Friday, 28 January 2011

More Goshi's

I managed 12 miles last Sunday which took me 2 hours and 3 minutes of pure hell. From about the 10 mile mark the muscles in my legs were in pain and my joints were aching a lot. I’m glad I did it though and will again this weekend run another 12 miles before lowering the mileage for 1 week to aid recovery before upping the mileage to following week to 15.

Graeme took last night’s Judo and I must say it was an excellent lesson. Our warm-up started with various commando crawls across the mats and also lots of dragging another person across the mat using nothing but the belt to hold on to. We ended the warm up with various breakfalls and then Ynez took us through some stretching. I must say the warms up are more and more starting to resemble the type of workouts I was doing in BJJ, although not tiring the intensity is definitely slowly being raised week on week. It’s hard to say if this is a conscious effort on behalf of the instructors to improve everyone’s cardio but it’s very enjoyable non the less.

As we were all nicely warmed up we went in to some Newaza and I first paired up with Oli. Oli was being slightly defensive so I attacked and Oli willingly gave up his back so I got my hooks in and tunred him on his side and looked for a choke. Oli was defending his neck well so I decided to try and pull one of his arms away from his neck and try for a Hiza-gatame. Oli managed to posture up and somehow ended up in my guard but had his left arm outside so I quickly went for a San-gaku-jime. I think Oli had recognised the danger he was in had already started to posture up so I never really had full control of his head. Nonetheless I tried in vain to get him to tap but Graeme called matte before I could do so.

Next up was Jamie and as he has only had 3 lessons I just pulled guard and talked him through passing my guard using his elbows and then getting him to use Mune-gatame once he has passed. This is the first time I have rolled with Jamie and he feels pretty strong so once he starts progressing more and learning the techniques he could be quite a handful.

My last roll was with Big Stuart but this time we took turns in starting on all fours. I quickly jumped on his back and tried in vain to get a choke. I must say it’s really difficult for me to get any sort of choke on and I can’t remember a time in Judo when I have. In an attempt to get some sort of submission I tried the same move that I did against Oli earlier, i.e. the Hiza-gatame and again it didn’t work but this time Stuart ended up with Mune Gatame on me. Graeme called matte and we swapped over with me on all fours. When we started I tried to roll in to guard but I messed this up slightly and Stuart got Mune Gatame and then he got full mount. I tried the trap and roll technique and almost had him but he managed to get me back down again. The rest of our roll then consisted of me struggling underneath him but with no success.

Graeme then stood us all up and said he would be showing us some Goshi’s or hip throws. We stayed with the partners we were already with which meant I would have to throw Big Stuart, which I’ve always struggled with because he is a lot heavier than I am. However for some reason I was able to throw him with quiteeasily with O-goshi. Even when Graeme then showed us Tsurikomi-goshi, which I had previously found difficult due to the grip, I was still able to throw him well. This really pleased me as with me being the tallest in the club, hip throws are not particularly easy for me to do. The last hip throw we learnt was Sode-tsuri-komi-goshi and with the help of Ynez I was even able to pull this one off quite well. I’ve since realised that two of these throws are in the Orange belt syllabus., my next grading.

Before we started Randori Graeme had us pair up but instead of actually throwing we would stop just short of doing so. There is a Japanese name for this but at the moment it escapes me. We would take turns in attacking and Graeme then said we had to do 2 throws and then finally a 3 throw combination. I found this really helpful as I was able to try a throw, of which Stuart would resist or move out of and then I could physically see what throw was then available or best to use from that position.

On to Randori then and I was paired up first with Oli. Oli seemed to be attacking slightly more than he usually would against me which was good as sometimes I need to be brought back down to earth. However I did manage a Sumi-gaeshi against him right at the end which is a technique I have been successful with recently.

Next up was Mark and this was a good tussle as Mark is quite strong and more senior but not enough that he has to go easy on me. I was thrown a couple of times, as I continued my “attack attack attack” resolution, but I almost got Mark with a Tani-otoshi, well he did fall over but not flat on his back for an ippon.

My penultimate Randori was against Ynez and I was conscious not to stiff arm her and try to much strength as she has told me in the past that I am too stiff. So I lightly took hold and she let me try a couple of throws before I finally threw her with Osoto-otoshi. Ynez commented that I needed to pull harder when doing the throw. This was very frustrating to hear as I had made the conscious effort to be light and elusive. Not that I doubt what she is saying and I know I have lots to learn but I felt I had made improvements this week in my Randori and it kinda took the edge off a good nights training.

