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).
I am getting a wee bit nervous, as I only have two weeks left to go to the Shiai. My wife asked me yesterday if I thought I would win, and I said that I honestly didn't know. I am competing in the novice seniors division. The main reason I chose the novice division is simply because since the Black Belt pool had a $500 cash prize, and because 3 people who had strong showings at the nationals (Higashi, St. Leger and Mikolacz (sp?)) are in my weight division and live and train in the NYC area. Seeing that this is my first tourney back, I want to keep it simple and play the novices - I could mop up, if there are few brown belts in the division and my experience conquers the lower ranks, or I could get my lunch handed to me by a quicker, younger yellow belt with one good throw.
In any case, it should be exciting. I am going to focus my Randori this week on solidfying my gameplan.
Well folks, this has been a crazy year in Judo. A year that saw siblings win gold medals at a world tour event. A year that saw returning favorites and rising upstarts and dozens of awesome ippons.
It was a year of peace and friendship in Judo - If I told you 12 months ago that we'd see the Israeli flag hoisted in Abu Dhabi while their national anthem played in the backgroumd, or that a unified Korean team would compete at the World Championships in Baku - you would've thought highly unlikely that either one of those would come true, yet alone both.
It was also a great Judo year for me personally. After a few years of spotty practice due to various life events, I've finally got back to practicing regularly. I've also got back to blogging regularly (well, semi-regularly). I am always amazed that people are reading my blog, and I just want you to know that I appreciate it.
Happy Holidays and Best wishes for a great 2019.
For your viewing pleasure - below is a video the …
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…