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Showing posts from November, 2007

Tough Love is Good Medicine

So I walked into practice last night (about 20 minutes late, as I needed to calm the baby down before leaving), and my Sensei's first question is 'so? how did you do? Where's my trophy?'. I will admit I was actually thinking of bringing the trophy with me, I decided against bringing it. I started to talk about everyone else's wins. 'No', said Sensei, 'I want to know about you.' When I told him I finished third he was pleased, but then I told him there were only three people in my division. He jokingly said that I was dragging his name down. But I explained that I knew that I played well but still have some work to do. I jumped into practice, acting as uke for someone's Sankyu test. This kid is actually one of the people who is from Sensei's credit class (all of the 'club' classes are non-credit, but then matriculating students at the college can take his for credit class as well), and when he passed sensei mentioned how Judo took him…

Sometimes, even your best isn't good enough...

So as you can surmise from the title, I didn't get very far in today's tournament. I had two matches, both against brown belts who I felt were my equals in size and skill. I played really well in my first match. I opened the match by trying O-Uchi My first attempt didn't succeed, but it succeeded in planting a seed in my opponent's head to watch out for the O-Uchi. The next time I came in, he reacted to the O-Uchi, and I caught him with Uchimata. He pulled me a little off balance when I threw him, but I didn't hear a call from the ref, and was perplexed that I didn't get at least a Yuko. I found out after the match that I had a Wa-zari! In fact one of my teammates thought I was robbed of an Ippon, but truth be told, I am glad to hear the technique worked. But then I made my mistake. I came in for a third time and I got countered with Ko soto Gake. Second Match, I tried my technique again. My opponent must have been paying close attention to my first match, beca…

Grandpa's Approval; Tidbits

Because I competed yesterday, I had my dad take my son to the kids' class yesterday. He was impressed with the skill and patience Sensei exercised with my son. He also told me that my son has very little Zitsfleisch (A Yiddish term for patience or attention span). I explained to him that as bad as my son might have seemed yesterday, his attention span has grown exponentially over the past two months since he started Judo.My son also mentioned that he had a new 'partner' in class, as one more younger sibling of one of our current students started Judo. In addition to that, at the tournament I ran into two more dojomates - one who's family just returned from a few months overseas, and one who's son is turning six -  that they are going to enroll their kids for the next semester. This is awesome, I love that the kids class is growing, and that the number of kids the same age as my son is growing too. Sensei is looking to add a second kids class during the week, which …

Father and Son - Growing as Judoka

I am always trying to learn and grow in Judo and trying to help others do so, including my son. My son is only 5, he has the attention span to match. A lot of his teachers and such suggested he try martial arts, and I am glad (in more ways than one) that he and I can practice at the same dojo, and even more so that I get to be on the mat with him. He has a phenomenal memory, and hardly forgets a thing you teach him, although Judo can be confusing for him. Nonetheless, his memory for techniques and their names is pretty impressive for a five-year-old. This past Sunday, our Sensei announced that we would be having a Club Shiai in a few weeks, and since some of the kids don't compete that often, he turned Randori into a mock Shiai to educate them on the rules.

While he'd never competed before, and was only at one of my matches, he was somewhat familiar with the rules. When my son was about three, I used to play the Osaekomi game with him. I would pin him gently on his back and say…

Attack Life

Well I started this month off with a bang by posting a couple of times a week, but it has quickly gotten hectic. I have been doing my best to both post and practice but with a new (and colicky) baby at home, it can be kind of rough. The last few weeks I've intended to go to practice on Monday and Wednesday nights, but on each Monday I get greeted with a 3-minute voicemail of a screaming baby - which precludes me from going to Wednesdays practice. I told my wife that I need the extra practice for the next few weeks for several reasons, the least of which is my upcoming Shiai this weekend (I will post results right after). I hope I do well, especially because I've been thin on practicing. The last few weeks have been really hectic. While my nights have not quite been sleepless thanks to my loving, and awesome wife (who lets me sleep because I need to go to work, and because I don't have the 'equipment' to feed our son anyways), I have definitely been running on much …

Learning in order to do...

