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Showing posts from 2008

Club Competition

So our club had their semi-annual competition tonight. It is a small tournament, primarily members of our club and club alumni. We had a very nice crowd - about 30 or so competitors from age 6 and up, and about another 20-25 spectators.

I got caught in traffic on the way there and I missed my sons first match. Thankfully I caught his second match. He has a lot of good scoring chances and lost by a Yuko. My wife complained that she th0ught he wasn't even trying, but I pointed out to her that he has come so far since last year, where he didn't even look at his opponent. Several people pointed out to me that his seoinage has come a long way, and with a little more practice, I think he will win some matches. He also complained that one of the other kids - who doesn't regularly practice at our dojo (his Dad does, and he comes ocassionally) was choking him - against the rules in the 6-year old yellow belt division. I pointed out to him that referee sometimes make mistakes - they&…

Fwd: Maybe I should post something here after all....

Wow, I was looking at my blog and realized that I haven't posted
anything since May! that's a real long time. Let me start by saying
this - I haven't quit Judo. I still go to class and help teach the
kids class on Sundays. Truthfully, I've only been going an average of
once a week for the past six months or so, primarily because I've
started a new job, and my schedule often finds me working too late to
get to class. I've also gained a lot of weight as well, and if that
wasn't complicated enough, we were all trying to get used to the new
baby - who is shortly turning 14 months.Because of my lack of practice, I haven't felt up to competing either.
Some of you might think that I should just go compete, but I view it
this way - I only compete when I feel that I am prepared to win, and
in my current shape, I am not prepared to win.All that aside, I have been enjoying Judo in different ways. I really
enjoy helping out in the kids class, especially being able to teach
Judo…

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 h…

Is Judo Getting Stronger and more visible?

I know it's been a while since my last post - as usual, my life gets busy and I don't have time for blogging or Judo.

I also haven't been busy reviewing the Judo web, so I hopped back on today and discovered a few interesting things:

Rhadi Ferguson, Ronda Rousey, and Jason Morris were interviewed by the Wall Street Journal Online - while it's not as popular as the print version, nonetheless, its great that one of the top 5 most circulated newspapers in the us picked up a story on Judo.
Of course, even though LeBron and Gisele grace its cover, if you look inside April's edition of Vouge, Ronda Rousey is one of the athletes featured in their shape issue (which I've yet to see).
And then finally, Dr. AnnMaria DeMars indicated that a lot of the pictures she was sent for Growing Judo showed Judo events attended by hundreds of people.



With all that, every time I go to my own dojo, I always see a new face or two. It leads me to believe that Judo is growing - even if I am…

Judo and Stress

We all have stress in our daily lives - whether it comes from pressures at work, or at home; From our Spouses/Significant Others, from our parents, and from our kids. Stress can take a toll on your body and on your mind. Thankfully for me, Judo has been a great source of stress relief.

I was feeling a bit stressed out over the last few days, and then I went to Judo last night and it made it so much better - my stress was pretty much gone. Yes, I might wind up taking out some of my frustrations on various ukes, but at the same time, I know that they are doing the same with me - so it all balances out.

As for updates, I had a good practice last night. I was getting killed in Ne-Waza and I think I need to improve my skills there, but I had a good couple of rounds in Randori, and re-discovered that I can Actually throw people with O-Soto Gari!

Gleaning knowledge from Kata

So I have been learning Nage-No-Kata for over a year now, and up until recently, I would just walk through the techniques, one-by-one, but never really execute them. Basically it was a moving uchikomi. Recently, at the cajoling of my Sensei, I started to throw as well as be thrown when practicing the NNK. As I am now taking Kata to the next level, I have started to notice several things, that were not so clear before. First and foremost, my techniques are improving. It's as if the movements in the NNK are working on building muscle memory for better form. Secondly, other techniques are starting to click and trickle into my 'combat' repetoire.

But most important of all, I am gaining an appreciation for the role of Uke in the NNK. I am learning the dynamics of the throws better, as well as getting a lot of ukemi practice along the way. Personally, I don't think that I am alone in saying that Uke is a harder role. But in being the Uke, I better understand what my actions n…

Feeling bad about hurting someone else

So there was a pretty small crew in the Dojo last night - only 6 of us - and that is including our two senseis. I had a very long run through of Nage-No-Kata, and as uke, I am also taking throws as opposed to just going through the motions.

We then did Uchikomi followed by Ne-waza practice. I was trying to work on my turnovers and particularly turning uke from Prone into Kata-ha-jime. Somehow I was a little over zealous, and I managed to tweak my Uke's neck. Normally this isn't a big deal, but he was really stiff. I felt really bad - as his night was done, and I was concerned that he really hurt himself.

I know that Judo is a contact sport, and people do get hurt, but it hurts me that I hurt someone, especially when being careless.

I hope he's okay.

How Football and Basketball improve my Judo (and maybe yours too).

