Friday, 5 December 2014

Got it!

I haven’t posted anything for over a month now and there is a reason for this which will soon become apparent so please read on.

On the 16th November I made my way to the Judo club where I would be attempting to pass my Dan grade theory test. For those of you who are not aware, in the BJA there are two parts to the 1st dan black belt test, the Dan grade theory is usually done first followed by the competitive part which is to obtain 100 points in competition against other brown belts. This basically equates to winning 10 fights via Ippon. As I had already passed the competitive part of my dan grading I had just to pass the theory test and then I would be officially a black belt.

I arrived on a Sunday morning at 9.30am and was told to expect the day to last until approx. 4.30pm, which is quite a long time to be doing Judo. I was thankful that, in this room full of twenty strangers a familiar face appeared that of big Russ from Witley.

The course was quite informal despite both the examiners being 5th dans. They went over a variety of techniques from the syllabus and allowed us all plenty of time to practise them. Having Russ as my uke made things like the first set of nage-no-kata particularly easy for me as he is roughly the same height as myself. This meant I didn’t need to bend down quite so low when executing the Ippon seoi nage and the kata-guruma and likewise when I was his uke.

Just before we were both tested all the techniques went out of my head. I was watching the other judoka doing their tests and when the examiner called out the technique they wanted to see I had no idea what it was. It was like I had never done Judo in my life. All the Japanese names suddenly made no sense to me. Then when we were called every technique suddenly did make sense and I nailed every throw, counter and combination first time with ease. The pass mark is 190 out of 270 points and I scored 242 so I felt like a really deserved to pass.

I got more out of this days course than just my black belt, I got a lot of confidence. I am able to perform every technique in the Gokyo to a reasonable standard, which when you consider how many throws and strangles and arm locks and hold there are is no mean feat.
What I didn’t get from passing this course was the elation that I got when I won my line-up, or batsugun as they call it in Japan. This was more of a relief.

Now back to why I haven’t posted about this until now, well I was to be officially awarded my black belt by my club and I wanted to take photos and add them to this post but there has been a delay in getting the belt embroidered so I won’t get it until the New Year now. In the interim I am wearing a plain Adidas black belt which feels a bit strange and I do find myself keep looking down at it. I still have tons to learn but I feel like I am now ready to start learning Judo, if that makes sense? I know the basics and am able to apply them to anything new I learn. I’m also ready to start refining my Tokui-waza and will try to become something of an Uchi-mata god over the coming years.

So what now? Well I’m not sure what else I can add to this blog. It was always about my Judo journey from white belt to black and beyond. Now that I am a black belt I don’t feel I am ready to turn this in to an educational blog like this one which is an excellent resource if you are nearing dan grade level, however I also don’t think I want to continue the blog in its current guise where I write about each class I had and each technique I learnt in that class. So for now I will add the odd post when something interesting happens but you can expect posts like this to be a lot less frequent from now on.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

British Judo announces new sponsorship deal with Ultimate Fighting Championship

This will upset a few people.
The below is taken from the BJA website, the link can be found here 
British Judo today announced mixed martial arts promoters Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) as title sponsors of the 2015 British Open Judo Championships, as part of a new partnership.
The Championships, which will take place at Wembley Arena on 12th of July, will be supported by the world’s largest mixed martial arts organisation which champions all forms of combat sports.
The sponsorship deal will also see UFC take advertising on the British Judo website and social media as well as other advertising opportunities as they look to support and promote sport and the national governing body.
UFC is one of the fastest growing event organisations in the World, creating a huge following of the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) of which judo is a core discipline. The partnership will support the promotion of combat sports and is expected to have a positive impact on grass roots participation in judo.
Speaking on the sponsorship deal, British Judo Chief Executive, Andrew Scoular said: "We are absolutely thrilled at our new partnership with UFC, which will bring about many mutual benefits for both the organisations and the sports of MMA and Judo in the UK. We look forward to developing other sponsorship and advertising opportunities with UFC in the future.
“By partnering with such a leading martial arts brand as UFC, we will receive significant added exposure for British Judo as a core martial art and the partnership will be instrumental in raising the profile of the sport of judo, ultimately leading to increased participation for young people.
“British Judo's values include discipline and responsibility. These along with respect and ethics are shared by UFC.”
Garry Cook, UFC Chief Global Brand Officer said: “The 2015 British Open Judo Championships will be a fantastic event and an important stage on which athletes can perform and promote their sport. Judo is a key component of mixed martial arts, and we are excited at the prospect of bringing together UFC fans, Judo supporters and practitioners of both sports.”
Judo is one of the combat sport disciplines widely used by MMA fighters within The UFC, a link which is demonstrated particularly well by UFC Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey (USA) who won Judo Bronze medal at the Beijing games in 2008 and made her MMA debut in 2010, before becoming the first female fighter to sign a lucrative contract with the UFC in 2012.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Neil Adams randori

I stumbled across this the other day and had to share it especially as it resembles my Judo very closely (My tongue is firmly in my cheek btw).

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

BJA Dan Grade Theory

This is the Dan Grade Theory Examination Form which I am currently studying whenever I have a free moment. Graeme is also currently running through any of the techniques which I am not comfortable with in the class, which essentially means that everyone is doing dan grade theory work, but i'm sure no one is complaining. Looking at the Examination Form I will be asked by the examiner to perform a single throw from each set under Nage-waza. There are 8 throws in each set and there are 5 sets so I have to know 40 throws.

Then I will be asked to perform 1 Ne-waza technique in each of the 5 sets, which is 27 ne-waza techniques.

Lastly I will be asked to choose 1 set under the following sections:

Renzoku-waza - 3 combinations in the same direction
Renraku-waza - 3 combinations in the opposite direction
Kaeshi-waza - 3 counters
Renraku/Kaeshi/Nige-waza - 2 combinations

Oh and then there is the little matter of doing kata, of which I have already decided to do the first set of Nage-no-kata, as I already had to do this for my brown belt.

I found the below on Youtube which appears to be all the Renzoku, Renraku and Kaeshi- waza as well as the Renraku ne-waza. All I need to do now is to decide which sets i'm going to choose but I've got a fairly good idea already. Simples

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

High Wycombe Dan Grading

So the time had arrived for my first dan grading contest. I did compete in February at brown belt in a points scoring competition but this was to be my first actual dan grading. Graeme very kindly drove me to High Wycombe and I was very thankful for that especially as I was extremely nervous.

