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 http://wwwthegentleway.blogspot.com/ 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……..