I went to practice on Wednesday night - it was our last practice of the year and it was followed by our holiday party. Some of the people brought their kids, but I didn't - it was a little too late for me to be able to send Mitch. Unfortunately I wound up being a bit late, but I still got a lot of Uchikomi practice in, and I also got in 3 rounds of Randori. I have been doing a lot of thinking about ways to improve and I decided that I would take extra efforts to do two things in Randori:
- More consistently look to be challenged - i.e. Stand up first for Randori, play the biggest guys in the room, and don't sit any rounds out.
- Try new things
The first is something that I think we all need to work on. While I don't mind playing the smaller and less-experienced people in the dojo, I am trying to more actively pursue the bigger guys - because they present the biggest challenge. I managed to play 3 different people - one a Sankyu who is slightly bigger and beat me in our club competition, the second is a Shodan who is very experienced and sneaky - albeit a little smaller. The third guy was a Green belt who is a former football lineman, and has a good 60-70 lbs on me at least. I had one of my toughest Randori challenges in a while, and Only managed to get one or two throws (as well as gave up 1 or 2 as well). I tried some new moves, and while they didn't work yet, I could tell that I was still a bit hesitant, I need to get over that quickly.
As for my weight, I was about 201 this morning. A Big drop-off from my mid-summer 218. I feel thinner and better, but I need to get down at least another 10 lbs - hopefully within the next 6-8 weeks. My goal is to get down to 190 or so. If I could hit 185 (a long shot) I could then cut weight and fight in the -81s but that would be difficult too.
Nonetheless, my wife even noticed the change - so its making me feel good already. I have a couple of rashguards that I wear for swimming, and each week I wear them just to see how bad my gut looks. Their finally starting to look half-decent to the point where it doesn't seem like I am trying to smuggle a 15-lb turkey under my shirt - but no washboard yet.
I hope to get to Oishi's once or twice to get some practice in over the next few weeks until the next semester starts.
In addition to all of this, I have been thinking about Combinations. I generally view combinations in three different vanes - one is the idea that every attack has a follow-up. So if I attack with Ko-Uchi-Gari and it fails, I can quickly shift and switch to Seoinage, and vice-versa. In Putin's Book, he has combination wheels for all of the throws he illustrates that show what attacks can be used to set-up or follow-up a specific technique. There is also the idea that I can feint or bait uke into a specific reaction so that I can execute my throw. Finally, one of the many things I've picked up from Sensei Watanabe is the notion that if I learn to perform combined entries, I can enter in a way that uke isn't sure what attack I'll be using, and I have a lot of options. This final method is very powerful, and I have only recently begun to scratch the surface with it. More on this idea as I start putting it to good use.
In any case - Happy Holidays (whichever ones you celebrate or have celebrated) to you and yours and thanks for reading!