On arrival I did what most people do, eye up the competition. This wasn’t a good idea as sat next to me was a giant of a man who stood at least 6ft 6 and weighed in at 113kg. Then there was the French guy, full of muscles, who weighed in at 115kg. Both of these guys I felt sure would be opponents of mine; however I only weighed 89kg so I would be giving away a lot of weight.

Also present were some guys from Witley Judo club which was nice as I was able to warm up with them before the fights started. Unlike the competition I attended in February where I weighed in and that sat around for 5 hours waiting to fight, this was well organised and no sooner had we warmed up than we called over to the mats to start fighting.

What normally happens at dan gradings is that they split you in to groups of light, middle and heavyweights. I normally weigh anywhere between 89 – 94kg so I’m usually classed as a HW, albeit one of the lightest ones. The fights soon started and there was some lovely Judo on display. I was particularly impressed with the newaza skills of a couple of the lighter guys and was surprised that the referees gave plenty of time for the newaza to progress before calling matte.

Before long my name was called out along with my first opponent who didn’t appear to be a heavyweight, in fact he was considerably shorter than me, although he was fairly stocky. What I didn’t notice at the time was the GB patch on his back so perhaps I shouldn't have been too surprised when I was thrown not once, but twice with a drop seoi nage for wazari scores. Bugger I had, as I always do, lost my first fight. On reflection I could have done better and probably would have done had I been better prepared mentally. I’m not saying I would have won but I was just caught cold a little.

I walked over to the side of the mats with a look on my face which said “here we go again”. I was now thinking that if I can just win one fight I’ll go home happy. Before long I hear my name called and again my opponent was smaller than me. I would probably guess he weighed around 80kg. This guy was someone I recognised from the tournament I entered in February at Worthing so I figured he was competition hardened. When the ref called hadjime I quickly took a dominant grip and was able to really bully him. At one point I threw him to the mat just using my arms. It wasn’t long before I was able to do that again but this time I got my foot in for a sort of Kosoto gari and he fell flat on his back. “IPPON” shouted the ref and all of a sudden I was a happy man. I had achieved my goal of getting 10 points at my first dan grading. If Graeme had said lets go home at that point I would have probably gone home content. However winning my second fight meant I had another fight and even if I lost that I might still be in someone else’s line up.

My wait for my next opponent went really quickly as all the fights in between seemed to end in Ippon. Yet again my opponent was smaller than me and I knew him, it was one of the guys from Witley called Jack. Jack was just under 80kg so was giving a lot of weight away, however he was, at 17 years old 25 years my junior so I figured that evened things out a bit. Now I have never done tachiwaza randori with Jack before but I have done Newaza and I felt I definitely had the edge should we go to the ground. When the fight started we were both a little too defensive and the ref stopped us at one point and told us to attack more. With less than a minute on the clock I managed to throw him for Ippon. I couldn’t believe it, 20 points at my first dan grading and now I had a line up and the chance of actually getting all 100 points.
Out of the 20 or so guys that were present I think there were five who qualified for a line up. The tall giant guy and the French guy had both gotten a line up so I knew I wouldn’t have to fight them. The guy that beat me in my first fight had also gotten a line up so I knew I wouldn’t fight him. I think the organisers had a hard time matching us all up to be honest as a couple of other guys had been choked unconscious, one to the point of fitting, so they were not allowed to fight. Eventually my line up was called and of my three opponents two were ones I had already fought and beat. My first opponent however was what Graeme had called “a stopper” he was 102kg and was designed to present me with a problem, a real test, which after all this was supposed to be.

I was quite quickly able to establish a good grip and felt confident that I was going to be able to throw him. I probed him tentatively with some foot sweeps and noticed that he had his weight mostly on one side of his body so I tried a Hiza guruma and he toppled over for ippon. Within seconds I was fighting my next opponent, the guy I had beaten in my second fight and this time he had upped his game and was moving around quickly, making it a lot harder for me to control him. He attempted a drop seoi nage but I was easily able to step off and attacked his turtle. I was trying for the Juji-gatame turnover but his arm was stuck in good so I baited him by sliding off his back and hoped he would take the opportunity to attack me on my back. When he did I quickly pushed his left arm outside my guard and slapped on a really tight san gaku jime and got the tap almost immediately. That was two wins and I needed one more to get my 100 points. I was fighting Jack again and to be fair he really went for the win but I was coming off of 4 ippon wins so my confidence was sky high. Again it was a cagey affair and I was really reluctant to over commit to anything as I feared being countered. Then, in what appeared to be a blink of an eye, he attacked me with Kosoto gari and I was able to counter with Uchi mata for the Ippon. I was stunned; I couldn’t believe I had actually done it, 100 points and within touching distance of being a black belt. Jack had been my hardest opponent by far and I’m sure he’ll get his 100 points at his next dan grading. He ended up being in the tall guy’s line up and actually beat him with two wazaris. I called him Jack the Giant Slayer afterwards and told him he should have that put on his black belt when he gets it.

Next up for me is the dan grade theory test so I need to swat up hard. As I didn’t expect to be in this position I assumed I would have at least a year to prepare but now I want to grade quickly, in a month or so, so I have a lot of work to do. In the gym on Monday I felt a severe pain my left bicep whilst doing chin ups which is exactly the same injury I had this time last year. Hopefully it won’t keep me off the mats for long but at least I don’t have to worry about shiai and fitness now, just technique.

Below is the video of my line up

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Dan Grade Theory

In preparation for the theory side of my dan grading Graeme said that we will be doing lots of dan grade techniques this term. We learnt the first set of Nage waza under Renzoku waza on Thursday, which are combination throws in the same direction as follows:

Seoi nage to Seoi otoshi
O Uchi gari to Ko Uchi Gari
Hiza guruma to Harai Goshi/Ashi-guruma

The last technique Graeme had us do Ashi-guruma as this is what is listed in the BJA dan grade theory book as released by Roy Inman. However the BJA’s website lists Harai-goshi so I did it with both and as there isn’t a great deal of difference in the throws, apart from using the hip in the Harai, it didn’t make too much of a difference. I was actually pleased with how well I performed these techniques especially the likes of Seoi otoshi and Ashi-guruma, which are not throws I ever use.

We also covered Kesa gatame and Kuzure Kesa gatame, the holds and the escapes from, both of which are fairly rudimentary.

