Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Do one thing, and do it well

I was pretty tired last night, and my wife was getting on me to forgo judo for my honey-do list. But then I realized that I promised to be more committed to practicing (especially with the impending baby and all) and I decided to go.

For the first time in a long time, 90% of the people there were even matches - all brown belts, all within +/- 2 inches of me in height and within +/- 1 weight class (i.e. 15-20 lbs). While I threw and was thrown, I did manage a couple of good things:

  1. My O-Uchi Gari Technique is improving, becoming more fluid and more effective, and I used it successfully several times last night
  2. My Uchimata is improving too, and I threw someone with a really nice Ken-Ken Uchimata.
All of this, is due, in part to my continued use of my favorite combination - O-Uchi into Uchimata or Uchimata into O-Uchi. I use this a lot, because I tend to fight in Kenka Yotsu. Of course, by now, all of my dojo mates know this, and some can take advantage of it, but as my technique improves - both in the mechanics of the throws, as well as in the number of entries and the timing - I hit it with more efficiency.

Sensei suggested that I work on my timing and continue improving the way I move on the mat. I also mentioned to him that I feel like a one-combination kind of guy, and he suggested that he would work with me on incorporating Hiza Guruma into my repetoire.

Still I am glad that this combination technique is becoming more mature. In addition to adding one or two more combos, I need to continue to improve this combination too.

While Sensei Watanabe has been working with me a lot on some of my techniques, I would have to say that some of my alternative gripping and entry ideas have come from the book -' Ashiwaza II' - by Mike Swain. I will hopefully be getting a book review up in the near future.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Helping out, and going over the Radar

I went to my son's class yesterday, and at my Sensei's request, put on my Gi to help him run the class. I spent a lot of time working with my son and the 4-6 year old group in teaching them some of the basics of throws '1,2, and 3' (one of our Sensei's teaching methods, which I like, is that he numbers throws. Ultimately, each student will need to learn the names, but for the little kids, the numbers make it easier to learn. 1= O Soto Gari, 2=O-Goshi, 3=Ippon Seoi Nage). Of course, my son is the hardest to get to listen. Still it was very fun to participate, and challenging, because I needed to take moves that I have been doing for years and do without thinking, and then break them down step-by-step for little kids. (For example, I was teaching them Zenpo Kaiten - the forward roll- and I had to remember which hand to use with which foot forward.

I want to think that I was helpful. One of the parents, who is an on again off again player in our club, indicated that he hopes to get to practice more often, and thinks I could teach him a thing or two. Judging by his son's (a 7-year-old white belt) abilities, he must be a pretty good teacher himself, and I don't know if he was being polite or serious, but it was nice ego stroke nonetheless.

Another parent, who also is/was a regular at Oishi's, said he went to a birthday party recently and learned about my blog. I don't know if this is a good or a bad thing, as I am sure that what I write here can affect some people's opinions about me and my Judo abilities. The talmud says that silence is a sign of Intelligence, because even if you're an idiot, no one can tell until you open your mouth. I've had my mouth running on this blog for almost 3 years, so I must either look like a genius, a fool or a little bit of both.

Learning Discipline Already

When my son started Judo last week, one of my pre-Judo admonitions was not to use it outside of the Dojo. I did this for two reasons - one, I didn't want this to turn him agressive, and two, I know that if he did this one too many times either the principal or his mother would have prompted me to pull him out (Just like my own parents did to me when they felt that I was being too aggressive in my karate class as a kid).

Last night, he turns to me and says "Daddy, I'm sorry, but I didn't listen to you." I was stunned, and I asked what he had done, he informed me that he used O-Goshi on his friend Ben. While I admonished him, I also told him how proud I was of him that he told me this, and finished by explaining to him that part of the trick of learning Judo isn't learning what techniques to use when, but rather when not to use any techniques at all.

Monday, September 17, 2007

How do you say Nachas in Japanese?

Nachas, is a Yiddish word which loosely translated means 'parental pride'. What relevance does this have to Judo? Well, yesterday my oldest took his first Judo lesson, and I have enough Nachas to fill a size 8 Judo Gi!

In the picture at right, my Sensei is teaching my son how to grip, as a precursor to learning O-Soto-Gari. I was such a happy dad yesterday, as he put on his gi and started to learn. While he showed moments of frustration (i.e. when he didn't get the throw concept right away, or when he lost in Sumo wrestling), there were enough bright spots - a couple of sumo wins, 'throwing' sensei, and even a 'win' in Randori (thanks to a very nice orange belt).

The highlight for me was him using Ko-Soto-Gake in Randori, even though he was only taught O-Soto, O-Goshi, and Ippon Seoinage!

Originally, I was concerned that he wouldn't enjoy it, or that he wouldn't stay focused for a two-hour class. He has attention issues (yes, all 5 year-olds, especially boys, have attention issues, but his are a bit more pronounced), and I worried that he wouldn't even make it through the first class. But my fears were quickly allayed by the smile on his face, and how he quickly made friends with the other boys and girl (just one of them) in his group.

Now my biggest fear isn't so much that he'll like it so much that he'll use it against his little brother - or worse, in school. I think I need to have the 'Judo is for the Dojo' talk with him.