will practice it from now on.

Seoi-nage throws are not for me, seeing as I am 6ft 3 and have stiff knees. I think the only time I practice them is for gradings and then I quickly push them to one side and continue with throws that do suit me. That said, however, by the end of this session I was very comfortable with Morote-seoi-nage. We used this in combination with the O-uchi-gari, so Uke steps back and pushes forwards and then tori simply turns in and pulls uke on top and then over the top of them. With both Oli and Andrew not present there wasn’t anyone even remotely near my height but through perseverance I think I got quite good at it. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I have a habit of getting a little too close to uke, which has the effect of putting them back on balance, after the effort of putting them off balance. But once I got my distancing right my uke was soon flying over the top of me.

Duncan then added Ko -uchi-gari to this combination, so that tori firsts goes for the o-uchi-gari, tori steps back out of the way and pushes forward. Tori then turns in for Morote-seoi-nage but uke braces himself and leans backwards. Tori then slides his right leg behind uke’s for Ko-uchi-gari, following uke to the mat.

We got to practice this a number of times before we went on to do some randori with the caveat that we could only use the three throws we had just been shown. We were also told not to resist the throw as we wanted to get lots of throwing practice in.

To finish up we all took turns walking backwards up the mat with an uke whom we had to throw with Morote-seoi-nage. We probably did three of four rounds of this, throwing everyone else in the club before joining the lien and being thrown yourself. I think this is an excellent exercise as not only do you get to practise the throw on lots of different sized people you also have to perform the throw under pressure as the rest of the club are watching.

I had to thank Duncan after the class as I felt I really got a lot out of it. If I was able to train like this 3-4 times a week my Judo would improve immeasurably. But alas this is not likely to happen.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Hard Training - Yoshin Ryu

With DJC closed due to the half term I was determined to train at least once last week with Yoshin Ryu my preferred destination. Both Oli and Jadon were also looking for somewhere to train on Thursday so we all made the trip up to Coulsdon. I would have also liked to have trained elsewhere but with my wife in “nesting mode,” due to the impending arrival of our wee bairn, I have been kept busy painting and decorating nearly every room downstairs, although one of those rooms is to be our home cinema/TV room, so not all bad.

I have been hyping up Yoshin Ryu to Jadon for a while now, talking about how there are sometimes 30+ guys on the mat with at least half of those dan grades. Unfortunately there were only 10 people on the mat last week but if I thought that meant we were in for an easier session I was to be hugely mistaken.

Before we did any randori we did plenty of grip fighting, uchi-komi & throw for throw, all the time interspersed with sets of sit ups, press ups and squat thrusts. I must admit, doing Squat Thrusts at a club where Brian Jacks is the president always gives me an incentive to do them correctly and as fast as I can. It’s just a shame that they don’t have any parallel bars for some dips.

It wasn’t long before we were told to kneel up and rei for some Newaza randori and first up for me was a small orange belt. This was a nice warm up roll for me as I was able to move from Kesa to Mune to tate-shiho and get the odd submission. I mostly worked on my top game but did pull guard a couple of times to work on my sweeps and also get what was to be my only successful submission by san-gaku-jime.

My next couple of rolls were against the sensei’s where I got to practice being crushed, feeling helpless and tapping. One of the problems that Neil pointed out to me was that when I pulled guard against him I didn’t bring him in close enough to me, which then allowed him time and space to control my legs and pass my guard. I’m also, apparently, telegraphing my san-gaku-jime which allows them time to posture and move.

One thing I have noticed in general about my Newaza is that I tend to hunt for submissions, maybe a little too quickly. I probably need to work a little on “position before submission” as when my sub attempts are stuffed it often results in me being pinned.

Following a quick water break it was tachi-waza randori and first up for me was the orange belt that I had already done newaza with. I was quite surprised at how difficult I found throwing this guy and in fact he got the first throw on me, countering my uchi-mata with a ko-uchi-gari which left me on my arse. I upped the tempo a bit afterwards to try and force him in to a mistake and eventually managed an O-uchi-gari and then right at the end I faked a Tai-otoshi and got him with a Tani-otoshi.

With only a few of us present tonight we didn’t get the chance to sit out and watch others so I went straight in to my next two rounds without a break and both of these were against black belts. I did get close to throwing one of the sensei with an O-uchi-gari but I mainly got to work on my breakfalls.

Eventually matte was called and everyone looked extremely tired. However Sensei Neil decided we still had more to give so he made us pair up and take turns doing 10 second sprints on the spot followed by 10 uchi-komi Ippon-seoi-nage’s, both sides. We both had to do this twice before we finally kneeled up for the end of the class.