So I am ecstatic - my unlikely champions - the NY Giants, beat all odds and shocked the world when they became World Champions last night and made the 'perfect' patriots, just one bit less perfect. (By the way, while the Patriots have won 3 championships in the last 7 years, they have also lost 2 as well). Of course, I always hoped my Giants would win, even while acknowledging that the Patriots would be a difficult team to beat. In every discussion and interview and news blurb regarding the Superbowl, one important factor stood out in my mind. Whenever any of the Giants were asked about the Patriots being 18 and 0, they simply brushed it off as those games don't count anywhere as nearly as much as the one we are going to play. They knew they were the underdog, they new that the Pats were favorites and had a perfect season on the line - but they didn't let it get to them!This, in my opinion was why they won, why their defense persevered and shut down Brady and Moss, and…

Being a Judo Dad

As I've mentioned a couple of times before, I have 3 sons, the oldest of which, my 6-year-old, is currently a Judoka. As a father, one of the toughest things that one does is take a reality check whenever you want your children to start an activity to determine if this is something that they would want for themselves or something that you want for them to live vicariously through them. The minute that someone suggested he try martial arts as a means to build up his discipline and self-confidence, was the minute that I began looking into Judo options for him. Yes I considered both TKD and Karate as valid options for him (of course I would have never consented to some of the McDojoes that I had visited in the process), but once my own dojoes class schedule changed to make Judo available to him, I jumped in with both feet. My son is 6 and has an attention span to match. So clearly his focus is not as good as that of a 9-year-old. Yet at the same time, each week, I see him making stea…

Making The Most of Randori

Balancing Judo and my family is a hard deal - especially with the new baby. My wife groans when I go to Judo - now 2 nights a week. And I have been getting there a little later than usual as I plan on getting a handful of things done at home before going to class so that my wife doesn't feel like I am leaving her out in the cold.I showed up about 25 minutes late last night, and quickly warmed up. Everyone was doing Uchikomi and Sensei had me work with a Yellow belt who was working on Koshi-Waza - Namely Tsurikomi Goshi and Harai Goshi. I was giving him instruction, and indicated that some of the Kuzushi and entry and form of Tsurikomi Goshi would be useful for Tsurkomi, Harai, Uchimata (to a lesser extent) and Hane Goshi. As I walked him through the motions, I noticed that my technique has actually improved. To the point where as I explain the theory to him, I am actually practicing it as well (as opposed giving him the  'do as I say, not as I do' speech before showing him…

Nemesis

Everyone one of us, in every dojo that we've ever been to has one - a nemesis. That one (or maybe more, or maybe one every few years) Judoka in our dojo or on the competition circuit who always seems to have our number. Our technique improves and evolves, but somehow, this person is always one step ahead.

They are our goal. Just one match one, or one good unquestionable ippon-worthy throw in Randori. Don't get me wrong, this isn't petty or vindictive, this is about improvement. It's about knowing that no matter how good your technique is and how much you've improved and yet there is still one person that it doesn't work for.

That person is the one person you want to play when it's time for Randori, and the one person you feel the greatest challenge from. You will try progressively harder with them each time, and for a while they might have their way with you.

Then one day, out of the blue. You throw them. It feels so good - and it motivates you even more.

The Value of Yudansha

The semester starts this coming week, and I am now going back to my full Judo schedule again - 2x practices a week plus helping out with the kids class. I hope that my wife doesn't protest to much, especially since the Baby's witching hour has kind of gone by the wayside, so that she can actually do things in the house while I am gone. We had an 'intersession' practice for both adults and kids last Sunday in the regular kids spot. It was a nice practice, especially since when I get on the mat with my son I don't generally get to practice much myself, and most of our black-belts were on the mat as well. I got to do Uchikomi with three of our Yudansha, all of which had great advice for my technique (and Sensei even gave me two or three bits of advice on Seoinage) - and that experience leads me to my topic - The Value of Yudansha.One of the more common questions that beginners have is how many beginners do you typically have. Yes they want people to go through the ran…

Searching for Seoinage

During my holiday break, I was thinking more and more about improving my Judo, and especially expanding my Randori/Shiai repetoire. One technique, that I keep coming back to is Seoi-Nage. It was a little over three years ago that I returned to Judo, and in my first session, I started doing Uchikomi. I went through the litany of techniques and decided to stick with one of the most basic. I started with Morote Seoinage. Within a few minutes, Sensei commented that I hadn't lost it, and that my technique was still good. But somehow, I have neglected Seoi-Nage since then, focusing more on Uchimata and O-Uchi Gari among others. Yet Seoinage is still that awesome powerful throw.I guess I am waxing nostalgic for many reasons. For starters, a friend of mine lent me his Koga Video where Koga Demonstrates his winning seoinage techniques, I also saw a phenomenal standing seoinage when I was at the Nakabayashi tournament, and finally
I recently purchased the Masterclass Series 'Seoi-Nage…

Women's Judo is more than Just a sport

I came across an interesting article by way of the JudoForum. A group of women in the UAE have started their own National Judo and Sambo team. Why is this so special? Because this sort of thing is frowned upon in their country! Yet they have found a sport that they love and have decided to promote it.

I am not a women, I have 3 sons, my wife won't step on a mat, and I can count on my hand the number of women that I have practiced with, but at the same time, its articles like these that show how powerful Women's Judo is. It goes beyond exercise, fitness and competition, it goes beyond self-defense - it's about empowerment.

In in this case, because it goes against societal norms, empowerment goes even further. I wish the UAE Judo team well, and I hope that they help promote Judo in their country and abroad.