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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Judo, Day Eight: Osaekomi

As the weather gets colder, the dojo gets colder too. While it hasn’t dropped below freezing consistently yet, there is a noticeable chill in the air, and on the mats. Unlike Sityodtong, which tends to warm up pretty quickly after the six o’clock class jumps rope, the Tohoku Judo Club remains a bit chilly from beginning to end. The extra chill entitled us to a slightly longer warm-up than usual, complete with a round of wheelbarrows up and down the mat. I haven’t done a wheelbarrow in ages, and my back, already sore from weightlifting on Monday, was none to pleased with the new experience.

After that, it was the usual array of warm ups, fitting drills (Ippon Seionage feels better. Osoto-gari doesn’t.), and a several rounds of push-pulls (a drill where partners alternately try to push or pull each other, depending on what the instructor calls out). The push-pulls are an absolutely killer under the best of circumstances, and my sore back made them that much worse. I think I acquitted myself fairly well, although trying to play that game with a black belt who outweighed me by forty pounds gave me a new appreciation for the phrase “tossed around like a rag doll”.

The vast majority of the class, for me, was spent practicing Osaekomi, or pinning techniques. Sensei had taken us through this sequence once or twice before, but at least one student wasn’t familiar with it, and a good review didn’t hurt. I managed to remember all of the techniques, and the order in which they flowed, but sensei pointed out a few areas where I needed to modify/improve what I was doing. Of course, I also had my moments of being the pinned, which mean that I had someone who, again, outweighed me by a notable margin, crushing my chest. Fortunately, he hasn’t figured out how to really drop his weight on me, so the pins were only moderately uncomfortable. It did, however, give me the opportunity to work on dealing with my grappling induced claustrophobia a little bit. More on that in a future post.

Class wrapped up with some throwing. Again, I worked Ippon Seionage, and it feels better than it did last Thursday. I still find that the pace of the throwing line moves more quickly than I’d like, but I do feel like the throw is getting better. And my falls are definitely getting easier—I’m not really tensing up on most throws, even some of the odd ones.

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