Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Empire State Games - Go Chuck!

As I opened up my newspaper this morning, I was pleasantly surprised to find my one of my dojomates on the front cover of the sports section. Accompanying his picture was an article about the upcoming Empire State Games. Chuck and I would practice Kata together last semester (my Judo club is in a community college, so we're on their schedule), and we were also occasionally partners for Randori. Chuck is a great competitor who has energy to burn and never gives up, and he's fared well at the last couple of competitions he's played in, and I know he'll do well!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Nice Write-Up on Silicon Valley Judo

USA Judo, has declared Silicon Valley Judo as their spotlight club for the month of June. Back in October of 2004, I was in Santa Clara on Business, and I had the honor of being their first guest. It's nice to see that the club has grown, and is flourishing. I really enjoyed working out with Dan and Lorne, and wish them the best of luck.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Blog problems

I have been having some blog problems of late. As a result, my blog might be down for a little bit over the next couple of days. Thanks for your patience!

Trying to get back into shape

It's hard to believe that I have been back in Judo for almost 3 years now. The original motivation for my return to Judo was my weight and general health. I was just shy of my 30th birthday, and at 5'11", I was way too heavy at 225-230 lbs. For the better part of 2004, I tried to work on my weight. I went to the gym 4-5 days a week for an hour, but saw very little, if any results. I also tried changing my eating habits as well, but that too wasn't helping.

I needed inspiration, I needed an idea. I sat down and thought to myself - I need to think back to when I was most physically fit. It all came back to my college days at Polytechnic University. When I was at Poly, I was on the Judo team, and I practiced Judo for 6-8 hours a week. That was the best workout of my life, and furthermore, those 2-2.5 hour practices were productive, because they were guided. Unlike the gym, where I really had little direction, Judo worked great because for those two hours I had an excellent workout that was both aerobic and anaerobic at the same time.

I found Oishi's dojo, and convinced my wife that this would work, at the same time, I started the south beach diet. Thinks went off on the right foot. For the first 16 months or so (8/04 to 12/05) everything was on track, I went to Judo 2x a week, and kept on the diet. I went from 230 to 190. I was in the best shape of my life. I was getting compliments from all of my friends and family about my new look, and I had more energy at home and at work. But then, it all crashed down.

In December of 05, I went to Florida for a week on vacation, and I didn't watch what I ate. By the time I came back, I had jumped over the 200 marker for the first time in over a year. I thought, no sweat, I'll get back to under 200 without a problem. But the winter of 06' brought me additional responsibilities at work, and that translated into less Judo for me. No Judo=No exercise, and I ballooned.

By this past January (2007), I was back at 215. I needed to stop the weight gain. I went back to Judo at a new Dojo near my home. I have been taking a night class regularly now, but my weight hasn't dropped dramatically. (I weighed in at 218 this morning).  I've been a bit depressed over the past few weeks about this. The primary reason being that my wife is expecting our 3rd child soon, and I promised that I would lose a pound for everyone one she gained. 

Why am I telling all of you this? Why am I sharing this with the world? (or at least the few that read my blog)? Because I want your encouragement, I want your support, I want you to pledge your weight loss too!

That being said, here are my goals:

1. To get down to 195 lbs (23 lbs of weight loss) in the next 3 months - 9/18. This gives me plenty of time before the baby is born.

2. I bought a suit a little over a year ago, and I can't fit into it. I haven't even had it tailored at all (i.e. the pants are unhemmed). I want to be able to fit into this suit for the Jewish Holidays.

3. Maintain a schedule of at least 7 Judo classes a month - 2x a week, with a little leeway for missing one or two.


What am I doing to achieve these goals:

- I started Rhadi's Backyard Workout

- I am going to Judo once at week at Watanabe's and hopefully at Oishi's once a week

- I have started to watch what I eat, and doing my best to refrain from snacking (not so easy when every visit from my parents or in-laws comes with cookies for the kids!)

Look for updates on my progress every Monday! 

