Thursday, 28 March 2013


It’s been a particularly busy period at work over the last couple of weeks which is why I haven’t blogged for a while. Seeing as I stare at a computer screen all day the last thing I want to do after training is to sit in front of my Laptop and stare at a computer screen some more. I am however still training and slowly working my way through the blue belt grading syllabus. I was hoping to have gotten a nice new blue belt before the Easter break but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. But Graeme spoke to me this week and assured me that we would finish it soon after the Easter break.

Dorking Judo club is now closed for a couple of weeks but I’ll be training at Yoshin Ryu tonight, although I’m unlikely to get the chance to blog about it, unless of course I manage to throw Przemek for Ippon. I haven’t yet decided where I’ll be training next week as I need to consult my diary (the Wife) first but expect to see me back to blogging as usual.

One last thing, I’ve been promised a gi to review from Black Eagle, not sure yet whether this is going to be a single or double weave (hopefully a double) so I’ll review that after I’ve worn and washed it several times.

Friday, 15 March 2013


It was an interesting lesson on Tuesday as my partner for most of the class was Andrew who has only just begun his Judo journey. What was interesting was that a lot of what he was doing was how I used to do things a few years ago. For instance, in randori he only really tried Osoto-otoshi , the first throw most of us are shown, but he never stepped in far enough with his left leg and never unbalanced me enough to be successful with this throw. Instead I was able to simply stiffen my leg and make him slowly fall to the ground with an Osoto-otoshi of my own.  I can see why this is one of the first throws they teach to beginners as it encourages the thrower to use movement and kuzushi. Done static it’s fairly simple, however the throw becomes a lot more complex when trying to throw someone who doesn’t want to be thrown and normally ends up with the thrower being countered with the same throw. In fact in all my time doing Judo I can’t remember ever successfully pulling off this throw as a direct attack.  Any success I’ve had with it is usually as a counter or combination.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Aneta Szczepanska Seminar – Yoshin Ryu

I was informed a couple of weeks by Przemek that Aneta Szczepanska, 1996 Olympic Silver Medallist, would be taking two classes at Croydon Judo club on the 2nd and 3rd of March and also an additional class at Yoshin Ryu on Monday the 4th. Luckily I was able to attend the Monday night class at Yoshin Ryu. Upon arrival I counted 40 people on the mats, which is as many as I have ever seen.

Aneta was accompanied by her Coach, Roman Stawisinski and Przemek acted as translator due to her limited English. Following the warm up we were told that she would be focussing on Uchi-mata, which was one of her favourite competition throws, and all the little details surrounding this technique. Uchi-mata just so happens to be one of my favoured techniques due to my long legs but I am fully aware that I do a rather lazy version of this throw and usually end up having to hop a few times to complete it. We started with the entry to the throw which resembled the following video:

We really got to drill this entry for quite a while, which was good as it felt natural when we then progressed on to the full throw. Something which Roman Stawisinski picked up on was that I was to close with my entry. What I needed to do was pull uke on to me and drive up with my right or collar hand. This made uke a lot more off balance and helped with getting uke airborne unlike how I normally do it:

Not the cleanest looking Uchi-mata, although I did get the ippon.

We progressed on to the San-gaku turn over which despite favouring San-gaku-jime off my back I’ve never really practised it from this position. Again I got some excellent instruction from Roman and by the end I was making my Uke tap fairly quickly.

We then managed a few rounds of randori each but as there were 40 of us we were restricted to 3 x 1 minute rounds. For my last fight I paired up with Przemek and I almost threw him with O-uchi-gari but as we were near the wall, finishing the throw would mean dumping him against it so I pulled out of it and let him off. He repaid my kindness by dumping me with a big Uchi-mata right at the end to a chorus of boos from the rest of the club who were watching and disproving of him beating up a lowly green belt.

Before the class finished Aneta called out one of our GB squad members as Uke so that she could show us some nice counters to throws. Despite the best efforts of Uke to throw her she was able to counter really quickly everything that was thrown at her. I found this video which shows her countering with her favoured Uchi-mata in competition, which gives you an idea of just how good she is.

And here is her final match in the 1996 Olympic games which to be fair I think she was unluckily not to have won with a other brilliant Ko-uchi-gari counter at 35 seconds

A very enjoyable class tonight and a special thank you to Przemek for translating and helping put together all three of the seminars.

From left to right: Sensei Neil, Stuart, Aneta, Sensei Errol, Roman