My last Randori was with BB Stuart and throws me about 5-6 times with relative ease. This didn’t bother me so I still attacked and every time I was thrown I bounced straight back up to my feet. Finally in the last seconds he let me throw him with Osoto-otoshi and he thanked me for a good fight. I hopefully impressed him with my tenacity if not my skill but I was thankful that he threw me all over the place as it’s nice to see the difference in class between a Black Belt and a 5th Kyu.

Overall a great lesson tonight despite my shoulder hurting more than it

Friday, 21 January 2011


I recently wrote on my Facebook page that it’s not normal for a person to run more than 10 miles, well not for me anyway and I still stick by that. Although the 10 miles of running was, from a cardio vascular point of view fairly comfortable, the strain it puts on my leg joints and muscles is not normal and is why no matter how fit a person is you have to put the miles in to run a marathon so that your body can adjust to the extraordinary strains running a Marathon puts on the human body. Unfortunately before my body can fully adjust to running 10 miles I will be upping the mileage to 12 miles this Sunday which should take me roughly 2 hours to complete, providing I stick to the very comfortable 10 minute a mile pace that I intend to run the while marathon in.

In between all the running I have been doing I still manage to get a couple of free weights sessions in and also the Judo, which is only once a week. The gym that I train in is located in my office and they are currently running a challenge to help promote the Gym and gain new members who may be thinking of losing weight for their new year’s resolution. One of these challenges is a 1000m rowing time trail which I thought I’d have a go at. Without any prior training of ever using the rower for anything other than a quick warm up I managed to clock a time of 3.21 which, until yesterday was the quickest time set and was only beaten by the gym instructor himself, who clocked 3.20 and a new guy who has just started work at my place who managed to clock an impressive 3.18. I later found out that this new guy has cycled professionally and is at least 10 years younger than I am so no shame in losing to him.
Anyway the upshot of my rowing challenge is that my shoulder has been hurting to buggery since I did it, which is a shame as it had been ok for 6 months or so.

On to last night’s class and we did a slightly more active warm up than usual with some shuttle runs, press ups, sit ups and squat thrusts which got us all sufficiently warmed before we went in to some light Newaza where we just went from hold to escape to hold etc. Technique wise we were shown Ude-garami or the infamous “Kimura”, which the Gracie family called the submission after the Japanese Judoka, Kimura, defeated Helio Gracie with it many years ago. It’s a fairly simple technique to pull off and one that I have personally used to great success in BJJ and Judo and yet Graeme was still able to point out something that I didn’t know about this technique which is that before you crank it up you should turn your wrist, like you are closing the throttle on a motorbike, this makes Uke tap a lot quicker. The link I have attached on the BJA website does now show Fallon doing this but it definitely makes the technique better so I will use this going forward.

On to the tachi-waza and we first practised tai-otoshi and then a Ko-soto-gari counter to tai-otoshi and finally an O-goshi or uke-goshi and even a Tai-otoshi counter to Tai-otoshi. Some of these counters were easier than others to perform but it’s really nice to get some decent counters under my belt as I need to be able to pull these off if I’m to progress. Graeme did show us all Brain Jack’s version of Tai-otoshi which has a different entry to most. If he is performing a right handed throw he would step across with his left foot almost pass the left foot of his opponent before swivelling and turning in to the throw. I have tried to find a Youtube video of Brian Jacks performing this throw but I’m unable to find anything. As Brian Jacks was my Judo Instructor when I first dabbled with Judo as a small child and then with his great success in Superstars, he became one of my first sporting idols so any information about him is of great interest to me.

We finished up with some Randori and again I went in to all out attack mode. First up was Mark and although I managed a sloppy Tani-otoshi I was told by Graeme that I was stiff arming and not relaxed enough. It’s strange because I am making a conscious effort to be relaxed and I’m not bothered if I get thrown. Also with my experience in Wing Chun and chi-sau, where relaxation is key I thought It would be something I would naturally do.

Next up was Ryan and he was stiff arming me and Graeme stopped him once for being too passive as he tends to stick his arse out, which you are not allowed to do for a certain length of time and again for grabbing the same side of my lapel with both of his hands. I think the latter is a natural thing for a BJJ’er to do as it gives them more control on the ground but again you can only do that in Judo if you immediately attack, which he wasn’t doing. However I attempted a Osoto-otoshi and Ryan countered my throw with the same technique and would have got an ippon. I could see he was pleased with this especially as he has said that he really hasn’t been able to perform many of the throws in Randori. Hopefully this will have given him more confidence going forward.