There are still an awful lot of techniques to cover from the dan grade theory and a lot of revision will be necessary but it looks slightly less daunting once you actually get in to the nuts and bolts of it.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Kumi-kata - Witley Judo Club

I’ve just returned from two weeks sunning myself in the Dordogne, France and have literally done no exercise whatsoever, I figured my body could do with the break. Before I went on Holiday I managed to get a good session in at Witley Judo club and I attended another excellent class there on Monday night.

This was to be a “simple class” as Pete, the head instructor put it, and by that he meant that we would only be learning a couple of techniques., one a simple turnover against the turtle and the other a version of kata-guruma where you do not touch the legs in anyway (so competition legal) Apart from that the rest of the class was Newaza and tachiwaza randori.

It was nice to catch up with Tim from Guildford Police Judo Club who is now sporting a blue belt. It transpires that Tim has been training BJJ at Andy Roberts place three times a week for the last couple of months and it showed when I picked Tim for my first round of Newaza randori. He was very active off his back, throwing up plenty of Juji attempts however I managed to defend well against them. The round ended after I had swept him to mount and was just about to apply an Ude-garami. Still his newaza has improved a lot and if he carries on the BJJ training he will no doubt be subbing me next time.

Following my roll with Tim I was able to pull off a number of submissions including a couple of San-gaku-jime’s, however it still took me quite a while to finish them and in doing so I really gassed my legs out, something to consider if I attempt this in shiai.

I’ve written before how I’ve had trouble in randori when I face guys who have superior gripping strategies. This is usually apparent when I visit places like Yoshin Ryu where they have a number of larger and/or higher ranked guys. For me there are three components to randori. Tachiwaza, Newaza and Kumi kata (gipping) but maybe I am getting too hung up on it.

Last night Pete showed me a couple of things I was doing wrong when I sparred with him. Now Pete is considerably shorter than me but it still able to dominate me with his grips, should he so wish. He told me that I was over reaching with my second hand when trying to get my sleeve grip, which when facing a shorter person is like Christmas as they are able to use my momentum to throw me. What he said I need to do is to pull them towards me and then grip rather than to go looking for it. Quite simple but it makes perfect sense. Another thing he pointed out is that I was a little too square against the shorter guys which gives them the space to step in to when they inevitably try there seoi nage’s against me. What I need to do is to have one leg slightly forward which then reduces the space they can step in to. One last thing he pointed out to me was that I need to fully commit to my throws rather than pull out if I don’t immediately throw the other person, which I have been told before but I am really making a conscious effort to do this now.

Dorking Judo Club is open again this Thursday so I’ll be back at my home club but I’m going to keep training at Witley on Monday nights and, when possible, Yoshin Ryu. I’m hoping this will be enough to see me improve significantly so that I can start to collect some points towards my dan grading although it might be a bit soon for this extra training to pay off with my first dan grading event coming up on the 13th of September at High Wycombe. I am, however, determined not to come away from it empty handed and will be disappointed if I haven’t made some inroads in to the 100 points needed.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Kosei Inoue - The King of Uchi-mata

Seeing as Uchi-mata is my tokui waza, there's no one better to watch than Kosei Inoue.


Thursday, 7 August 2014

Sode guruma jime

Oli & Jadon joined me last night for another Newaza only session at Yoshin Ryu. This was the second week running that Oli had attended this class which, until last week, he hadn't been on the mats’, other than to assist teaching the kids class at Dorking, for almost 1 year. It was perhaps for this reason that I refused to tap when he caught me with a nice collar strangle last week. I was pretty close to going out but for some reason (ego perhaps) I decided I was not going to tap to him, due to his inactivity and how that would look for me tapping to someone who, by his own admission, was a little rusty. Luckily for me I was able to eventually escape his strangle and the rest of the roll was a good back and forth exchange although neither of us were able to get a submission or pin.

Last night Oli was the first person I sparred with and again we had a good back and forth tussle. Both of us actively going for subs and defending and reversing our positions. No subs were forthcoming again but it was a very enjoyable roll.

I had a nice roll with Jadon where I was able to pass his guard in to Yoko-shiho-gatame but in a moment of madness I looked away from him and he was able to trap my head with his leg and turn it in to a San-gaku-jime where he eventually got the tap. The rest of our roll was pretty close and I was actually able to return the favour when he passed my guard and got a Yoko-shiho-gatame on me as I used the same escape on him but matte was called before I could try for the submission.

An orange belt was next, who also trains BJJ at RGA in London and is a blue belt. He pulled guard and tried to play spider guard but I was able to shake off his grips, pass his guard and sink in Sode-guruma-jime for the tap. We started again and he continued with a very open guard, clearly trying to play spider guard. I grabbed his legs and spun him over where I attacked the turtle with a Juji turnover and finished him with a Juji-gatame.

Sensei  Dave was next and he played guard to start with. I attempted to use the techniques he had taught the class earlier on him (Sode-guruma-jime) but this obviously wasn’t going to work on him. It was when he decided he wasn't going to play on his back anymore that I started to get in trouble and he caught me with a couple of subs towards the end and a pin.

Something that I took from watching the Judo at the recent Commonwealth games was said by Neil Adams regarding attacking the neck and then the arm and vice versa. I noticed last night that when I attacked someone’s neck they invariably presented an armbar opportunity. The same thing happened when I looked for their arm, they left their neck unguarded. This may seem quite basic and I've probably been told this before but it really worked for me. I’m gonna have a play with this and see if my submission ratio improves. It certainly did last night.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Ups and downs

With the hot weather continuing in to its second week I decided to buy a cheap single weave lightweight gi. I was lucky enough to spot an Adidas 500gm single weave on eBay in my size which had been worn once, washed and had shrunk too much for its owner (we've all been there right?) I bought this for a measly £25 including postage, a bargain!

I wore the gi to training on Thursday night and I must say it felt weird wearing a single weave gi after only wearing doubles for so long. To be honest I’m not sure if I liked it enough to wear it again. What bothered me most was the ease in which my opponent was able to grip it although it could be said that wearing it could actually help improve my Judo because if I’m effective wearing it then imagine what I’ll be like when I wear a double and people are unable to grip it so easily.

