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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Judo, Day Fourteen: Exercising My Frustrations.

The heat was back on in the dojo, and while it would be a stretch to say the dojo was hot, it wasn’t cold either. Somewhere in the sixties for most of the practice, which is certainly more than enough to break a good sweat. And sweat we did.

After our usual warm ups, uchikomi, and throwing practices, sensei decided to set up randori for the various members of the class. Unlike previous randori practices, he set this up as 1-1 matches, while the rest of the class watched. It was an interesting way to run things, and was probably a closer approximation of a tournament scenario than the standard two or three randori groups at one time set up.

For my part, I got to randori three times. Once against Vinny, a very large and strong brown belt who more or less absolutely thumped me. Oh, he was basically nice about it, but even I was impressed by the crash I made when he ipponed me. The falling practice definitely paid off, however. That fall could have been a lot worse.

The second and third randoris I did were with Jerry, an older green belt who is possessed of the legendary “old man strength”. I have a bit of an edge on him in terms of youth and endurance, but he’s got a lot more experience and training in this context than I do. I did my best to keep him from taking me down, but in the end, he managed to get me to the ground, while I was unable to do the same to him.

In both cases, particularly with Jerry, I found myself getting unnecessarily frustrated during the randori. I say unnecessarily because, intellectually, I know that I cannot reasonably expect myself to be putting up a good fight against, let alone beating, larger, strong, and more experienced fighters at their game. It’s not realistic, and I would tell them the same thing if we were sparring Muay Thai and they were irritated that they couldn’t hit me. It just doesn’t make sense.

Logic, however, does not always rule, and in my case it was. It wasn’t really even that I thought I would get the throw; I was frustrated because I felt like I wasn’t even making good headway. I could see openings or opportunities, or at least had IDEAS about openings and opportunities, but I just couldn’t capitalize on them. And so I got frustrated. Of course, what happened then was I got tenser, fought harder, not smarter, and generally did everything I yell at my fighters not to do. Of course, it’s easier to suggest when you’re on the sidelines. But this is why we train—to overcome these little mental faults, as well as our physical ones.

In an odd turn of events, we followed up randori with some moving uchikomi. And then fifty pushups and sit-ups, at which point I discovered that I have perhaps been a bit too negligent about doing such things in favor of working on maximal strength exercises, like my deadlift. I’ll have to work on that.

First, however, I have to rest. I threw my back out something fierce (probably trying to force an Ippon Seionage), and now I’m on the “lie down and take some ibuprofen” training plan—yet another frustration.

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