Tuesday saw the return to Dorking Judo club after the Easter break and it also saw our first class in our new venue. Our previous venue was a little long and narrow and also the lighting wasn’t great. Added to that was the problem of some rather low beams which meant randori could only be performed on certain parts of the matted area. Our new venue however has none of these problems. We have more mat space, which is plenty wide enough and the ceiling and lighting is perfect. Spectators are also easily able to see all the action on the mats as there is amble seating available.
I arrived a little early for class and sat and watched the juniors finish their session with some randori. I was very impressed with the technique some of these juniors were showing and silently wished that I had continued with the Judo that I started when I was only 7 years old. If these juniors continue with Judo in to their late teens/early twenties, they will be become almost unplayable for older seniors like myself. You can usually spot a senior that has done Judo as a junior. They don’t seem to have the fear that normal seniors have when they first practice Judo. Even now, two years in to Judo, I don’t feel 100% comfortable with being thrown and this is usually reflected when two seniors practice randori and then proceed to avoid being thrown at all costs whereas these juniors that I were watching were trying lots of different throws and had no fear of taking that fall if their throws failed.
After we warmed up we proceeded on to some Newaza Randori. I tried to attack a lot more than I normally do as I wanted to practice my “top” game rather than what I normally do which is to attack from my back. Big Stewart and I had quite a good tussle and we exchanged positions a few times as we both struggled to get a dominant position. The other Stewart, the one with the Black belt, pulled guard against me and controlled me with his legs as he had a butterfly guard and controlled my posture by pulling on the collar of my gi. I struggled to break free from this position as I was conscious that he was able to attack my neck every time I used my arms to try and break free of the butterfly guard he had on me. I did eventually manage to escape his legs by kicking my legs backwards whilst holding on to his gi bottoms.
Moving on to tachiwaza and we practiced O-uchi-gari. This throw has been getting a lot of air time in the last couple of months. We have practiced it many times at Dorking as well as practicing it at Witley Yamabishi and Yoshin Ryu only last week. I have no issue with going over this throw a lot though as I am starting to have some success with it in randori and it’s a great throw to do in combination with Uchi-mata.
Another good thing about this new venue was the time it took to put the mats away at the end of the class. In our old venue we had to have lots of mats strapped to the walls for safety reasons and the mat cupboard was a fair distance away. There is no such issue now and the putting away of the mats took half the time. I think I’m going to enjoy my Judo here just that little bit more.