Thursday, 28 November 2013

Injured again!

Yes I must be cursed as I am injured again but hopefully not for too long, anyway more about that later.

Graeme was back coaching, after doing his best Phileas Fogg impression over the last 5-6 weeks if not 80 days. The warm up flowed in to uchi-komi and that flowed in to throwing our partner with the 3rd repetition. We started with tai-otoshi, changed partners and went on to Seoi-nage and then changed partners again before going on to o-uchi-gari. Graeme was using this as a way of grading a number of us for our next respective belts, myself included. I would then be asked to demonstrate a throw, for example sumi-gaeshi, to the class before we all went on to practise it. This was repeated for a number of the throws from the brown belt syllabus and carried on when we changed to newaza. Graeme asked me to demonstrate my favourite submission, San-gaku-jime, to the class and also the complex entry where you attack the turtle. Whilst the rest of the class were practising this Jadon showed me a nifty little escape which I’ve never seen before, demonstrated below.

I need to drill this so I’ll be putting myself in to san-gaku-jime’s as much as possible when doing newaza randori to test its effectiveness.

We finished up with some light randori, with Jadon and I going throw for throw and getting plenty of nice techniques in. We changed partners a number of times until we had all been with each other. Then Graeme called two pairs out and said it was winner stays on randori. I got the better of Jadon to start with before I went through all the cadets and faced Jadon again. This time he threw me and he then went through most of the cadets before being nice to one of them and allowing them to throw him. Matte was called shortly after on what was an excellent class, full of high tempo randori and plenty of throwing practice and half my brown belt theory completed. Mojo restored:)

Now back to this injury. I woke up the nest morning and found a large cricket ball size lump on my left shin. At this point it wasn’t painful, however as the lump got smaller the pain increased so I went to my GP who diagnosed Superficial Thrombosis. I have been prescribed painkillers and antibiotics and have been told to rest for 3-5 days. However some websites state it can take 3-6 weeks before returning to normal which would be very frustrating and would mean waiting until next year before finally get my hands on that brown belt.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Guest Coach

This was another session taken by excellent coach Pete Swettenham (3rd Dan). He told us the focus was going to be more on physical training than technique. We went through quite a few techniques, which is something I am normally critical of. However they all flowed well and were using complimentary skills and the emphasis was on sustaining a good work rate while being effective.

It was nice to see more faces tonight. Some adults returning from injury and my friend Tim, who trains at Guildford and Witley, also made it to Dorking for what was his first training session there.

Randori was light and relaxed with all partners trading throws and trying things out. Newaza was particularly good as we did some pressure drills from a variety of positions as well as having an additional four minute roll which allowed us to experiment a little.

Myself and Stuart had a good tussle where I spent a lot of time playing guard. I particularly was trying to set something up from spider guard (feet on biceps rather than closed behind opponent) rather than my usual closed guard. Trying to either lock up a san gaku or a sweep. Stuart, however, wasn’t having any of it and was wise to most things I did.

I had a short roll with Pete which was great. He has a very tight strong top game, and uses the lower gi lapels very effectively in reducing my hip movement. So playing off my back just wasn’t going to work. At one point I am attacking his turtle and I feel a popping grinding sound in my ribs and let out a “Aaaaaaaarg”. It wasn’t particularly painful, but it just felt horrible, like the ribs had moved in a way they were not meant to. I checked to feel if I had broken one and was reasonably sure I hadn’t, probably a inter costal injury or cartilage. So I carried on! Went for a suicide single lapel choke against his turtle which felt tight but unfortunately he had tucked his chin and I was just crushing his face instead.

A lot of good stuff from the youngsters who are showing good aptitude on the ground and are just absorbing everything. Pete had a lot of complimentary things to say about the Dorking youngsters which is good to hear as he works with some high level players.

Thursday, 14 November 2013


I was involved in a nasty car accident at the weekend, the details of which I won’t go in to other than to say that thankfully no one was seriously injured. Both my wife and kids were in my car so it was a pretty scary experience, especially with both of my kids screaming their heads off and my wife and I unable to immediately determine if they were injured or not.

This has resulted in some mild whiplash for me which has obviously meant I have been unable to attend Judo or do any other form of exercise. This is proving very frustrating.