Following last week’s classes at Yoshin Ryu in which I left feeling quite positive and was able to throw and submit people, this week was the opposite. I submitted no one in newaza randori and don’t remember a single successful throw in tachiwaza randori. Of course I need to take in to account that I sparred with different people than I did the previous week so I shouldn't beat myself up over it but it can be a little frustrating sometime when you feel like you are taking one step forward and then two steps back. However despite not throwing any resisting opponents we did do plenty of throw for throw practice which I find really beneficial.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Shuurai Lite Gi

I'm selling my Shuurai Lite Gi jacket on eBay at the moment, the add can be found here.
It's a size 185 and i'm throwing in some Black Eagle Heavyweight Trousers size 200, although these have shrunk enough so that they are closer to a 185 in length. My reason for sale is that this gi has never really been long enough in the arms for me and i'm trying to make a bit of space in my wardrobe for a new, soon to be announced, gi purchase.
If you want to make me a "buy it now offer" outside of eBay then let me know.
Happy bidding

 That's not me btw ^

Friday, 25 July 2014

Randori and more Randori @ Yoshin Ryu

I started writing this post a week ago but I’ve only just managed to finish it. This means I have forgotten a lot of what actually happened so the below is a condensed version of events.

I managed to train on consecutive nights last week at Yoshin Ryu. First I did the Newaza randori night on the Wednesday and then I also managed the randori night on the Thursday evening. It felt nice being able to train hard on consecutive days as I’ve had so many injuries this year that I really haven’t put in enough sessions to improve. I must admit though that getting out of bed on Friday morning was a struggle as I felt like I had been in a train wreck.

Sensei Dave took the Wednesday night Newaza class and despite it being rather hot (by UK standards) he still had us warm up properly doing pyramids. This entails running up and down the mat doing first one sit, one squat thrust and one press up then you run up and down the mat again but this time you do two of each and so on until you get to ten of each. Anyway my double weave gi was at this point saturated in sweat and ready for the next part of the class which focused on a couple of options when you are unable to finish a juji-gatame from the top position, so basically the below position.

I guess you could use this if your opponent had a very strong grip that you were unable to break. Anyway from the position above you slide your right leg in-between uke’s arms so that it is over their right arm but under their left. At this point you remove your left leg from over their head and lay it on the floor behind them. Uke’s normal response to this is to seize the moment to escape and sit up thus giving you the opportunity to slide your left leg behind their head. You then simply link your right with your left leg and get the san-gaku-jime.

We got to drill this technique a number of times, enough so that I think it will stick with me, which is a good thing.

I sparred with a number of guys at the end wearing various coloured belts so that I was able to practice my submissions one minute and my escapes the next. My roll with Sensei Dave was particularly good as he manages to operate at a level just above the person he is sparring with.

Thursday nights randori night was equally as hot as Wednesday’s, added to that I had the ache and bruises from the previous night’s class but I managed to have a very productive lesson nonetheless and took away a few things.

1)      I did randori with a newly promoted 1st dan and wasn’t far off the pace. I was able to successfully throw him with uchi-mata and tani-otoshi.

2)      Sasae-tsuri komi ashi is one of my favoured techniques and usually I use a normal right handed grip and throw using my left leg to block ukes right foot. An opportunity arose, admittedly against a yellow belt, to throw using the same right handed grip but this time using my right leg to bloke ukes left foot. The result was an airborne uke and a technique I will be trying to improve on. The below video shows both entries in to this throw as well as a nice set up using O-uchi-gari.

3)      As I’m not good enough to throw people using unconventional grips I need to improve on my grip fighting and work on some strategies. This becomes apparent when I spar with higher grades (Brown and Black Belts)

Monday, 7 July 2014

Ronda Rousey - UFC 175

Sometimes actions speak louder than words so i'll keep mine to a minimum so you can enjoy the above gif from Ronda's latest championship fight.The whole fight lasted 16 seconds so apart from the bit where they touched gloves this gif shows all of the fight.
So ladies, you wanna be a UFC fighter, go to your local Judo club and start training today!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Dorking Judo Club - Senior Session

Two posts in quick succession as I trained two nights consecutively this week.

The title may seem a little odd considering I always attend the senior session at Dorking Judo club, however just recently the numbers have started to swell so thought it was worth a particular mention. When I look back at my first ever post I was actually the only student present, with two instructors. Since then people have come and gone but really it’s since some of the under 16’s have joined the senior class that the number of actual seniors has slowly started to increase. Last night there were four dan grades on the mat, one of whom was a 3rd dan who was returning to Judo. Then among us kyu grades there were 2 brown belts, 2 blue, 3 green, 4 yellow and two white belts, which is encouraging and gives us all lots of different people to practice with. For my own personal development it’s nice to have a couple of bigger guys train at the club now. One thing that takes me a while to get used to when I train at Yoshin Ryu is being out gripped, especially with a high collar grip as there just aren’t any big guys at Dorking who can do this to me. This has changed with Russ starting to train here, from Witley Judo Club and also 3rd Dan Neil.

Something else I wanted to mention was that Jadon had received his brown belt from Guidlford Police Judo club which means I might have some company next time I attend a dan grading event. Well done Jadon, it’s well deserved.

Newaza night @ Yoshin Ryu

When I last trained here I found out that they had added an extra days training to their existing three, so that’s four in total now. However Wednesday night is newaza only, which is my favourite part of Judo, mainly because it hurts less than being thrown on your back. The format of this class is similar to their Thursday night randori session in that there is a long warm up/work out of about 30 minutes, followed by a couple of techniques and then about 30 minutes of continuous sparring. There were about 20 people on the mats, half of whom were dan grades, so I was in for a tough night. Sensei Dave (3rd dan) took the class but Neil and Tim (also both 3rd dans) were also present and gave extra coaching where needed.

My first roll was against a stocky yellow belt so I decided to try and work on my strangles, a week point in my game in my opinion. I was pleased that amongst the submissions I got were two Sode-guruma-jime’s. One off my back and the other when I was top, in the mount position.

This proved to be my easiest roll of the evening as my next three were against Sensei Tim, Sensei Dave and Prezmek, all of whom crushed and submitted me in various ways. In the three minute roll with Prezmek I counted 6 submissions, surely some kind of record!

After rolling with these three I mustered up enough strength to submit a black belt with Okuri-eri-jime before my last roll with another yellow belt who I suspect had some BJJ training, due to the way he pulled guard was very active on the bottom, way more so than any Judo yellow should be. However I was so gassed at this point that all I could do was play defence and not let him sweep me. I just didn’t have the strength to open his guard and mount any attacks and I apologised to him afterwards for being so negative.

