Friday, 7 September 2012

Good to be back - Yoshin Ryu

Having not trained for a month, attending the Thursday randori session at Yoshin Ryu was probably not the best way of easing myself back but sometimes you just have jump straight in with both feet.

Watching numerous online videos of Judo techniques before I left home I realised just how easy Judo is. I wrote down half a dozen throwing combinations so that I could use them that evening in class. Of course the reality of using these techniques against someone fully resisting and trying to throw you in the process meant that I was not successful with any of them and in fact I don’t think I even got the chance to try. One week you throw everyone and the next it’s you being thrown. This is what makes Judo both a frustrating and rewarding passtime and oddly keeps me coming back for more.

I got a lift from Ivan tonight and he was my Uke for the first part of the class which was focused mainly on strangle’s. The first one we were shown was Katsugi-jime where Tori puts his right hand palm up inside uke’s collar and left hand down, inside opposite collar. Then tori bringshis right forearm across uke’s throat whilst either dropping to his back and rolling Uke over him, eventually ending up in side control or simply moving to Uke’s right side.


Another strangle we were shown, which Peter from DJC has shown me before ,started with two hands on uke’’s right lapel with right hand above left and whilst keeping a grip of the lapel you swing you right arm over uke’s head . I can’t find an example of this online at the moment but will seek out a picture to make it easier.

The last strangle was called Tsuki-komi-jime and the action was similar to doing up a large imaginary zip on uke's gi.I found this a little hit and miss both as tori and uke.


After we had practised these a number of times we went in to Newaza and first up for me was a blue belt from a club near Redhill. I pulled guard and managed a face down Juji-gatame. Then he pulled guard on me, which was good as it meant I was forced to practice my top game. He was very good at controlling me with his legs, encircling my legs with his which meant I had trouble getting any base to be able to even think about passing his guard. I focused my efforts on his left leg and managed to jump in to side control and then secure a pin. The next couple of rolls with him I pulled guard and was able to submit him with another Juji-gatame then a Hiza-gatame and near the end I also managed to submit him with my trusty san-gaku-jime.
I was feeling pretty good at this point although I had expended a lot of energy.

Next up was Steve and although there were no submissions he was able to secure two pins against me. The Juji-gatame’s that I had successfully used against the previous guy were unsuccessful against Steve who has a pretty strong posture. I always have a good tussle with Steve and again we were both knackered afterwards.

Then a new guy called Rob, a white belt, approached me for a roll. As as soon as we started rolling I realised he had done BJJ. He pulled guard and tried to control me but I backed out of it and we started again. I pulled guard and he used a move which I believe BJJ’ers call a “stack pass”, where he put both of his arms outside of my legs and linked his hands together all the while lifting my hips up and basically taking my legs out of the equation. He then shuffled in tight to me and simply pushed my legs to one side so he could pass in to side control. Once there he gave up the chance of a Mune-gatame and went to full mount (tate-shiho-gatame) where he again gave that up to go for the juji-gatame. I recognised what he was doing and was able to defend it but he took my back in the process. If we were doing BJJ he would have certainly got a body lock on me but because that move is illegal in Judo he didn’t and I was able to turn in to him and now I was in his guard. He somehow managed to catch me in a san-gaku-jime, which really annoyed me considering this is my favourite move but again I was able to defend against it by pushing my arm through his legs. Matte was called soon after and although he didn’t submit me I was made to really work. One thing he needs to learn though is that a pin is just as good as a submission in Judo and he gave up two or three pins to go for the armlock. He did confirm to me afterwards that he used to train BJJ somewhere in Sunderland but I don’t know what belt he was. Anyway I hope he keeps coming as he seemed like a nice guy and he has some skills.

Last up was one of the twins. Now the twins are seventeen year old black belts who are national competitors. They are small and light but, certainly when I have done randori with them in the past, very very good. This was the first time I had managed to do newaza with any of them and it appears that their groundwork is also pretty solid. Each roll ended the same way with him passing my guard and pinning me with a version of yoko-shiho-gatame. I did almost catch him in a san-gaku-jime, but he never really looked to be in any trouble and managed to slowly escape.

On to standing randori and Steve was first up. By this point I was really feeling the one month absence from training and was severely gassed. About one minute in I could hardly hold on to Steve’s gi. All I could manage to do was defend and in fact I was able to counter one of Steve’s attempts at a tai-otoshi by throwing him with a tani-otoshi. For the remaining few minutes I was just hanging on and was glad when Sensei called matte. To be honest, even though I managed to throw Steve I was not a good opponent for him as I was largely defensive, due to my exhaustion, and as such I was not happy with my performance.

I managed a few minutes rest and get my breath back before Przemek beckoned me on to the mat. Remembering what Sensei had told me the last time I did randori with Przemek, I tried to move around a lot and create angles. Unfortunately fighting this way expends a lot of energy, something I was severely lacking so after about a minute I found myself in a gripping contest with him, which I was never going to win. I was thrown a couple of times with foot sweeps before a big O-uchi-gari right near the end. Przemek remarked afterwards that I needed to close the distance more on him when attempting my throws and I agree with this. The problem was I was never really able to get a proper grip on him which would have given me the confidence to close the space. One thing that did give me a bit of confidence was that he thought I had improved. It can be hard to gauge ones progress in any sport when the majority of your opponents are considerably better than you. Its only when I get to do randori against the lower grades that you realise how far you have come, especially when you see them huffing and puffing away and straining every muscle in their body as they try in vain to throw you, all the while you are in complete control and hardly breaking a sweat. Maybe I should seek out the odd lower grade now and then just so I can feel good about my Judo.

Back to Dorking next Tuesday and apparently there has been some interest in the beginner’s course which I posted about here. If we can get maybe two new senior members out of it then it would be great.