There is an old Talmudic adage that goes something like this:He who learns in order to teach will be able to learn and teach, but he who learns in order to do will be able to learn, to teach, to preserve, and to do.(Avot 4:6, in case you're wondering)I've always applied this to my learning of anything, and especially Judo. The idea here is that the study of Judo isn't just academic, but part of our lives in more ways than one. I once commented on the JudoForum, that Judo creeps into my life in the strangest of ways - for example, I sometimes find myself using foot-sweeps to open doors when I don't have a free hand.As I get more senior, and as I help out in the kids class, I am seeing this more and more with my own eyes. The techniques that I had the hardest time with as a beginner, and the ones that I spent the most time learning and working on, are the techniques that I enjoy teaching the most. All of the advice that I never took until I learned the hard way has becom…

Losing makes me want to learn more!

I had a couple of tough workouts this week. In addition to the one on Monday that I wrote about, I went to Oishi's on Wednesday. I spent several minutes in Ne-Waza Randori with a Brown Belt who seemed to be able to twist me every which way he wanted. I think he must have tapped me out about 8-10 times in a 20 minute span, and the best I could do was pin him for maybe 5-10 seconds tops. I asked if he was a BJJer, and he said 'something like that'. Needless to say, I was greatly outmatched.

If that had been anything else but Judo, I might be having doubts about why I keep going. But nonetheless, I kept on going. Stronger and harder each time. I might have magnified my mistakes, but at least at the end of the workout, I knew that I had a lot of work to do, and that gave me more motivation for next week. Judo does that to you. It gets under your skin, and makes you want to work harder and practice more.

Regardless, It was nice to go back to Oishi's and see some of my old bud…

Toraki Judo Shorts Review

When someone thinks of Judo gear, there isn't much to think about beyond a gi and a belt (unless, of course, you want to list the various neoprene bandages for each joint that you have in your Judo bag). Nonetheless, there are people who make a lot of Judo-inspired products that might never see the light of day inside of a dojo. One such product is Toraki's Judo Shorts.Toraki Judo shorts are basically shorts made out of Gi Pants. Their black, and according to the folks at toraki, don't necessary match your Judo Gi size (For example, I wear a size 4.5 gi, but the shorts were a 3.5) because Judogi are a bit baggier to meet competition rules. I bought these during the summer and have been wearing them since. They're very comfortable, and are great for working out in around the house, since they offer the same freedom of movement as gi pants do. Granted their not cheap (for the $25 they charge for the shorts I could easily buy two or three pairs of sweat shorts at a sporti…

Getting Served up some Humble Pie

So I show up at practice last night, to discover that there are only 3 others at class. Since I am, by some crazy coincidence, the highest ranking person there, Sensei asked me to lead the warm-ups. Afterward, we did some Uchikomi practice. I am looking to expand my Shiai repertoire and I was getting some good ashi-waza advice from Sensei.After about 20 minutes, our Uchikomi practice turned into Randori. Since one of the three others was coming off of an injury, he bowed out of the Randori, and the rest of us went at it. I did about 35-40 minutes of Randori, including the first 20 minutes straight against the same Judoka- who is relatively my size. In the opening minutes I had a lot of good attacks, but I quickly ran out of gas, and then I got sloppy. He threw me with some light throws at first, but then he got me with a beautiful O-Soto! One or two more losing rounds for me, and took a break.So I sat down and let the other two guys go at it. After about 10-15 minutes of their randori…

Jewish Judo Pride + finding your fight and not giving up.

Of the many benefits of participating in a sport that is contested at the olympic games, is the idea that you can promote nationalistic pride with it as well. Although I am an American, and I enjoy when Americans succeed in Judo, as a Jew, I also take a lot of pride in Israeli successes as well. Thankfully, for Israel, there has been a lot to cheer about over the last few Olympiads. The video above, is Ariel (Arik) Ze'evis bronze medal match against the Elco van Der Geest of the Netherlands. These two were at the top of their game, and ze'evi wins it with a beautiful O-Uchi-Gaeshi for Ippon.

The other day, I was watching Koga's Video - a New Wind, and there was some footage of Koga vs. Smadga (of course, in these clips, Koga kept beating Smadga, because, after all, it was Koga's video!) and my son, a new Judoka, had a lot of pride seeing the ISR on back of his gi. Interestingly enough, his favorite throws so far seem to be O-Uchi-Gari and Ko-Soto-Gake, so this makes fo…

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