At the end of the class sensei Neil took me aside to show me how I could have got Juji-gatame against Sensei Dave from a certain position off my back. Despite not being a regular at Yoshin ryu the instructors still have time show you little things like this to improve your game even after the class has finished. It’s for reasons like this that I’m prepared to travel that little bit further to train at Yoshin Ryu.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Leg in Triangle

I thought I had invented a new submission last week when I was training with Jadon. We were rolling, doing newaza randori, and I was doing well in that he hadn’t been able to submit or pin me yet. In fact he was playing guard and was having trouble trying to sweep me, which is a victory as far as my battles with Jadon are concerned.

Anyway Jadon used a deep half guard sweep that he told me he hasn’t used in a while; according to Jadon I can see the standard ones coming a mile away now, and whilst the sweep worked, Jadon was obviously a little complacent and didn't expect the triangle to be able to close with his leg still in! From here I squeezed as hard as I could but with his leg in it was putting extra pressure on my crown jewels. Although I've already fathered two Children and don’t plan on fathering anymore, I still wanted to retain the ability to piss standing up, so much to my annoyance I had to let go before I got the tap, which BTW would have been the first time I have tapped Jadon arggghhh. I guess if I had got the tap I could have claimed it as a new submission especially as I've not been able to find many examples of a “leg in Triangle” even amongst BJJers. However it appears I am not alone as someone posted these pictures on Facebook the other day.

So have you ever caught someone in a “leg in Triangle”?

Do you have a funky name for this submission or can I perhaps claim it for myself?

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

More Ronda

Just though i'd share this short video of Ronda doing some nogi Judo for no other reason that it's cool.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Black Belt Fit – The Man Maker

I found this exercise on a Health and Fitness Forum, which was recommended by the resident Personal Trainer, that I liked the look of. So I decided to give it a go an OH MY GOD, its super tough. I did 1 set of 10 reps with a 10kg dumbbell and I was literally dead on my feet. I’m so impressed with this exercise that I’m going to add it to the end of my existing “Black Belt Fit” workout which consists of 5 x 500 metre rows supersetted with 20 squats and 20 press-ups. However I think I’ll have to drop the weight a bit at first so I can manage 3 sets of 10 reps.

Anyway, give it go today and let me know how you get on with it.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Tomae-nage & Sumi-gaeshi – Yoshin Ryu

With all the injuries I’ve had this year I’ve avoided training anywhere other than my own club as its not fair expecting every new person you train with to “mind the left elbow” and “watch my left leg”. However I have been feeling a lot better recently and although the elbow still isn’t healed it’s certainly manageable at the moment. So with this in mind I decided to make my way to Yoshin Ryu and was duly accompanied by Andrew from Dorking Judo Club.

After a thorough warm up sensei Neil got us to partner up for a Tomae-nage drill. The point of this drill wasn’t so much the throw as the breakfall out of it. We drilled this for quite a while adding in variations of the Tomae-nage, for example using two feet, all the while trying to perfect a nice fluid roll out of the throw. We followed this by drilling Sumi-gaeshi from an over the shoulder belt grip. The foot which would normally be placed on the inside of ukes thigh was instead placed between their legs as though we were trying to kick them up the arse. This seems to be Sensei Neil’s most favoured entry in to Sumi-gaeshi and it is one that he has shown me previously.

Newaza randori followed and I was paired up with Steve. I managed a quick flower sweep in to ude-garami from mount and got the tap quickly. I was then able to fend off most of his attacks and attempts at passing my guard whilst remaining active on the bottom and nearly catching him with juji-gatame a couple of times, although no more taps were forthcoming.

I then paired with a young brown belt who I managed to tap with a variety of submissions including ude-garami, Juji-gatame (twice), san-gaku-jime, and Okuri-eri-jime. A most enjoyable roll.

Next was one of the dan grades with whom I had a tough time trying to control. He managed to pin me with ushiro-kesa-gatame quite early on but the rest of the roll was a bit like a chess game as we both tried to find each other’s weaknesses. It was a nice technical roll.

Last up was another dan grade, this time a small female. I attacked her quickly and took her back and was then able to make her tap with Juji-gatame. The rest of the roll I decided to turn down the intensity a little and tried to concentrate on technique only. I managed to take her back on a number of occasions but my attempts at finishing with a choke were futile and again I really need to work on this as it is a glaring weakness in my submissions.

A quick water break followed before we moved on to Tachiwaza randori. I paired up with fellow brown belt Sean whom I did manage one successful O-uchi-gari on. Other than that it was a fairly cagey affair with neither of us really fully committing and both fighting for the superior grip.

This theme followed in to my next spar with one of the dan grades, although he was able to throw me a number of times we largely fought for grips and I came off the worse. My problem is that I’m not used to fighting guys my height at Dorking but at Yoshin Ryu there are a number of six footers. So when they take a high grip on me I struggle a little as I’m used to being the bully where gripping is concerned.

Last up was Steve and we were even cagier than Sean and I was. Again there was lots of grip fighting and sloppy attempts at throws but not a lot of Judo. I think we were the catalyst for Sensei Neil calling matte and making us all do light randori using only one finger and thumb. This was right at the end of a hard session and as such I was close to just falling over. However I could see the point of this exercise as we were all too tired to use any strength and therefore had to rely on technique alone. I realised I need to work on my technique after this.

This was another excellent hard session at Yoshin Ryu. I really enjoy the fact that we get 5 minutes of sparring with each person in Newaza randori as it means you can try out a lot of things and just figure out what works and what doesn’t. Apparently Wednesday night is Newaza only night at Yoshin Ryu so I might have to check that out soon. I also like the fact that there are a number of large brown belts for me to spar with as its vital I get used to this if I ever want to score points in dan grading competitions.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Time to make a change ch ch changes

I've been tweaking my blog recently, first by removing the broken links to the BJA website which used to contain videos of Craig Fallon doing all the techniques required for each belt up to and including brown belt.
I've now replaced that with Judo Info, which contains videos and animations of the 67 throws of the Kodokan along with many of the techniques used in newaza.
I've also added "chokes and strangles" and "Turnovers", which contain videos of some of the more interesting techniques i've been taught recently. This will give me easy access to these techniques rather than having to manually search for them amongst my many blog entries.
There is also a link to the Gi reviews that i've done, something I hope to add to in the not too distant future.

