Thursday, January 24, 2008

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 anything).

I also had some good challenges in Newaza, one Black Belt, two Brown Belts and a strong yellow belt. In all three cases I was fighting from the turtle a lot. Sensei was getting on me to attack more and not play so defensively. Still, I managed to not get pinned or subbed, and I got 2 subs in the whole process. My favorite submission of late is extending uke's arm in Kesa-Gatame, and it is still new enough that I can pull it off on a couple of people in the dojo without too much trouble.

In Randori, Sensei was telling me that I was too passive as well. I started to play a little more intensely. I managed to get a few good O-Uchi's off, as well as a nice K-ouchi, and I have also improved my timing for Seoinage, but not quite to the point where I feel I can pull it off.

Sensei told me to keep working on the O-Uchi as it is a great technique to follow-up with Uchimata, Tai Otoshi, and of course, K-Ouchi. Yet I still want to get the Seoinage going. I'll let you know what happens next week.

Finally, one of my three Randori opponents was a Yellow Belt, much smaller than I. (Fear not, I haven't given up on being challenged, I played an evenly size-matched shodan and sankyu as well). He was very quick, and liked to fight for grips. I saw this opportunity to try an off the grip Sode - and it worked! It was nice throw, with clean technique, but then I realized it was against someone smaller, lighter and less-experienced. Still, I now know that I can pull it off, so I need to try it on someone bigger, heavier and more experienced.

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