At the moment I’ve lost a bit of my Judo mojo, due mainly I think to the absence of a lot of the seniors from the club and partly from not being able to train. Looking at the club photo that was taken last year, i'm the only kyu grade still regularly attending the club, which is a real shame. At the moment Jadon, who is not in the photo, is the only thing keeping me interested.

Anyway that’s all for now folks. Not a lot I can do until my GP gives me the all clear to train again. Hopefully it won’t be too long and hopefully by then I will have rediscovered my Judo Mojo. Until then 切断

Friday, 1 November 2013

One Handed Tai-otoshi - Yoshin Ryu

With DJC closed for the half term holidays I made my way to Yoshin Ryu for another randori session and this time I was accompanied by Jadon.

Last week I mentioned that there was a low turnout, for this club anyway. Well this week there were only seven of us present. 3 dan grades, 2 brown belts and 2 blue belts. This was most likely due to it being half term and Halloween. However as per last week this didn’t affect the quality of the coaching or the lesson.

Following the warm up, which lasted about 15-20 minutes, we practised the footwork entry for tai-otoshi. This was done with a partner walking up and down the mat. We first practised it walking backwards and then did it walking forward and also moving sideways.

Sensei Neil then had us add the arm movement but instead of taking the normal collar grip with our right hand, assuming you are doing a right handed Tai-otoshi, we instead planted our right hand in the crook of ukes left arm.

Here’s two time Olympian, Travis Stevens, doing the exact variation of Tai-otoshi that we practised.

We got plenty of practise in with this throw, doing it first statically and then on the move, both left and right sided. We also swapped partners a number of times so we got to practice on different shaped people.

We then had spell of about 5 minutes were Sensei Neil called out throws which we had to do on our partner. Last week the throws were all dan grade theory level with names I had never heard of but this week they were a lot more familiar. I like this drill as it gets you to think on your feet and use throws that you wouldn’t normally choose to do.

Before the newaza randori started, the crash mat was brought out for some Ura-nage practise. Despite my uke being 102kg I managed to get him airbourne enough. Next up was Kata-guruma, a throw I found a lot harder to perform on my considerably heavier uke. I remember struggling with this in my blue belt grading and unfortunately the throw is now part of the brown belt grading so there’s no escaping it for me.

3 rounds of Newaza randori followed, all 3 were against dan grades. The first two ended largely in a stalemate, with me on my back trying in vain to sweep or submit. On the plus side I was able to nullify their submission attempts and keep them in my guard. My last spar was against Sensei Neil who slowly set me up for virtually the same pass every time. Putting his left arm under my right leg and grabbing my collar he stacked me and slowly passed to my right where he kept hold of my right leg and pinned me. I tried a San-gaku-jime on a couple of occasions but never really had enough control to do this. One thing he did point out to me was that I need to attack more quickly when I’m on my back, before he gets settled. Attacking him first would put him on the defensive and make him weary of doing anything against me.

My first round of tachiwaza randori was against Jadon and we both executed a few successful throws on each other. I caught him with an O-uchi-gari and a tani-otoshi and he caught me with a nice uchi-mata feint to Sumi-gaeshi. The last two rounds of randori were largely uneventful but I did at least attempt a few throws which were duly blocked by my dan grade ukes.

So that’s two weeks running I’ve been to Yoshin Ryu, will I make it a hat trick next week???


I’ve been very keen on revisiting the club as I really enjoyed the training on my last visit.

Yoshin Ryu has the strongest general level of newaza out of any club I have trained at, so it’s a great opportunity for me to learn to adapt to the judo style of groundwork, and they don’t have any secret to it, they clearly just put the time in on the ground. Can’t have upstart BJJ folk think they know it all!

Standing wise I received some useful corrections to my Tai otoshi and Uchimata.

Something that stuck with me this training session is not only are the dan grades helpful, they are also very encouraging. As a full time professional outdoor instructor I feel I have quite a bit of knowledge on good coaching and instructing, and positive encouragement is very important. We all like to pretend we are big tough men or maybe I’m just a wuss, but when someone compliments me in training it makes me feel good. And that makes me want to train harder to improve even more, and that makes me a better judoka.

So kudos to Yoshin Ryu, I feel battered and exhausted. I left a lot of DNA on the mat and I am going to hurt tomorrow. But mentally I feel reinvigorated to do MORE!.

Harder, better, faster, stronger.