Lastly I decided to put all my BJJ related posts in one place, again as it makes it easier for me to find them. It also reminded me that Nova Forca have moved premises recently to a new permanent Dojo in Epsom, as below.

I haven't been there yet myself but I hope to in the not too distant future. Of course remaining injury free and getting some proper Judo training in first is my priority, something I haven't been able to do much of yet this year. If I can shake off these injuries I intend to pay a visit to Nova Forca's new dojo in the summer.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

O-goshi combinations and the Fallon Turnover

Last week we worked a lot on newaza, in particular using the butterfly guard to sweep. This week Graeme put the finishing touches to this sweep and showed us the Craig Fallon Turnover. I liked this turnover especially as it forces your opponent to engage in groundwork even if you don’t manage to turn them over, as they are in your butterfly guard.

The second half of the lesson was on O-goshi and various combinations and entries. I must admit O-goshi isn’t a throw I ever use in randori but there are a number of techniques that present themselves when getting the standard O-goshi grip that maybe it’s something I need to look at and work on.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Golfers Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)

I’ve mentioned before that I have been suffering with forearm tendinitis or Golfers Elbow and that it has been inhibiting my training, well I thought I’d document what I have done so far to try and cure myself of this annoying and sometimes debilitating condition. 
I’m not 100% sure what brought this on, although most people never know for sure as its usually just overuse but in my case I think it all started when I fell awkwardly on my left elbow throwing someone with Tani-otoshi. I remember my elbow hurting for a while afterwards and then just aching for a few weeks. As I never really rested it at this point it’s very possible that I made it worse especially when you consider the amount of breakfalls one does with their left arm, considering most people are right handed. Add to that my continued presence in the gym, lifting weights, and it’s no surprise it got worse. 

1) Complete Rest
When it got to the point that I was waking up in the morning with it hurting I decided that I had to stop doing anything that made it hurt. To my annoyance, that meant no more Judo or weights. 
2) Physiotherapy
I had a physiotherapy session with someone that visits my place of work. She thought that one session might be enough. She gave me a deep tissue massage.
3) Physiotherapy – Ultrasound

Luckily for me I had been proscribed 10 sessions of physiotherapy due to the car accident I had in November 2013. The physiotherapy was for the mild whiplash injury that I had suffered but I thought I’d take the opportunity to quiz the physio  about my elbow. He was able to give me ultrasound, massage and stretching exercises (see below)

And best of all told me to resume my normal physical activities as long as it didn’t make it any worse.

4) Physiotherapy – Complete Rest
Ok, so after a number of weeks of physio with no change he told me to cease all activities again, including Judo. This lasted approximately 3 weeks. After the 3 weeks I thought it was getting slightly better so I was told again to resume physical activities. My 10 physiotherapy sessions at this point had finished so I was sent away with some additional stretches.

5) Elbow Support

I purchased one of these

 and wore it whilst lifting weights and doing Judo. I also avoided any bicep or back exercises as these appeared to be aggravating the elbow the most. Not ideal but at least it meant I was still able to train.

6) Amino Acids

I was reading up on Golfers elbow on the NHS website and in the comments section loads of people recommended taking Amino Acids and some even went as far as to claim this alone cured their problem. So I ordered a batch from Holland & Barrett and will take these along with the Glucosamine that I already take.

7) Golfers Elbow Support

Something else that other sufferers recommended was this
form of elbow support which you basically wear all day. This looks different to the elbow support that I currently only use when lifting weights or doing Judo as it places direct pressure over the inflamed tendon. I have ordered this from Amazon and will wear this in conjunction with taking the Amino Acids and see what happens.

Please feel free to comment with your experiences and thoughts of this annoying injury.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Leg Grabs, Gripping & Freestyle Judo

The following post is an observation and not a rant.

Someone recently posted this video over on the Judoforum and I found myself watching it again and again. It then got me thinking about the leg grab techniques which the IJF decided to ban from all competition in 2013. Back in 2010 they banned leg-grabs as a direct attack which was largely attributed to wanting to differentiate Judo from wrestling to safeguard its acceptance as an Olympic sport. I can’t confirm that, but it’s the widely accepted explanation. In 2013 they went one step further and not only disallowed those techniques as direct attacks, but as follow-ups and counters as well. 

So leg attacks can still be taught in Judo but cannot be used in Competition. But, as most people need to compete to get their black belts, there is little point in spending time learning something that they cannot use, thus the next generation of Judo black belts are unlikely to be able to properly perform throws like Morote gari.

Now I’m sure most of these techniques are preserved in Kata and with the BJA recently making Kata compulsory from 1st kyu gradings upwards some could say that this will in effect ensure the next generation are at least familiar with leg grabs. However there is no substitute for using a technique against a fully resisting opponent in randori or shiai. Its only then that you learn not only how to perform it correctly but also how to properly defend against it.  

A lot of the now “illegal” techniques which have been removed from Judo over the years can still be found in other grappling arts like BJJ and Sambo and it’s been said that to learn Judo, as was originally taught by Kano, one has to turn to these other grappling arts.

The issue I and many other judoka have with the constant rule changes is that they are watering down Judo’s effectiveness as a combat sport and effective form of self-defence.  I would be embarrassed if I attended a BJJ class whilst they were practicing takedowns and I was the one constantly being taken down with a double leg (Morote gari) because I didn’t know how to sprawl. Or I didn’t know how to defend when someone took a double lapel grip on my gi. You could argue that the new rules makes Judo more exciting to watch with a higher percentage of ippons but who actually watches Judo other than people that practice it? If you do Judo you invariably like watching high level Judo whatever the rules. The lay person is never going to be excited about watching Judo unless someone from their country is fighting for gold in the Olympics.

Another problem with the rule changes is that it makes Judo less effective in MMA. Some might ask why this is a problem, well I’ll tell you. With Ronda Rousey being the current UFC Bantamweight champion Martial Artists are seriously looking at Judo as a viable style to learn to help them in the octagon. However Ronda’s Judo was pre 2010 and therefore included leg grabs, which to be successful in MMA you have to know how to perform and defend against as this determines where the fight takes place. In my limited BJJ training the only time I ever did anything from standing was when we drilled how to sprawl against a morote gari. Therefore if someone has intentions of competing in MMA why would they choose Judo over BJJ when BJJ clearly has enough of the wrestling based techniques most widely used in MMA already incorporated in their training?

