Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Judo, 6/29/15

Tonight's class was chock full of judo goodness!

First we drilled (most of) our Orange belt throws:

Kouchi gari - small inner reap. Wasn't bad tonight. The guy teaching us got us to emphasize stepping off the line better with our back foot, to help the throw.

Ouchi gari - large inner reap. He showed us a version I'm not accustomed to, where tori kind of drives into uke with his hips, to make uke take a turning step. The reap takes place when his second foot comes around to square up against you again.

Deashi harai - advanced foot sweep. Nothing to add here, still need more reps.

Kibisu gaeshi - heel pick. This one felt pretty good.

We didn't have time to work on the last orange belt throw, osoto maki komi, which is a shame because I haven't seen that one yet. 

Next we did a drill with a "sticky foot deashi". Tori would stick his foot to uke, and uke would lift it up a bit, then they play a game where uke tries to survive and tori tries to throw. I didn't do so well at it, my uke kept turning around backwards, and since the drill was for deashi, I didn't want to throw him with something else.

Ground randori was next. I rolled with a yellow belt, and got a collar choke I was unusually proud of. It was a lot "cleaner" (better technique) than I usually get. It felt more effortless. I think the difference was me remembering to break his posture down more. I also had a really good scissor sweep, that I set up well ahead of time and worked beautifully. 

The next guy I rolled with was a black belt, and things didn't go so well for me ;-)   I kept getting caught in side control again. I get the concept that I need to start escaping side control before I'm in it, but I haven't been able to pull it off yet. 

Finally, we did some "hop randori". Pretty light, not attacking with 100%, and not defending with 100%. My partner was the same black belt I just rolled with. He's left handed, which made most of the throws I'm used to doing awkward (impossible). I did get a couple of smooth morote garis I was proud of, a very sloppy osoto gari (at least he fell), and a "wrong sided" tai otoshi.

I need waaaaaaaay more work on standing randori. Lots of fun!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Judo, 6/24/15

Tonight we worked on chokes and joint locks from the yellow, orange, and green belt requirements.

Hadake jime - Rear naked choke. This one's easy. Tonight we worked on a variation I don't normally do, with a different grip and different angle.

Koshi jime - Hip choke. This is sort of like a clock choke, and I was getting it better than I did last time we drilled it. I need to remember to keep my non-gripping arm close to uke's neck.

Juji gatame - Cross arm body lock. Another one I've had some experience with. I need to remember to scoot in close to uke's shoulder, glue his arm to my chest, and squeeze my legs together during the arm bar.

Tsukikomi jime - Thrust choke. This is a new one for me, and for an orange belt choke, it was a little challenging. It's a collar choke with both hands are on the same side. I'm not sure why it's included in the curriculum, as it's ridiculously easy to escape, and the black belt working with us tonight said it won't work against anyone higher than a white belt. In any case, I need to work on it more.

Sode garuma jime - Sleeve wheel choke. It's the same as BJJ's Ezekiel choke. Black belt's tip: start with both hands facing each other - turning the hands finished the choke easily.

Ude garami - Entangled arm lock. It looks like this can be in either direction - like an Americana or Kimura. We practiced the Kimura variation from the bottom as well as the side mount.

Nami juji jime - Normal cross choke. Again, one I've done for a while.

Ude gatame - Arm or shoulder arm lock. Sort of like juji gatame but without turning uke over.

Lastly, we rolled. My first round was with the same yellow belt I rolled with last week. I submitted him once with an Americana, and nearly got him to tap from a diaphragm choke (squeezing the air out of him with my tight closed guard). Between pressure on his abdomen, and collar choke attacks, I kept him pretty busy.

My last round was with the black belt that worked with the yellow belt and me tonight. I tapped a lot. I did pass his open guard a couple of times, but he was undoubtedly dialing it back for my sake.

Another good workout. My left shoulder has been hurting every time I leave class. The kind of pain you'd expect from not tapping to an Americana. But I do tap, early and often, so as not to take chances on injury. I don't know what the deal is, maybe I just need to get conditioned to this stuff again, or maybe it's injury-prone now. Turning 40 hasn't been a picnic!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Study Group, 6/23/15

My buddy (BJJ purple belt) came over tonight to drill in my new "dojo room". We drilled lots of reps of ippon seoi nage, seoi otoshi, and a ton of reps of kouchi gari. Mine weren't as good as last week in class, but that's the point of drilling, right?

