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.