So what’s the answer? Local clubs could ignore the rule changes and still teach Kano’s Judo but then, as I’ve mentioned already, this will mean a lot of time is spent on techniques that their students cannot use in competition. That’d be a bit like teaching someone how to kick in preparation for a boxing match. Yes Kicking works in a real fight but you cannot use it in the rules of boxing.  In the US they have taken the matter in to their own hands and created FreestyleJudo  which in essence is Judo without all the recent IJF rules regarding leg grabs & Gripping. In addition to the normal way shiai is scored, Freestyle Judo also gives points for things like passing the guard and sweeps which is more akin to BJJ rules but still scores Ippon for Osaekomi-waza. Now I like the idea of this but there doesn’t appear to be a UK equivalent as yet. Freestyle Judo is not a governing body they just have their own competitions which allow Judoka from any org to enter using the Freestyle rules, so you can’t be graded in this form of Judo and neither are any of the competitions point scoring. It will be interesting to see if Freestyle Judo ever reaches these shores.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Dorking Judo Club’s 1st Randori only night.

I was very much looking forward to last night’s session, not least because the idea of having a randori only night was something that I had suggested to Graeme previously. On arriving I was informed that there were a number of visitors from Kin Ryu Judo Club in Crawley, Guildford Police Judo club and Witley. When Graeme took rei at the start of the class there were 5 dan grades and about 20 kyu grades, which is the most seniors I’ve ever seen on the mats here.

After a 15 minute warm up we went straight in to tachiwaza randori, with four pairs taking the mats for 3 minute rounds. This meant I was able to alternate between 3 minutes of sparring and 3 minutes of resting.

Unfortunately I have had a niggling pain behind my right knee since last week which has made even kneeling down quite painful. When I tried an osoto gari on Andrew the knee felt weak so I decided to try and take it easy for the rest of the Tachiwaza randori, which is a shame as I really wanted to test myself tonight. Still I did manage a couple of good tussles with Jadon, David and a brown belt from Guildford, albeit with a limited repertoire of attacks (due to my painful knee) from me. I was also able to practice my ukemi when I sparred with Peter Vincent, a 2nd dan GB squad member.

Other than those four the rest of the people I chose to spar with were mainly juniors or low grade seniors, because I was concerned about damaging my knee.

Newaza randori followed and as there was less chance of hurting my knee doing groundwork I sought out higher grades. First up was a French dan grade from Guildford who allowed me to work my moves without resisting much. I’m not sure if I would have had much joy if he had been resisting but I suspect not. Next up was 2nd Dan GB squad member Peter Vincent. He turtled up and allowed me to try and turn him over. I wasn’t able to get a good enough grip on his collar to threaten him with any sort of choke so I chose to just take his back and roll him over. I tried again for some sort of collar choke but in doing so he grabbed my right arm with his left and tried to armlock me with a sort ude garami. My only defence against this was to keep my arm bent, in a sort of bicep curl movement, but this was quickly draining my strength in my bicep. Luckily for me he gave up on the ude garami before my strength left me so I decided to switch positions and go for a juji gatame. I got in a good position with the juji but I couldn’t separate his arms, it was like they were cemented together. Realising that I was never going to get them out I gave him space to get out and tried for a san-gaku-jime but the buzzer sounded for the end before I could properly attempt it. Although I’m sure he was just working on his defence, hopefully I made him work slightly more than he expected me to.

I then had a good back and forth tussle with the Guildford Brown belt, which sort of reminded me of the tussles I used to have with Oli. With my next three of four opponents I managed a number of san gaku jime submissions as well as a few Juji gatames. Against Andrew I even managed a Ryote Jime, in exactly the way that Graeme showed me a week earlier.

My final spar was against Jadon and rather surprisingly he chose to play guard. I could tell he was working on some sort of sneaky sub and when he told me that this was going to hurt I realised he had got a Bicep slicer on me, but luckily I was able to slip out of it. The rest of the spar I tried in vain to pass his guard all the while trying to stop him from sweeping me or choking me.  At one point I almost managed a stack pass on him and even attempted a Gyaku juji jime. I had the choke on fairly tight but I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish him as I was still effectively in his guard, still it did keep him occupied enough whilst he defended it for me to grab around the back of his head and look for an ude-garami but in escaping this sub attempt he somehow managed to squirm out, grab my collar and choke me. I was gutted as I had, up until then, defended quite well.

The class ended shortly afterwards and brought to an end almost 2 hours of continuous randori. I hope some of the guys and girls who visited from other clubs enjoyed it enough to maybe visit one of our normal classes sometime in the future as they would certainly all be very welcome.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Choke, well Strangles really.

Within the MMA and BJJ world the word “Choke” conjures up fond memories of one of the best MMA documentaries ever made which followed Rickson Gracie as he competed in Japan to defend the Vale Tudo title that he had won a year earlier. However, for the purposes of this post it’s actually in reference to the strangle techniques which we practised in last night’s class. Now there is a difference between a Choke and a Strangle and what we leant were actually strangles but I just wanted an excuse to post the below documentary and would recommend anyone who hasn’t yet seen it to take a look.

Sore necks were guaranteed to us all by Graeme last night as we practised a number of strangles, many of which are in the current DanGrade theory test. This has to be passed in conjunction with the competitivepart of your Dan grading before you can receive your black belt.

The main two we practised were:



I’ve always felt that one of the weaknesses in my Newaza is actually my strangles. I get in to positions to attack with them but very rarely pull them off, unless of course you are talking about san-gaku-jime. I do know enough of them but in that split second when you get the opportunity to take their collar before they tuck their chin in I often get confused and grab with the wrong hand. I’m therefore going to make a conscious effort to try and only finish people with strangles and see where that gets me.

Following our strangle master class we got to do a number of 2 minutes rounds of newaza. I did actually manage a couple of successful strangles, one of which was a Ryote-jime.

At the end of the class Graeme mentioned that next week’s class would be a Randori only session, both newaza and tachiwaza. Hopefully this will attract some seniors from other local clubs who are looking for some extra practise. So if you are free on Tuesday 1st March then come on down to Dorking Judo Club

Thursday, 13 March 2014


My physio told me I was free to return to Judo providing I took things easy, the rest of the conversation was a blur as I was, at that point, just excited to be able to get back on the tatami.

