Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sensei Braziel in the Spotlight

The director of Alumni Relations at my Alma Mater
just e-mailed me this link about my first Judo Sensei - Maureen Braziel. I knew that Sensei Braziel was one of the first women to compete under a US banner, I didn't know that she was one of the catalysts for Women's Judo.

I learned a lot from Sensei Braziel, and its great to see her and reminisce whenever I meet her at an alumni event or at a Judo tournament. I remember how I wound up taking Judo in college. I really wanted to take Karate, and I signed up for it, but unfortunately, there wasn't enough interest. Sensei Braziel was the Assistant AD at the time, and asked if I would be interested in Judo instead. I was a little reluctant at first, but I decided to give it a shot. That was 1994. For the next 7 semesters, I was a full-fledged member of the Judo team and club. Then I took a break. In 2004 I returned to Judo and shortly thereafter started this blog, and the rest, they say, is history. But I am forever grateful to Sensei Braziel for getting me started.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Now you can subscribe by e-mail too...

I'm sure that many of you noticed how I've been playing around with my blog lately. I have been experimenting with new technologies to help promote my blog and get it read by more people. That's why, I've added two new tools to the blog. By clicking the link to the right, you can now subscribe to my blog via e-mail. Simply click the link and follow the directions. If you have a favorite RSS reader that you like, you can click the FeedBurner icon to the left to subscribe via RSS as well.

Judo Wishlist

As I've often opined, there isn't that much in the way of Judo Gear beyond a Gi. And as it stands right now, I have three gis that I am loving, and will probably not have a need for replacement anytime soon. However, there are definitely two items that I would like to buy, pending spousal approval:

Mizuno's Gear Bag / Backpack - My current Judo bag is starting to slowly fall apart, and it won't be long before I might need to replace it. The bag I have now is actually a Callaway golf bag that my wife got from a vendor of her company. It's a great bag, nice and sturdy, but the wear and tear of shlepping wet double-weave gis in it for three years has taken its toll. A few of my friends have the Mizuno bag, and love it. It can hold a lot - up to two gis, and it seems to be pretty sturdy, but most of all, it will be a lot easier to spot on a baggage carousel at the airport.

Swain Sports Roll-up Judo Mat - The folks over at Swain Sports have developed a roll-up Tatami that always lies flat when you roll it out. My basement (an ongoing project) is almost done, and this would be a welcome addition. They sell a 5' x10'x1.25" version of the mat which, although not big enough for Randori, might be good enough for me to use when practicing Kata moves, (one throw at a time) and perfecting my rollouts.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Teaching by Doing

One of the many things that I have been reluctant to do in Judo is teach. Maybe its due to my lack of confidence in my technique (or at least in my ability to teach technique), but I think, somehow, that I am getting better at it.


On Monday night, we had two teenagers in class. I was working with one of them, and I noticed that her O-Uchi-Gari needed a little help. So I offered up some advice to her about how to make body contact and 'drive' to effect Kuzushi, and make her throw much more powerful and effective. I then told her to throw me ten times with her throw. Of course heads were turning to see me getting thrown by this young girl who was half my age, 8 inches shorter and at least 85 or 90 lbs. lighter. But her throws were much better, and I was proud.


Later that night, in a round of ne-waza Randori, I was going with one of our black belts and I kept winding up turtled or prone. Even though he managed to tap me out a couple of times, I managed to take him on his back from the turtle. Sensei reminded me that although I shouldn't get down on my back in the first place, that my agility and use of momentum was very good for getting me out of sticky situations. This led to a short discussion about how to feel out your opponents weight and balance to reverse being in the turtle.


I love practices like these, because they make me feel as if I am, in fact, progressing, and that at least some of what I've learned is accurate enough that I can teach it to others.