I have taken the decision to put off my Marathon dream until next year due to my new family commitments which meant that getting time to train properly was becoming increasingly difficult. This does however mean that I am now able to compete in the High Wycombe Newaza tournaments on the 17th April. Both Oli and Ryan are also competing so no doubt we shall all travel up together. Last year I was able to get a bronze after only 2 months of Judo so you would think that my chance of progressing further this year would be improved. Unfortunately it is very likely that Ryan will be competing in my weight class which at present is the under 90kg category. Last year I weighed in at 93.5 kg and fought in the open weight division which was 90kg + with no upper limit but what I lacked in weight I made up for in fitness and speed. If I manage to stay below 90kg ( I was 88kg two weeks ago but this was due to my marathon training) then I would be amongst the heaviest but would no longer have advantage of speed. Also as I am 6ft 3 I will likely be one of the tallest. Anyway I have a month until then and my training will consist mostly of weights and a couple of short 4 mile runs a week. I will also try and get down to BJJ for a couple of lessons as this is the best and quickest way to improve my groundwork.
Back to last night and Ryan was asked to warm the class up, unusual as he is the least senior person in the club. Ryan’s warm up closely resembled the type of warm up that we do in BJJ, although he toned it down somewhat for us as the full BJJ workout would most likely give some of the club a heart attack.
When I taught Kung fu I would often take the class through a 10 minute warm up but having not done so for while I will have to have a good think about a structured warm up that includes stretching etc just in case I am asked to do this next week.
Following Ryan’s warm-up we went in to Newaza. One of us was told to lie on our back whilst the other stood over him as though a throw had just been performed. When Graeme gave the signal the standing person would take a grip and attempt a hold or pin. The person on the ground could not move until Graeme called yosh. Getting the hold was not a problem when you had a few seconds before yosh was called but as this went on the time got shorter and getting the holds became harder.
The purpose of this exercise was to stress the importance of controlling your opponent before attempting the hold. What I was doing was trying to go straight in to Kesa-gatame without ever controlling the person under me first. This meant that they were able to defend. When I was paired against Peter or Stuart they would first control me with their body or knee on belly and slowly and methodically move in to a hold one move at a time, never giving me an opportunity to wriggle out. This was a good lesson learned especially with the Newaza tournament coming up.
Something I did realise from doing this exercise is that Kesa-gatame is my favourite and most effective hold along with probably tate-shiho-gatame, but only when coupled with pushing uke’s arm across their body, kind of like an arm triangle. Submission wise my go to move is a san-gaku-jime but I also like ude-garami.
When we got on to tachiwaza we were told that we were be concentrating on the goshi’s or hip throws, and from then on the class was almost a carbon copy of a class we had in October of last year and my post dated the 8th October refers.
We started with O-goshi, and I was paired with Black belt Stuart. I concentrated more on the entry and breaking his balance than on the actual throw and I think this really helped me improve this throw. We were then asked to try O-goshi and then go into Uki-goshi, which is the natural throw to go to should Uke stiffen up and stop O-goshi.
Graeme then showed us a nice entry in to O-goshi using our sleeve hand instead of our collar hand to go behind their back. It felt a little awkward at first as it makes it a left hand throw but is a good way of mixing things up and confusing your opponent.
We then finished up with Harai-goshi and I was able to pull this off quite well. Now I don’t want to jump the gun but recently the throws have started to become a lot easier and I seem to be “getting” them more now. This was in slight contrast to Ryan who was struggling to put the components of Harai-goshi together although the fact that both Peter and Graeme were constantly watching and critiquing him couldn’t have helped.