We drilled a turn-over back attack for a while, then drilled a bunch of triangle set-ups. It's amazing how much easier a technique is when you do it correctly. All the things that make it work, the angles, etc, make it more effortless when done correctly. I've been having trouble finishing triangles, and it turns out I was forgetting to change the angle of my upper body.

We finished with a couple rounds of light rolling. I'm hoping I didn't wear myself out too much for judo tomorrow!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Aikido, 6/20/15

Today I was able to get back to Pat's for some aikido. After walking kata and releases, we worked on junana. Pat talked about how in a way, our aikido works only when uke resists us. So when uke gets solid, or resists in some direction, he's weak 90 degrees to that direction. The old "you can't be strong in two directions at once" principle.

It felt like kind of a deeper look at what's going on in the techniques, and some practice moving from one technique to another when uke resists. Pat pointed out that causing a vibration by bumping or "juking" uke makes him resist and allows you to execute another technique. It reminded me of the old "strike to lock, lock to strike" idea from kung fu, jeet june do, etc.

We played a little randori, and for some reason, I kept reverting to junana 13. My tokui for the day I guess.

Finally, we looked at owaza, and how it's different from junana. We looked at both the distance uke attacks from and consequent late timing in some of the techniques, as well as the greater separation in some of owaza compared to the same techniques in junana.

Hopefully I can train aikido more frequently from now on. Even with the other martial arts I'm dabbling in, aikido is still my favorite. If I had to pick one traditional art that best fit my self defense philosophy, aikido would still be the one. Judo and karate are great when the context calls for them, but in my opinion, aikido allows for more options, and might cover a wider range of circumstances.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Judo, 6/17/15

Last night was my first class as an official member of the judo club I've been visiting. We worked mostly on the following throws last night:

Kouchi gari - I remember always having trouble with the timing on this one, but I think last night I figured out what I was missing. It worked better when I remembered to off balance in a way that made uke's step bigger. That fixed my timing issue. I got a few beautiful ones, with both of uke's feet going leaving the ground.

Ouchi Gari - this one works ok for me, although I don't feel like it's smooth, and I always fall on my partner as well. Need more drilling.

Deashi harai - this is the one I'm probably most familiar with, but for some reason, I just wasn't pulling it off last night. I think I'm so rusty, I've forgotten what to do with my hands, and I know for a fact, on some reps I was sweeping for the fences, and that was killing the throw.

Kibisu gaeshi - heel hook takedown. Felt really good to me.

I only rolled for one round last night, against a yellow belt. I did well; kept him in my guard almost the whole time, until I swept him shortly before the round ended.  I need to work on my chokes from guard. I usually feel like I get close, but I have trouble finishing it.




Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Judo, 6/15/15

Last night I went for a third trial class at the local judo club. I'm glad I did; for my first two classes, I knew I was rusty, but it felt like drinking from a fire hose. Too much info, not enough repetition. It turns out they are just preparing for a big tournament this weekend. I suspected that might be the case. Before last night, there seemed to be a strong competitive focus there, which isn't my thing. After class, the owner told me he teaches in cycles that alternate among kata focus, self-defense focus, and during certain times, competition focus. I think I can deal with that.  I'm meeting with him this afternoon to get a couple more questions answered, then I'll make my decision about whether to join. I'm 95% sure I will though.

So last night, while higher-level belts were practicing for the tournament, he separated us white belts, and had a black belt go through the list of yellow belt requirements with us. I enjoyed the slower pace, and technical focus. I'm analytical by nature, so breaking things down helps me a lot.

For throws, we covered ogoshi, seoi otoshi, osoto gari, ippon seoi nage, and morote gari.  We went over two pins: kesa gatame and yokoshiho gatame, with an escape or two from each pin ("head push" and bridge-and-roll for kesa, and a neck pushing, shrimping guard recovery for yokoshiho).
We also did rear naked choke, and koshi jime, a "hip choke". It was kind of like a clock choke from BJJ.  The only arm attack we went over was the cross-body arm lock, juji gatame.

