Welcome to The Road to Shodan - Yonah Wolf's Judo Blog, a journal of his progress towards obtaining his first-degree black belt (Shodan) in Kodokan Judo.
Yonah shares his insights, tips, tricks, and thoughts as he progresses in the art of Judo and fights his way towards his Black Belt (Shodan).
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The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know
I had two great Judo workouts this week, and with the help of our Dojos black belts, I spotted several flaws in my technique and started working on correcting them. The more I play with Experienced Judoka, the more I realize just how much further I have to go to my shodan. When I returned to Judo last August, my goal was to reach Shodan in 2-3 years. While I haven't shied from that goal, and while I don't believe that it is completely unreachable, I now have a different approach: That I want to work hard to improve my Judo, so that when the time is right, I will be awared my Shodan.
My wife, who knows me like a book, often says that I always try to jump steps - i.e. I'm looking at Shodan instead of at Nikyu, the next level up.
In the early days of this blog, I did some book reviews, including a review of a book written by the current Russian Premier - Vladimir Putin and co-authors Vasiliy Shestakov and Alexei Levitsky (you can read the review here). Although the book is out of print, you can find it on google books - here.
One of the things I really like about the book, is what he refers to as the 'Technical-Tactical Set' (you can see an example for Tai Otoshi on pp. 80-81). For each technique, he shows how to set it up as a sequence both to and from other throws. For example: turn your blocked Tai Otoshi into a Seoinage.
Granted, it's not earth shattering, but when I first saw it, it enabled me, (generally a visual learner) better understand how to follow-up one technique with another and, more importantly, that attacks aren't one off - there's no one swing of the bat, or taking a shot and waiting for a rebound - the attacks are continuous, and need to come in rapid succession.
I captured an interesting moment earlier today during the Zagreb Grand Prix. As I watching the matches streamed on YouTube, There were 3 Israeli women competing simultaneously - poor Shani Hershko (the Israeli women's national coach). The commentators on the broadcast also spoke a bit about the rise of the Israeli Judo team of late, especially the Women. Unfortunately, the Israeli Women's team today didn't perform as well as we would hope - they finished just off of the medal round with two 7th place finishes, and a 5th (with a further two women being knocked out early). The men's team finished a bit better with Tal Flicker and Baruch Shmailov taking Gold and Bronze, respectively, in the Men's -66kg.
Overall, Israel has been progressively improving it's Judo, and unlike in the past where they may have had one or two competitors who had a chance at World or Olympic hardware (think Oren Smada, Yael Arad, Arik Ze'evi), they now have a handful of people who ha…
Even with the current state where I can watch literally all of the Judo World Tour Events live on-line, actually watching them can still be a challenge - primarily because of the timing. Most of the events occur in Asia and Europe, so they're actually happening overnight here in the US.
Generally speaking, at least for the European Events, I can catch some matches in the morning while getting ready. I manage to catch this match above - Canada's Christa DeGuchi vs. reiging Olympic Champ Rafaela Silva of Brazil. While Silva ultimately wins the Match, I love DeGuchi's attack style and energy. She brings the fight to Silva and has her fighting defensively most of the match. Fighting Silva is not new to DeGuchi as she defeated the -57kg favorite back at the 2013 Tokyo GS to win the Bronze Medal. But then DeGuchi did something interesting - she switched countries - from Japan to Canada. (Her father is Canadian and her mother is Japanese). Doing so meant having to sit out of Wo…