Saturday, March 24, 2012

Large Group Training

Today, the Western Judo Club hosted an open 3 hour training session.  To say this session was hard on my body would be an understatement.  It wasn't as well attended as the club would have liked, but we had a lot more mat space to work with this time around, so that alone made it worth attending.

My uchikomis need a lot of work. I'm finding that I'm pulling myself toward uke instead of pulling uke to me.  That messes with my kuzushi, which in turn makes throwing people pretty miserable for me.  I got a chance to work with a heavyweight black belt, but I'm not sure how well I'll be able to adapt his techniques to fit my game.  He's a lot stronger than I'll ever be (a natural result of a lifetime in wrestling and judo), and his game reflects that.

I will try to work a bit more on kouchi gari into a drop seio nage.  I'll also work on using my weight a bit more to move my opponent around.  On the upside, I dominated a black belt in newaza training.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

3 Senseis, 3 Variations

I was working on a couple of core throws last night at judo class, namely Uchimata and Harai Goshi.  To get a better handle on Uchimata, I've been watching Kosei Inoue's instructional DVDs.  The thing is, whenever I try to perfect the movements I've seen on the DVD, one of the 3 black belt instructors corrects my form and tweaks the technique.  Clearly they know more than I do, and if their feedback can help me execute the throw better, then I'm all for it; however, each of the instructors has a different body type, is a different style, and has his own way of executing the throw.

I don't ignore any of the feedback, but I admit it's frustrating to work a throw one way under the supervision of one sensei, only to have another one come along, change the grips entirely, and even aspects of the execution.  Case in point, our Cuban sensei tells me I should always stand tall for Harai Goshi and take a deep collar grip, similar to a wrestling collar tie up.  Then our Italian sensei tells me to take more of a lapel grip, closer to the collar bone, and to bend my knees more deeply on the entry (which is tough for me at my current weight). Finally, we have the Canadian sensei who prefers to use an underhook rather than either a collar or lapel grip.  Of the 3, the Canadian has a build and body type that most closely resembles mine (I'm probably about 20 lbs heavier than him), so his method is likely best for me.

I can't believe how fast this term has gone. We've got maybe 2 weeks left before the university club shuts down for the year and I'm left to fend for myself judo-wise until next September.  I'll have to suck it up and start making the hour and a half drive to find a quality club to work with if I ever expect to get better.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hitting the Triangle

The triangle choke is one of the signature moves of Brazilian Jiu-jitstu.  Unfortunately, as a heavyweight, I haven't had much of a chance to land this technique with anything that resembles consistency.  I know the mechanics. I know the theory. It's the live execution that's caused me problems.  Today, I landed it against a resisting opponent (and not some random beginner/white belt).

I had managed to secure a left side overhook in the closed guard and was trying to work my right hand across to threaten the lapel choke.  Ideally, he starts defending the choke and I can move into the Iron Hook sequence.  However, he kept pinning my right biceps to the mat.  I worked my right arm free and grabbed his wrist, then swung my right leg up and over his arm to bite the back.  Since his right arm was trapped in the overhook, he couldn't posture up to break the hold and I was able to secure the triangle.

I subscribe to Ryan Hall's Triangle Choke theories, so I didn't worry much about forcing the arm across my body.  Instead, I tried to adjust my angle so that my hamstring would be pressing in on his carotid artery.  My opponent was preventing my rotation, so I released the overhook and grabbed the back of his head.  Hall once said something to the effect that, while it's not always correct to grab the opponent's head, it's never wrong to do so.  Sure enough, grabbing the head was enough to get the tap.

Granted, I hit this technique on a guy who's substantially smaller than me, but I remember reading in one of Royler's books that one should perfect any new techniques on smaller opponents first, before trying it on bigger opponents.  I think this is a small, but important, step in my BJJ development.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday class

Today was mainly focused on preparation for grading.  Essentially uke walks either forward or backward the length of the mat as tori attempts different throws.  My footwork is awkward as all get out.  Kuzushi needs a lot of work, as well.

Points to remember:

  • Bend at the knees and keep the back straight.
  • Use kuzushi to pull uke up and load him into proper throwing position
  • Some throws require body contact before initiating (Osoto Gari, Ouchi Gari, Kouchi Gari)
  • Some throws require distance to be maintained so that I can complete my rotations and load uke into position (Seio Nage, Uchi Mata, O Goshi)