So after studying the Nage-no-kata video all week I was able to pull it off to a reasonable enough standard to finish off my grading and be awarded with my brown belt last night. Although I’ve always looked at my Judo journey as a marathon and not a sprint and collecting belts was secondary to improving and enjoying what I was doing, I do now feel that I want to progress to black belt as soon as possible as I know that, at 41, it’s not going to get any easier for me. With that in mind I will likely enter my first point scoring competition at the end of February where I will have to compete against other brown belts for the first time. This will be a good litmus test of my actual level as a brown belt but having just received it I will probably struggle at first.
I wore an elbow strap all through the class yesterday which seems to have made a difference to the way my elbow is or isn’t aching the day after. What I need to do between now and the end of February is to improve my fitness levels and stay injury free. Assuming I don’t have any setbacks with my leg I plan to start running next week. Then I’ll do some circuits which will include 1000m rows supersetted with press ups. I figure that will take me about 5 minutes, which is the length of a Judo match in shiai. If I then repeat this 3 times with only a small rest it should hopefully replicate what getting a line up in a dan grading will feel like.
Other than Kata we did plenty of randori in yesterday’s class and I managed to stay on continuously and spar with 6 of the guys. I managed to pull of yoko tomoe nage on 3 different people so this is fast becoming one of my favourite throws. I think I favour the yoko version over the more traditional version as I don’t have to get between ukes legs to pull it off. One of the young orange belts I spared with last night really stood out amongst the class. Even though he is considerably smaller than me he was actually out gripping me and, with his speed and movement, he almost had me a couple of times. I don’t think it will be too long until he is giving me a real problem in randori so I hope he keeps himself motivated to keep training hard.
At the end of the class I was duly presented with my Brown belt by Graeme so I took the opportunity to snap a couple of photos.