Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Back to the Drawing Board

Duncan took the class last night and our warm up consisted of very light newaza randori. For Jadon and I this quickly descended in to a little more than “light” randori, so Duncan stopped us and reiterated the point that this was just a warm up so try and flow between positions and not use any strength.

There was a distinct lack of seniors tonight, just myself and Jadon present, but there was an abundance of cadets so we changed partners regularly. Following our Newaza warm up Duncan had us practice Tai-otoshi in to Juji-gatame. The point of this was moving seamlessly from tachiwaza to newaza, with no pause. In fact the technique could have been called Tai-otoshi-juji-gatame (a Roy Inman special) such was the emphasis of flowing from one technique to another.

This set the tone for the night as we practised other throws straight in to groundwork like O-uchi-gari, Harai-goshi and Morote-seoi-nage. First with little to no resistance from Uke and then, following the throw, full resistance.

When I was practising Morote-seoi-nage I was paired with Ynez, who is, shall we say, vertically challenged somewhat. This meant that I had to get even lower than normal to throw her. I was unable to perform even one throw properly on Ynez and even when I changed partners to someone approaching my own size I still was not able to throw them. This was in stark contrast to a lesson we had in June where I seemed to have gotten the hang of this throw. With the parents of the cadets looking on they must have wondered how the highest ranked kyu grade on the mat was not able to perform the throws that their Yellow and Orange belt sons were able to do so easily. I found this both frustrating and demoralising.

We finished off with some throw for throw randori, with the caveat that we use the throws we had been shown tonight, and we were told to follow in to groundwork but not to spend too long trying to get a pin or submission. Again the key here was that the throw and the groundwork were as one. I felt quite comfortable doing this but it’s hard to gauge my skill level when most people are half my size and strength. My Harai-goshi works great on the cadets but I could pick them up and throw them without any technique because they are so light. All of this has made me realise that I need to get 100% fit quickly so I can get myself back to Yoshin Ryu where I can test myself properly.

It was an excellent lesson tonight with plenty of throws and groundwork, however I’m left with mixed feelings. My inability to perform Morote-seoi-nage at all, following last week’s class where my Ippon-seoi-nage was almost as bad, has really dented my confidence. Graeme mentioned to me the other week that he expected me to grade for brown belt by the end of this year which would leave me one step away from black. At the moment I feel as far away from being a black belt as I ever have.