Skip to main content

Switching Sides

About 2 years ago, after competing (and losing all 3 of my matches) in a tournament, I asked my Sensei for some feedback. His advice was super helpful, but the one thing that stood out was that he noticed, that as dominant lefty, somewhere in middle of one of my matches I switched to playing right-handed. He told me that I should have stayed lefty and played to my strengths. I explained to him that the reason why I didn't play left-handed was because my opponent was holding down his right lapel to prevent me from getting a grip (My sensei pointed out that this is illegal according to tournament rules, and he should have received a Shido penalty, but he did it discretely so that the refs didn't notice). Nonetheless, I continued to practice the left-sided technique even harder, to the point where I almost exclusively fight left-handed at tournaments and Randori.

There is a lot of benefit to being a lefty in Judo. Opposing grips make it easier for me to get in closer to my opponents (and vice versa as well). In addition, many Judoka do not practice throws from both sides, and even when they do, they don't practice their throws against an opposing grip! In Uchikomi, for example, when I switch sides to practice the opposite side techniques, my uke usually switches sides too - unless I tell him not to.

This puts me at a psychological advantage - at least with people of equal experience and skill. I often find people are more reluctant to let me take my grip than to allow my grip and test the waters so to speak.

Needless to say, after some time, people catch on. I noticed on many an occasion in Randori that as my opponents were trying to thwart my left-handed gripping, they would open themselves up to right-handed techniques - but, being out of practice, its hard to capitalize.

That coupled with the fact that the makeup of our dojo for the summer is heavy on people smaller, lighter, and less-experienced than myself, (Please, I am not trying to be arrogant. I am a 5'10.5", 215 lb, Brown-belt, I have gone up against green and yellow belts who are much shorter and weigh at least 50 lbs less) I have started to play right-handed against them. I think that this works out well for both of us because, as beginners, they can simply go out and practice their right-hand techniques, and not be thrown off by my grip. It also takes away some of my experience advantages, because I haven't played righty in a while. I think that this is a great example of mutual benefit and welfare.

 

Hopefully after a few more weeks, I will feel confident to switch sides against the big folks, and the brown and black belt squad.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Catch-all Post for April

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

Social Media and Youtube

Not sure who is following this blog these days, but I have noticed that my pages get about 50-100 hits (I hope that there are a few real people and not just bots). I have also launched an instagram account as well - you can find me here - https://instagr.am/theroadtoshodan I have also been trying to get to watching some Judo videos on YouTube, a couple of channels that I like are: Dojo Outfitters -  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT-lZUImP2-eOW6Y8GBCbhw  (they have a mix of Judo and JJ videos, but I find both sets useful). Efficient Judo -  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1CsWk5MTssfFt6rb7CXKKA There is also a great instagram account from Israel that does these excellent matrix-style breakdowns for ground work -  https://www.instagram.com/timura_bjj/ All three are worth checking out, and please follow us on IG. Thanks for reading.

2019 Paris GS Round Up and bits from Viszer's Q and A

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