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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Judo, Day Twelve: All Choked Up

I only just now realized that I hadn’t posted about last Thursday’s training session. I think I started to write about it, and then had to stop; my brain apparently processed that as “task—done”. I’m sure there’s some interesting psychological mechanism at work there, but I’m not going to explore it right now.

The class itself was interesting, and unusual, in that it was very focused on technique, not drilling. We started off with our usual warm-ups, but even those weren’t quite as killer as they normally are. After that, we moved did a little bit of “stuntman practice”. So far, everything seemed relatively standard.

After the stuntman practice, however, we kept the crash pads out, and kept working on throws. Sensei broke down a couple of different throws, and had each person work them two or three times while he and the other black belts provided feedback. Everyone got to work through a couple of times, and it was a nice chance to really focus on the mechanics of particular techniques, instead of rushing through everything.

After that, a visiting black belt took over to teach some groundwork. Specifically, he taught a series of two or three chokes that could be used both standing and from the guard position. The chokes themselves were interesting—while I’ve learned a few here and there, I’ve rarely had the opportunity to play with them using a gi. The extra cloth allows for some grips and tricks that would never work otherwise, and it was nice to start to get a feeling for how to use that as a weapon, instead of just as a source of confusion (which is what it has been for me up until now). Tim and I worked the techniques back and forth, and had a pretty good time doing it, despite some occasional moments of frustration or confusion.

And that was class. No hardcore calisthenics, no crazed randori. Just a bunch of technical practice, and then home. It was a nice change of pace, honestly, though it would have been nice to get a little rolling in so we could try to make the chokes work in an alive environment. But I’m sure that opportunity will come soon.

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