I woke up bright and early at 10am today (Sunday). For some people that might not be so early, but for people like me with a productivity peak that hits around 3am and a life-threatening addiction to coffee, 10am is pretty damn early.
I finally got around to having my “birthday party” with my parents. A month late, but who’s counting. I got a new camera! Mostly for still shots, but I’ll be definitely using for HD video also together with my other one. Here’s the first video:
These are a couple of throws that ignore most of the basics: not bending knees, not turning enough, not pulling enough, etc. Hence the title of this post: “Lazy Judo”. I was being relaxed, overly relaxed.
That’s a perfect time to focus on technique. Instead I ended up lazily half-assing each throw. This is why I like video’ing practice, because my judo looks a lot worse on camera than I imagine in my head
In other news, congrats to Jared for winning his Long Island Pride superfight. A score of 3-0 is always music to my ears. That’s a score I would love to have for the rest of my BJJ career. To me it says: a long battle that ends in a guard being passed.
Yesterday was another long night of battling it out on the mats at Osagame. Here’s a video with some highlights:
I think the whole thing lasted about two and a half hours. We did:
Regular tachi waza randori (takedowns)
Newaza randori (groundwork)
Mock shiai (timed judo competition matches)
There was lots of good judo, different styles, different bodies. Drexel Judo brought out a good number of higher ranks including the Hawaiian thunder bear (aka Keola).
Some folks were nursing injuries (including myself) but you wouldn’t know it. Seriously, Joe (Spicy) had a match with Keola where he was limping the whole time. It was like watching the dramatic finale of a Mel Gibson film. Perhaps not the smartest thing. But us judo guys aren’t known for our brilliance in such matters.
I was fighting very hesitant the whole night because of my neck. It made me realize that I made the correct decision about not fighting in Grapplers Quest last weekend. But overall I had a few excellent matches which allowed me to impose my game on the feet and on the ground.
I trained at Osagame (aka Philadelphia Judo Club) today and last Sunday. Judo is still a passion of mine, even as jiu jitsu creeps in gradually. It’s fun, especially given that Ray is a good person, good instructor, and good friend.
Here’s a video of some highlights from the two randori sessions:
I should also mention that Ray criticized a previous blog post where I mentioned my growing appreciation of taking the back versus working the clock choke. He then proceeded to attempt the clock choke on me during training, didn’t finish it, and took my back, where he then proceeded to submit me with a bow and arrow choke, thereby proving me correct
What was different this time is the appearance of a new Albanian judoka who has taken 14 months off from training and was just making his return. He is wearing a white belt in the video, but is actually a black belt. Though he was noticeably rusty in his technique, he more than made up for it in intensity and “fighting spirit”. He kept getting up, getting really excited, angry, happy, lauging, etc. It was a little chaotic and concerning at first (since his unpredictability was a little dangerous) but it grew on me pretty quickly.
He was my training partner, and kept telling me that I was doing the te guruma pick-up wrong. Many of the points he made were absolutely correct, so I was happy to learn from him. More importantly, the harder and faster I threw him, the harder and faster he would throw me back. Given that the technique was clean, this process lead to one hell of a good work out. We probably got 30-40 big throws in.
Given how hard he went, I’m sure he won’t be back for a few days (needing to recover), but I look forward to seeing him get back into fighting shape. For a competitive person like that it’s always tough to step into a new club.
As a member of the Philadelphia Judo Club, one of the things we are required to do to get through the ranks of brown and black belts is kata. For first degree black belt, we have to do Nage no kata both as uke and tori, each of the fifteen throws down on both left and right sides.
While my goals in judo at this time are strictly competition oriented, I find that learning kata has been useful in becoming a better uke (understanding the dynamics of being thrown). Also, in my limited experience with it, I have learned in just a few classes how to be more patient and break down each throw carefully to achieve proper form.
Here’s a video of two of our judoka performing Nage no kata:
Alessandro ran class at Philadelphia Judo Club (located at Osagame). It was high-paced and high-intensity. By “high-paced”, I mean that most of the drills were active, and the breaks in between where Alessandro would explain things were very brief and purposely hurried. By “high-intensity”, I mean that drills were all cardio-intensive.
The general structure of the practice was:
Warm up with fits and throws
Balance and off-balance drills
Grip fighting session
Here is a video highlighting some of these:
In general, I find Alessandro to be probably the closest black belt in the club to the level, style, body type, and athleticism of the black belts I face in competition. Another one is Shannon, but Shannon’s style is a little unorthodox and so is not as representative. In any case, for this reason, I learn A LOT from Alessandro every time we work together AND I get a great work out.
The emphasis on gripping with a purpose and controlled aggression was great. We had a great gripping / randori session which allowed me to get more and more comfortable throwing in the chaos of highly dynamic gripping and movement.
Ray started what I think could turn out to be a very interesting night of training on Wednesday: “Black Belt Night”. Basically, it’s a night when we rotate instructors amongst the black belts from our club as well as guest instructors from other clubs. They’re almost like mini-clinics. It’s 2 hours, 7:30pm to 9:30pm every Wednesday at Osagame.
I went yesterday. The instructor was Joe “Spicy” Chiu. He is an excellent player with a remarkable competitive spirit and clean fast technique. He showed two basic combinations which I have seen before, but in a slightly different context, so it was nice to work on. Here is some video I took of the training:
I look forward to seeing how this tradition develops. Next week Alessandro is teaching. He is another one of our black belts whose game I very much respect and admire. I certainly recommend that you make it out to South Philly every Wednesday for this excellent opportunity.