Skip to main content

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



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019

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 …

Tel-Aviv GP 2019 - Day 2 (We'll take one of each)

There was no less excitement on Day 2 of the Tel-Aviv GP. After a disappointing hardware-less day for the Israeli men's team on Thursday, they wanted so desperately to get off of the schneid, and the hometown fans would not be disappointed.

Israel took home 3 medals on Friday - Bronze in the men's -73, Silver in the Women's -63, and Gold in the Men's -81.

In the -73 category, Tohar Butbul took a tour of North America - beating the Candian Bouchard and the American Turner by Ippon - Bouchard with Osoto Gari 3 minutes in, and Turner on a Wazari from a Seoinage 23 seconds into Golden Score. He was cruising in the quarter finals, up by a Wazari with the seconds ticking away - but was thrown by Tajikistan's Khojazoda literally as time ran out - forcing him into the repechage. He ultimately won the Bronze by beating Nils Stump of Switzerland

In the -63 category, Inbal Shemesh, despite being the World #37, fought some good battles and came away with the Silver, ultimately…

Change of Scenery, Same Good Luck

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…