Finally, for "miscellaneous mat work", we did a cross-face turnover, half-Nelson turnover, and scissor sweep.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

New Dojo / Training Room!

After we got back from family vacation, my daughter and I switched our rooms around - her bedroom moved to my workout room and vice versa. Since we were moving, we decided to paint and put new floors down. With my wife's help, we turned the new workout room into a "convertible" training room / dojo!  She was nice enough to let me adorn the walls with lots of cool stuff too. Pictures below!


I put a small (32 inch) TV on the wall with a built-in DVD player. Then put a shelf under it with all my martial arts and workout DVDs and books.  That's a karate kanji to the right of the TV, and a krav maga symbol above it. My aikido shodan certificate hangs to the left. There's a "Keep Calm and Carry On" sign above the door.



The closet, with an aikido kanji to the left, and judo to the right.



My new weight bench & mat, and my grappling dummy punching bag. This wall was left blank because I'm thinking of putting a folding weight rack on it later in the year. For now, dumbbell workouts are fine for me.



The fourth wall, with a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu triangle to the left of the window, and "Pierson's Three Pillars" to the right, haha!



One of my favorite things about the room is how quickly and easily I can make space:


Everything fits in the closet completely, and I have a dumbbell rack in there as well. Takes about 30 seconds to go from workout room to empty space:



With the floors clear, I have enough room for karate kata and floor work, or I can put down my 8'x8' mats for throwing or grappling. The 8x8 is okay for now, but I plan on replacing it with a 10'x10' roll-out Dollamur mat when I'm able to.



Along with the new mats and weight rack, future plans include a heavy bag, and maybe a throwing dummy. Hope you enjoyed the tour! 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Judo, 6/8/15

I went back for a second trial class at the Judo place I visited last week. This time it was all groundwork. My shoulder was hurting a little already, and I think I tweaked it during class - it was in severe pain after I left. I need to remember I'm 40 now.

Anyway, there was a ton of drilling (scissor sweep, hip bump sweep, a few collar chokes, and a few guard passes).  When we did live rolling at the end of class, I went against the college kid I'd been drilling with, a guy about my size. I did okay; I'm not used to judo guys trying to just pin me...so I got caught once under a heavy mount and got suffocated till I tapped. I nearly got a triangle, but wasn't in a great position to go for it, so he squirmed out of it. I had a couple of mount escapes , and I did submit him with a collar choke just before we finished.

I like the judo here - just need to figure out if the schedule is going to work for me. I'm also curious to see how much groundwork vs throwing they do. I'm far more interested in throwing than grappling at this point.

I may go try the nearby(ish) shotokan karate school next week, before I make a final decision.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Judo, 6/3/15

Last night I visited a local Judo club I've been meaning to check out for a while. I was going to just watch the class, but ended up working out with them. The class was top notch, and I had a really good time. After a warm-up, we did a few grip fighting drills, then worked four or five throws (three times each, but I can't remember which throws).  We did a few rounds of standing randori, then newaza randori.

I was pleased with my performance on the ground, even against higher-level belts. Pat's trick of bridging up in order to create more space under me for my lungs to expand served me well while getting crushed by a 250 pound guy at one point. Overall, the class was friendly and family-oriented. I felt extremely welcome there, and I think I'm going to try out another class next week!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Aikido, 7-19-14 - Bode Clinic

Last week we had a clinic with JW Bode. I wasn't able to attend the whole thing, but the few hours I was there were pretty great. We worked on covering the attacker's hands as a sort of light-touch sensitivity drill, and worked most of our basic 17 from there.  Of course we emphasized Bode's method of not throwing an attacker away, but keeping him under control the entire time. It's a great option to work on.

Here's my biggest takeaway: for the second time in a couple of weeks, and from different sources, I was shown that speed isn't the same as timing. Consequently, I don't need to be in a big rush to do whatever thing I happen to be doing. At least not if I'm doing it correctly.

Another concept we worked on can be summed up by a Bode quote:

"If you're not cheating, you're not trying hard enough to survive"

Right up my alley!

My toe is healing up slowly-but-nicely, and I'm looking forward to getting back to regular training!