On approaching the club tonight I thought it looked very dark and once inside I realised that half the lighting was not working due to an electrical fault.
The cupboard that we normally use as a makeshift changing room had no light whatsoever but I found Black Belt Stuart in there and Jamie with only a torch as a means of light.
I hadn’t seen Jamie for a number of months and with the continued absence of Ryan I was glad that he had decided to come back.
Peter got us warmed up with some light Newaza which then progressed in to one of us applying a hold, with the other trying to escape. The person applying the hold then had to move to another hold without losing control. Whilst being held in Kesa-gatame by Stuart I noticed how heavy he felt on me and how much it felt like he was crushing my ribs. Even Ynez, who is half my size, felt like a dead weight when holding me in Kesa-gatame. Ynez said it’s not about using strength or size to hold a person down its more about just making your body feel heavy, and of course using the correct technique.
Following the Newaza and with everyone nicely warmed up and due to the fact that both Graeme and Big Stuart were away with work, Peter decided that he was going to give Jamie the opportunity to start his first grading for Red belt.
As Stuart was to be Jamie’s Uke and Peter would do the examining, Ynez said that she would work with me and Peter suggested that we go over the Green belt syllabus.
As we had already been doing some Newaza we started with the various versions of Juji-gatame that are needed for green belt:
Juji-gatame sit back entry
Juji-gatame roll over entry
Juji-gatame entry from beneath
Juji-gatame over the shoulder entry
It was great to cover so many different variations of the same technique and also to do a number of repetitions of each variation.
The other Newaza techniques in the syllabus that we practised were Ude-gatame, Waki-gatame & finally Hiza-gatame. At some point over the last 18 months I have probably practised all of these but again it was really nice to really go over each one for repetitions.
There are a number of throws needed for green belt and Ynez decided that we should start with Okuri-Ashi-Barai, of which I have previously devoted an entire thread to. I mentioned to Ynez that Graeme called this throw the oomph throw, as that’s the noise that Uke generally makes when he hits the matt as all of his air is knocked out of him. Ynez actually liked being thrown with this technique, providing it’s done right. Her comments were that there was something nice about being thrown by a perfectly executed throw. I’m not sure if I agree with her sentiments entirely but I agree that landing flat on your back is preferable to being dumped on your head.
Having got the timing down for Okuri-ashi-barai we moved on to Harai-goshi. Despite needing quite a bit of hip, and for me to pull this off against Ynez, who is considerably shorter than me, took a lot of knee bending, I still very much enjoyed this throw. Ynez showed me a couple of nice entries and we practised these after the normal static version. The first was literally just a hop in but the second one involved pulling Uke to my right, but instead of following them you stay still and then proceed to hop in with the throw. It seemed so simple but very effective.
With time running out with progressed on to Uchi-mata, a throw we practised before the summer break and one I got the hang of. For some reason this time I kept on muddling this up with Harai-goshi as I was reaping with my leg on the outside rather than in between Uke’s legs.
If you look at the example from the BJA website, Fallon’s left leg just clips the inside of his Uke’s left leg. You can also perform Uchi-mata by clipping the inside of their right leg but this usually required you to hop around until their fall off balance. Ynez said its better to attack the inside of the left leg, Like Fallon’s example, because if they try and manoeuvre out of it you always have the right leg with the hoping technique to fall back on, whereas if you go straight for the right leg and they move out of the way, you have missed your opportunity for this throw.
Looking up at the clock we realised it was 10.pm and Peter called matte. I had covered a hell of a lot of the green belt syllabus in the last hour and having what was effectively a private 1 hour lesson with Ynez was fantastic and probably rates as the most productive Judo lesson to date. It also made me realise that I’m not that far off of being ready for green belt grading and hopefully I can hit my target of achieving it before the end of this year.