Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Learning by doing... Learning by watching...


So last week I went on a business trip to California, and I decided to find a dojo to work out in on the road. Fortunately, my hotel was a block away from San Jose State University, and their Judo team has an open-door practice policy. So I couldn't resist. All told, there were about 25-30 people in the room playing and practicing Judo. It was a great Judo experience for me.

First some words about the SJSU Judo team. They are probably one of the few colleges in the US that takes Judo as a sport seriously. Even though the team's members are students first, they are also excellent and first-rate Judoka, and many of them have competed and won at high-level events. It was amazing to see so many young, enthusiastic and athletic Judoka hard at work.

While I bowed out of the full randori session, I still managed to get one round in with a Japanese student named Kento - his ashi-waza was beautiful. It's as if wherever I stepped, his feet were there. I also admired the skill students' (and one of their coaches, Chuck Jefferson's) techniques during randori.

I realized that becoming a good Judoka requires a lot of training and hard work as well as good work ethic and the will to improve. These 'kids' practice 5 days a week, and also alternate running and weight training days, all told, they probably workout around 4 hours total per day, for five days a week! I again reminded myself that I really need to supplement my Judo with some other excercise - if only I could find the time.

I would be lying if I didn't say that I felt like the white elephant in the room (all but 3 other people were black belts, and excluding the sensei, I was the oldest in the room by at least 5 years). But they all made me feel right at home, and everyone seemed to want to practice with the new guy. The greatest part of it all was that I learned so much -


  • We did some great drills for controlling and escaping from various grips. I quickly found that Sukui Nage is a good attack against an over the back grip.
  • I watched Keith Nakasone teach a great variation on Tomoe Nage using the weak-side leg.
  • I learned a great counter to drop-seoinage - so I can finally counter those people who always try drop seoi.

It was truly an amazing experience, and I hope to get out there again if I find myself in San Jose



Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Trying to get back into the saddle

Wow - after a month of Jewish Holidays, and schedule changes with me now driving carpool at least once a week. I have finally gone back to Judo. Before yesterday, I had played about 2-3 times in 8 weeks! (and one of those was a tourney). I am still sore from not working out and still about 7 lbs heavier (all that holiday food).

Practice was good, I am taking to heart some of the things that my Senseis mentioned to me at the shiai, and working on my strengths. I also noticed two other things:

  1. The lower belts got better while I was away.
  2. I need to play to my strengths as well as work on new tricks, because I am becoming predictable.



I also need to adjust my schedule. I don't think that I can swing two daytime practices anymore, which means I will need to convince my wife that to let me workout at night once every three weeks or so.

If I can still workout twice during the day once in 3 weeks, I will get 5 practices in in every 3 weeks.

I hope that I can pull this off.