Welcome to The Road to Nidan - Yonah Wolf's Judo Blog, a journal of his progress towards obtaining his second-degree black belt (Nidan) in Judo.
Yonah shares his insights, tips, tricks, and thoughts as he progresses in the art of Judo and fights his way towards his next Black Belt (Nidan).
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.
Day 3, the final day of the Tel-Aviv GP saw the home team end it on a high note. Rio Bronze Medalist Ori Sasson took gold in the -100 category, obviously winning the last medal in the last match on home soil has it's own emotional advantages, but he managed to win it in the weirdest of ways - With two of his opponents being disqualified sandwiching two resounding ippon throws. In his first match, which went a full 3 minutes into Golden Score, he outlasted Russia's Shakhbazov on penalties. In his next match, Ukraine's Kolesnyk only lasted 23 seconds, before Sasson threw him with a resounding Morote Seoinage (as a big guy myself, there's no greater satisfaction than the thud of your opponent on the mat that indicates a sure ippon). In the semi-final, the Azeri - Kokauri, managed to last a full two-minutes before being thrown by Sasson with Kouchi Gari for Ippon. Leaving only the other Ukrainian - Yakiv Khammo - between Ori and the final Gold for Israel. It would take nea…
The Paris Grand Slam was held last weekend, and as the first Grand Slam event of the year, it didn't disappoint (at least for the people who won medals), and as an added bonus, IJF President Marius Vizer hosted a twitter Q and A.
Because we're talking about Paris, and France, we need to start with the French Team - or should I say the French Women. According to an article on the IJF site, this is the First time since 1971 that a French male Judoka hasn't gotten a podium spot at the Paris GS. But you know who did get a Podium spot - Clarisse Abegnounou. The hometown star won her fifth Paris GS title in spectacularly dramatic fashion - by beating Tina Trestenjak of Slovenia 3 minutes deep into Golden Score, and throwing out her shoulder in the process (you can watch her moment of glory in the video below)
I also want to give a shout out to both Devin Waldenburg (-60) and Ebony Drysdale Daley (-70) who became the first Jamaicans to compete in an IJF World Tour event.
So I haven't posted anything in six weeks, and yet I still hope I have some loyal readers left. April has proven to be a busy month for me - I am about to switch jobs, and I took a two-week vacation as well. April was also a great month in Judo for me, as my Son passed his Yellow belt test.
He also executed a picture perfect ippon seoinage in a 'Mock Shiai'. My wife, who seldom comes to practice, was very impressed. Although he'll be playing some baseball over the next few weeks, he will be coming back to Judo soon, and is excited about working towards his orange belt.
The other day, we were at a family get-together, and one of his cousins was bullying him a bit, hitting him a couple of times. Mitch stepped in and was about to throw the kid with O-Uchi Gari just as my wife, the kids' mom, and I intervened. At first, I scolded him. But when I realized he was defending himself, I apologized, and told him that if that happens again, throw the kid, pin him and call for h…