I finished up against the new guy Jamie, and he was very stiff so I told him to relax and to just try and throw me with whatever he knew. He did try three of four throws but I was never in any danger of falling over but still I congratulated him on attacking and said he should do it more.

After the lesson Graeme mentioned that there were several senior tournaments coming up but unfortunately the High Wycombe Newaza is on the same day as the London Marathon so that’s one I definitely won’t be entering. Also I am even a little hesitant about entering the others but only because I am worried about getting injured this close to the marathon. Maybe I’ll just end up watching a couple until after April 17th, I’ll think about it........

Friday, 14 January 2011


It was the first class tonight after the Christmas break and I was already aching from a week of intense running (25 miles in total) but I was still looking forward to training.
Black Belt Stuart took us through a warm up as Graeme had left early and Peter had a bad back and would therefore only supervise.

We also had a new student tonight called Jamie who seemed like a friendly chap so BB Stuart took Jamie to one side and taught him some basic ukemi whilst Ynes got us doing Newaza. As there was an odd number of seniors we couldn’t all pair up so one of us stood out whilst the rest tried to get the other person in a hold or Pin. Once you had them pinned the person who was stood out would dive in and take over the pin or hold, but this usually resulted in the other person escaping. This was good fun and went on for about 10 minutes or so but meant we were all thoroughly warmed up.

BB Stuart and Jamie joined us after we had finished the Newaza for some Tachi-waza and tonight we would be practicing Tome-Nage. We got in to groups of 3 to practice this, the third person in the group would hold on to the belt and collar of Uke and act as a brace so that you could practice the entry to the throw without constantly slamming your back on to mat.
I was in a group of 3 with Oli and Big Stuart and we all took turns doing the entry to the throw, being Uke and being the person doing the bracing.

Once Ynez was happy that our entries were good enough we performed the throw for real. Being thrown was quite a weird feeling as I lost all sense of where I was so the first time I was thrown I landed quite hard on my back. The idea with this throw is to breakfall with your feet, something that I’m not particularly good at but it’s amazing how quickly one learns when the alternative is being winded.

When it was my turn to perform the throw on Oli I kept on throwing him slightly to my right. Ynez commented that this was more like a Yoko-Tome-Nage. Peter called matte and said that we were going to learn a variation of this throw and that it is called Yoko-Tome-Nage, the throw I had inadvertently just been performing. He also wanted us to perform this as a continuation of a failed O-soto-otoshi, so that Uke has resisted being thrown by leaning forward which then leave them open to taking a tumble over using Yoko-Tome-Nage.

Once we had this throw down we then went over Tai-Otoshi in to Ko-Uchi-Gake. Again these throws went really well with each other and in Oli I had the perfect Uke to refine my technique.

We finished up with some Randori. I had recently commented on Jauregui’s blog found here that when doing Randori he should attack and not worry about being thrown as, after all Randori is free practice so why does it matter if friends from your own club throw you. At the very least you end up practicing your ukemi. Anyway now was the time to practice what I preached so I literally attacked everyone I did Randori with and it resulted in one of my best experiences thus far with Tachi-waza. Although the higher grades usually don’t resist too much and therefore allow the lower grades to get some throws on them I was still able to string together some combination throws which actually worked. I was particularly pleased that I managed to throw a couple of people with Tomoe-Nagi and Sumi-Gaeshi.

Ynez pointed out that I was still a little stiff in the arms when doing Randori with her but I’m sure that will lesson as I get more comfortable. When I was paired up with Ryan he mentioned that when he does Randori that he finds it hard to think of any combination throws or not to use strength all the time and I commented that that was exactly how I felt up until a few months ago and that once he got nearer to Yellow belt standard that would slowly pass. I think he took comfort in that as Tachi-Waza is the hardest thing to learn in Judo and he already had good Newaza skills due to his BJJ.

After the lesson I spoke with Ryan some more and told him about the idea I had emailed to Graeme about the possibility of getting one of Ryan’s BJJ instructors to come down I week to give us all a Newaza lesson. One of Ryan’s friends is a BJJ Brown belt and Judo 1st Dan and apparently he is keen to come and check out our Judo club so there is a good possibility of it happening. All I have to do now, of course, is convince the senior instructors at the club that this would be a good idea which might be difficult as they are quite old school and don’t really understand what BJJ is all about. Anyway he who dares……..