As I mentioned last week, my club is closed over the Easter holidays so I made a 40 minute drive to Coulsdon to train at Yoshin Ryu Judo Club. I was joined by both Oli and Big Stewart.
With it being the Thursday before Good Friday the turnout was less than usual with around 7 Dan grades and 4 kyu grades present. This meant that we did not do their usual warm up which, on my previous visits was a game of football between the dan grades and the kyu grades..
As part of an extended warming up period where we practiced breakfalls & Uchi-komi we also practiced turnovers but this was done after we had all run up and down the mat once, with the object being to launch ourselves in to the turnover like one might do in shiai.
Two of the dan grades, who were twins, we asked to show the rest of us one of the turnovers that they were practicing which resulted in them ending up in Kata-gatame. It was a nice technique but it’s one that I will need to find a video of as it was too complex to explain.
It was whilst practicing this with my partner that I did something to my neck which has meant that for the best part of 4 days I haven’t been able to look to my left.
On to Newaza and I stayed with my current partner who was a black belt albeit one who was considerably smaller than myself. Unlike the Newaza we practice at my club, where we are normally given no more than 1 minute for each round, at Yoshin Ryu the rounds last around 5 minutes each, which means that you can really get to work on some techniques. In the process of my first 5 minute round I managed to catch my partner with a left sided San-gaku-jime. I was very pleased that I instinctively locked in the correct leg as previously, doing the technique on the left side has thrown me. Even with my leg locked under correctly and my partner’s arm being pulled across his body, he did not tap. I squeezed a little harder and for a minute I thought he was passing out but he didn’t and he didn’t tap. Eventually, as my legs were tiring I gave up on the San-gaku-jime and we continued but as matte was called none of us had got a submission or a pin. Unfortunately I was pretty tired as holding that San-gaku for so long had gassed my legs.
I was then fortunate enough to do Newaza with the Sensei but this time I was pinned and submitted a number of times. In Particular I was submitted twice with a cross collar choke, once from inside my guard, which according to various posts on the Judoforum should not happen if you know what you are doing, which clearly I don’t. I think the consensus is that you should be able to Juji-gatame the person who is in your guard as they are effectively giving you a straight arm. Maybe this is something I need to work on as with a light soft gi and fairly long neck it’s an obvious choke to try against me. I did manage to catch the Sensei in a San-gaku-jime, this time on the right hand side but he was easily able to turn out of it and in doing so, proceeded to pin me with a version of Yoko-shiho-gatame.
My last Randori was against Oli and both of us were very tired at this point. I think Oli was maybe a little more tired than I was as I managed to submit him with a Juji-gatame, with him face down on the mat.
We were then allowed a quick break for water before the Randori started. Last time I trained here I was dominated by grips by everyone I trained against so I was eager to show that my gripping had improved since then. Unfortunately for me my first partner was a black belt and a big one at that. He favored an over the shoulder grip on me and I spent most of my time trying to fight off his grip rather than actually trying to do any throws. I wasn’t able to do anything to counteract his over the shoulder grip and was thrown about half a dozen times in the 3 minute time slot.
My 2nd and last practice was against another black belt, this time one who was a lot smaller and younger than me. He had GB on the back of his gi so I knew he was going to be pretty good. Despite a huge weight advantage in my favour I was ritually thrown all over the place. My main problem was getting a second grip on him as he was just so fast and nimble. Every time I went for a sleeve grip he was in and throwing me with Drop seoi-nage’s and also fully committed O-uchi-gari’s, the type where one drops on ones knee to perform the throw. Still it was nice to randori with someone who was that good and really showed off the philosophy of Martial Arts/sports, where a skilled little man can beat a less skilled big man.
Whilst I sat out and watched the next round of randori the Sensei explained why I was dominated by the over the shoulder grip in my first fight and what I could do to counter this. I’ll see if this works when I visit next week.
Once the Randori was finished we were made to do some more exercises like squat thrusts, star jumps, sit ups and press ups before time was finally called and we warmed down with stretches.
Another hard but very good session at Yoshin Ryu and I will be back for another next week.