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Monday, October 1, 2007

Judo, Day Two

Judo day two was a lot different than Judo day one. In some ways, it was more what I expected from the first day.

I got to the dojo slightly ahead of Tim, which permitted to get kitted out with a new, very stiff, double weave gi. The single weave would have been cheaper, but I figured that I would go for the gusto, since this thing is going to get jerked, pulled, and generally manhandled a lot over the next few years. Unfortunately, the club doesn’t take credit cards, so I had to make a quick sprint over to the local Market Basket, grab some cash, and sprint back. Tim was there by the time I got there.

I changed into my brand new gi, which suffered from being a bit too large (it will shrink, I’m told), and being incredibly stiff. It didn’t feel so much like cloth as it did pieces of sandpaper that had been attached to cardboard sheets, and then hung off of my body. As far as uniforms go, Muay Thai wins in the comfort department.

The class started with warm-ups, some of which I had seen before (jogging around the mat, shrimping), and some of which were new to me (shrimping in reverse, pulling yourself across the mat with only your hands). Some of them were challenging, for their newness if nothing else, but overall, it seems that my previous training was serving me well. This did make one student’s repeated comments about the difficulty of the warm ups a bit irritating—I think he was operating on the assumption that I had no previous training, but I think even if I hadn’t, I would have gotten a little tired of the constant “oh, you think this is tough?” comments. Still, I think he was being more overzealous than malicious, so I couldn’t fault him too much.

We followed up warm-ups by practicing repetitions of fitting, or Uchikomi. Basically, it consists of starting a technique, but not actually following through with the throw. It was a good warm up, though the technique we started with was one I haven’t been taught, and the white belt I was working with didn’t give the greatest explanation. Nevertheless, I fumbled my way through it as best I could, and started to figure a few things out by rep 75 or so. Of course, my partner wasn’t resisting me, so it’s hard to say how well I would have done trying to actually apply this technique—but hey, it’s day TWO.

Most of the rest of practice consisted of ukemi, or falling. We started with just slapping the mat, which eventually progressed up into backfalls, and then forward falls. I remember enough of my Aikido ukemi to make the transition, but I’m also woefully out of practice, and this helped a lot. I suspect I’ll be doing more of it in the future.

This class actually felt like much more of a beginner’s class to me than our first class; there was no free sparring, no dynamic drills, just an emphasis on the cold, hard basics. Which is fine—that’s where martial arts should start. It was fun, and while I sometimes had trouble with Sensei Vittorio’s accent, I got the general idea just fine. I’ll post more about him in another post.

It’s also worth noting that, for all of my bravado, I was pretty sore the next morning. Falling on the ground a couple of hundred times will do that to you, I guess.

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