In my absence Ivan had returned from a very long injury lay off (Cruciate knee ligaments) so it was especially nice to see him return. Also one of the juniors had since received his junior green belt, which was well deserved.

I worked in a three for most of the night with Andrew and Ivan and we mainly focused on two techniques, one tachiwaza and one newaza.

The tachiwaza technique was Tai-otoshi which we warmed up for by doing plenty of uchi-komi with uki first walking towards tori and then uke walking away from tori. We also drilled a nice counter to tai-otoshi using a right handed, left sided tai-otoshi.

On to the newaza technique and we revisited a strangle that we were taught last year that Graeme calls Hell Strangle (Jigoku-jime) or chokehold from the Crucifix position for my BJJ cousins. We were shown two entries in to this, both attacking the turtle and also two ways of finishing, both of which are shown in the following video.

I also found this video which shows different entries in to Jigoku-jime, some of which look very nice indeed. 

We finished up with some randori and as I was keen not to breakfall with my left arm (due to my elbow injury) I was going to make getting thrown particularly difficult for everyone I sparred with.

One throw I managed to pull off a couple of times, following on from the competition I was in a few weeks back, was Osoto-gari. I mentioned then that I got thrown with this by a guy who hooked his leg in and despite being too far away to complete the throw he quickly jumped through and dumped me on my back. This guy did this to other people on the day so it’s clearly his tokuwaza but nonetheless with my long legs it should be a technique that I could be good at. I will continue to work on this in randori but it is a risky throw as quite often uke can counter it with the same throw and no one likes getting thrown with a big osoto gari.

The class finished with two long rounds of newaza randori and I decided to try and get as many subs in as possible. I think I ended up with two ude-garamis, two Juji-gatames, one kata-gatame and a nice sangaku jime.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Crash Mats for Throwing Practice

So after my recent competition experience I dragged myself to see my physio who was shocked to see the state of my shoulders and neck and also my elbow tendinitis (Golfers elbow)which was certainly not improved by the rigours of shiai. The outcome of this was being told to not do any upper body training whatsoever for a few weeks which obviously included Judo.

My neck and shoulders do feel a lot better but nothing seems to be making much difference to my golfers elbow condition.

At the moment the inside of my elbow is sore to touch so the mere thought of intentionally smashing my arm in to the tatami to break my fall fills me with dread.

Anyway I stumbled across this piece on the Judoforum today and thought I’d share it as using crash mats does seem like a very good idea, especially for those of us over a certain age.

Please feel free to comment accordingly.

Crash pad training allows everyone on the mat to do more throws safely. Here are two important points. You can do more throws on a crash pad than throwing only on the mat (tatami). After a while, landing on the mat takes its toll on anyone-even tough guys who say otherwise. By using crash pads, everyone on the mat can perform a lot more throws-and the result is that the level of technical skill improves. An increased volume of throwing practice translates to an increased development of functional skill.

Anyone who says that power is not what judo is about simply doesn't know what the word power means. Power does not mean brute strength or lack of technical skill as critics contend. The ballistic effect generate by a throwing technique is tremendous and demonstrates the skill, movement and strength inherent in a good throwing technique.

As far as safety is concerned, not only are there less injuries during practice when using crash pads, both in the short term and over the long haul of years of training, the body doesn't take as much punishment by landing on 8 inches of foam (in the crash pad) on top of the actual tatami than by landing only on the tatami. Sure, performing good breakfalls when taking a throw is important, but (as will be pointed out again later) the added level of safety in using crash pads definitely reduces injuries in practice.

Functional Skill

Anyone who uses crash pads can (and will) develop harder and more effective throws. The 8 inches of foam certainly helps cushion the fall for your partner when you drill him with that Uchi Mata, O Soto Gari or any other throw and it will provide the same cushion for you when he takes his turn to throw you. This means that you can develop more plyometric (explosive) power when throwing. I don't care what anyone says, the idea of a throw is to finish the fight. Throwing an opponent softly (in a match or real fight) is the antithesis of what the concept of Nage Waza (throwing Techniques) entails. A good analogy is boxing. Boxers use a punching bag to develop their punches in the same way judo, sambo, jujitsu and grappling athletes use a crash pad to develop their throws. Boxers don't train to hit an opponent softly, they train to hit an opponent hard. Crash pad training allows us to develop the full ballistic effect of a throwing technique.

More on Safety

Some people will say that using Ukemi is sufficient and good breakfalls negate the usefulness of crash pads. Okay, learning how to land safely is a necessity-that is a fact. But anyone who has taken a lot of falls on the tatami quickly finds out that, even with perfect breakfalling skills, taking repeated throws from partners in practice takes its toll on even the toughest guys' bodies. After a while, people get gun-shy and avoid throwing practice or simply stop coming to practice and take up something more docile, like spending too much time watching Youtube videos of judo instead of actually showing up to practice. So, my point is that using crash pads adds another level of safety in training to Ukemi (this was mentioned earlier).

Use Crash Pads Wisely

Do not limit your throwing practice to the use of crash pads only. By all means, work on throwing techniques and skills when moving freely about the mat to improve timing, spatial awareness and other important factors in throwing. In the same way boxers do not exclusively use heavy punching bags to develop their punching skills, judo, sambo, jujitsu and other grapplers should not limit themselves to exclusively doing throwing practice on crash pads. Like any training tool, use crash pads in an overall plan of training and development.


I don't care what anyone says. Doing a lot of Uchikomi (fit-in practice) instead of Nagekomi (throwing practice) is not a good substitute for actually doing throws to develop technical skill. I'm not against Uchikomi-I'm just against replacing throwing practice with a lot of fit-ins. The old adage "do more Uchikomi" only works for a (short) while. That's been the advice given by people when they didn't have an answer to a question about a throw. I've been to clubs where they did lots and lots of Uchikomi and only a few actual throws. Maybe you've been to one of those clubs as well. Again, don't get me wrong. Uchikomi training has its definite place in any fighting sport, but too much Uchikomi training translates directly into athletes who do not finish their throws and (for the most part) have their throwing attacks more easily blocked by an opponent or do not follow through enough at the end of a throwing attack to get the job done. Others can do what they want, but I want my students and athletes to develop more functional skills in throwing, so we'll keep working on our crash pads