Last night was a pretty easy night. First we worked on grip fighting, but it was more conceptual this time, as opposed to finger-rippingly painful. The instructor talked about a couple of things I've been having trouble with in randori lately. Preacher was reading my mail, as it were.
First, we looked at how you can't expect to have an "equal" grip with your opponent and expect to use judo on him. You might get lucky, and be stronger or bigger than him, but if neither of you have a grip advantage, the stronger/quicker/bigger guy is likely to throw the weaker/slower/smaller guy. Conversely, if you have an advantageous grip, you have a better chance of getting the throw, despite other disadvantages.
Secondly, he talked about how he sees a lot of guys in randori stiff-arming their opponent, and how that in turn makes the other person get strong and stiff-armed, and both guys find it really hard to throw. PREACH! He talked about how your grip needs to be strong, but your arm should be soft, like an antenna rather than a ramrod... hearkens back to what Pat's been preaching for years! So the idea is if we're using our arm as a "feeler", we can feel where our partner is moving, and tell what throw we need to do, and when. "Connectors instead of effectors", as Chuck Clark used to say. We worked on a sensitivity drill that I think I got a lot out of. Really brings back some "ju" to the judo we're doing.
We ended the class with hop randori. I went against a pretty new white belt. I felt like I could make my throws work a lot better, and that was encouraging; shows I am growing, despite how I feel against other, more "seasoned" guys.