Friday, June 15, 2007

Oishi's new digs and Sensei Dave

As I posted earlier, my old dojo, Oishi's just moved to a new space a couple of weeks ago. I refer to Oishi's as my old dojo, because I haven't been there in a while. I used to go to their afternoon classes, during my lunch break, but ultimately, after getting a lot more responsibility at work, taking two hours off in the middle of the day twice a week became less of an option. While Oishi's dojo was close to my office, it was not close enough from home for me to attend his evening classes.

Thankfully I have found that Sensei Watanabe's classes fit my schedule and are 5 minutes from home. But I still miss my lunchtime Oishi Crowd. So I went down to the new dojo today to say hi and check it out. As it turns out, the new dojo is even closer to my office and I also discovered that I have a handful of classes left on my account (you can pay per class or pay per year at Oishi's). So I think that I will have to go work out there once a week!

Lurking on the Judoforum, I found that another person from Oishi's has a blog - Andy Lee (who I've never met, because he's a night guy, and I am a day guy). I starting reading the posts and he had one about Sensei Dave Williams.

In addition to being a great guy and a great sensei himself, Oishi has been blessed with a Yudansha of down-to-earth individuals who are also great teachers. One of those people is Sensei Williams. Dave is not only a great teacher, but a great motivator too. He pushes you to your limits, and helps you find elements of strength and courage that you didn't know you had.

I remember one practice last September where I went to Sensei Dave's class. I was the lowest ranked person there, and everyone was gearing up for a tournament. It became a giant randori session. I was fighting people with more experience. At first, I was getting thrown like a bean bag and wanted to give up. Dave wouldn't let me. By the time I hit round three, I was hitting throws with better accuracy that I ever had.

I guess this is why I generally only hear good things about Oishi's - because he's surrounded himself with some excellent people.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Some Judo Blogs that I have been reading

Although I am definitely not the first Judo Blogger, it seems that the trend has waxed and waned over the years. I figured now that I am posting again, I thought I would share a handful of the blogs I've come across recently:

http://www.taraje.com - Taraje Williams-Murray's Blog. Taraje is a member of the US National Team, and also an NYC Judoka (clearly, he is a lot more serious about it than I am).

http://www.joninjapan.com - Jon Roberts Blog - Jon is a Canadian Judoka who is spending the year studying Judo in Japan.

Sometimes its harder being an Uke

Last night I was asked to be the uke for a friend prepping his Nage-No-Kata test. In all forms of practice short of Kata, being an uke is quite easy. You just show up and play dumb, with the ocassional jump or movement to make your Tori look good. But in Kata, being the Uke is a lot of work.

Unlike the katas in most Karate styles, which are performed solo, Judo's katas are all performed with a partner. (More than that, depending on the level of Black Belt you are shooting for, you need to show kata proficiency as either tori, uke, or both!). While I might get flamed for saying so, Kata in a sense is like a dance - each partner has a role, and each partner needs to learn it.

For Shodan (1st degree BB. AFAIK, in the US) you need to perform Nage-No-Kata as Tori. Interestingly enough, performing it as Uke is required for Nidan (2nd degree), and now that I am familiar with it, I understand why that was done!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Oishi's New Dojo

My old Dojo, Oishi's, just moved to a new location. I really miss my lunchtime classes at Oishi's. We had a really good bunch of Judoka, and it was a great break in middle of the workday, especially when the politics was getting to me. I have to go down and bring Oishi Sensei a dojo-warming gift.

Am I wrong, or was this a good thing to do?

A friend of mine is going for his Kata Exam for Shodan. He spent all of last night's session practicing Nage-No-Kata. About 5 minutes before the end of the session, the Sensei had him and his uke (a newly minted Shodan himself) to demonstrate Nage-No-Kata. I have only been practicing Kata for a few short months, so clearly I am no expert, but I couldn't help but notice something - whenever he was slightly off - whether I could tell it or not, his face showed it.


Obviously, as someone who has never stood for a Kata Exam, I have no experience to talk from here. But I politely pointed out to him that I noticed this. He was thankful, but I walked away feeling like I was a jerk for saying something?


Was I out of line, or was I in the right place?


You tell me? Comment!