Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Double Dose of Judo 1/3/09

Pat was kind enough to let me start doing two private Judo lessons on Saturday mornings (instead of our usual one). This will really help me get some extra training time in, since I live 75 miles from the dojo!

So for this morning’s first Judo lesson, we worked on deashi barai. We worked on the early and late timings of the sweep, and a little bit of “stealing” the other guy’s turn (basically executing the sweep while you’re stepping on “his side” for purposes of drilling). I noticed that I’m beginning to be able to do deashi a little quicker now…by that I mean that I used to have to wait a handful of steps and get it straight in my head before I could do it. Now I can do it on the first or second step most of the time. Maybe soon I’ll begin to “see” it sooner in randori. Deashi may be the throw I’m most comfortable with so far (but that’s not saying much). Having said that, I was having trouble getting the “bump”/off-balance correct today. I was struggling with both the timing and the amount of push needed. It helped when Pat explained that it’s kind of a “bump, sweep, pull” sequence rather than a “bump, pull, sweep” like I’ve gotten into the habit of doing. I was also reminded not to try to sweep uke’s foot so far out. Just sweeping it until it’s in line with all the other feet is enough.

Next we did some ground work. I’ve been having trouble with the sit-up escape from kesagatame when trying it on a resisting partner. Pat explained that I should be using my outside leg to help me push. Can’t wait to try it out on my guinea pig (AKA darling wife). Poor thing – I always make her hold me down or something so I can show her what I learned in class. My wife is very….determined (competitive). Last time I tried a sit-up escape on her, it failed. “No problem” I thought, “I’ll try a leg entanglement.” The leg entanglement worked…at first. Then she rolled her 110 pound frame out of it, took my back and almost choked me unconscious. True story, I swear. I gotta stop getting her to watch UFC with me. Back to the training log…

Then we worked on some “Flowy rolling” ideas Pat picked up from Roy Dean. Basically it was really easy, light, ground randori. I feel like this was a GREAT exercise that really allowed me the opportunity to stop and evaluate the position I found myself in, and ask myself “What now? What options are available to me?” Some escapes came more quickly to me than others, but I still think this sort of thing us great for me and will develop quicker and quicker reaction times. Reflecting on it later, it made me think of a video game. Take a generic game and think about what early levels are like compared to later levels. At the beginning of the game, enemies come at you slower, and in fewer numbers. As you progress in the game, enemies are faster, more numerous, and tougher to take down. But what may have provided a challenge in early levels becomes ridiculously easy once you’re used to it and you can breeze through those levels easily if you have to repeat them. I assume Judo will be a little like that.

After exhausting me with that exercise, we moved into the second Judo lesson; we started by clearing up some fuzzy ideas I had about a few techniques, including shrimping to dojime, transitions from ukigatame into munegatame or kesagatame, and ukigoshi. My ukigoshi needed serious help. We had only practiced it once before today, so we spent most of the second class drilling it, both from stepping forward and stepping backward. I need to remember that my hip only needs to brush him…as if it’s just insurance (get the side of my hips, not the middle, into his thigh as I throw). It helped me to think of our feet ending up in an “L” shape instead of a “T” relationship, which was causing me to stand funny while trying the throw.

Great, great classes today. Had a lot of fun, and I feel like I learned a lot.

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