Yesterday’s practice was a good one; rough, but good. There were a total of sixteen people at Tohoku, ranging from a new (in the sense that I had not seen him before) black belt, all the way down to a large collection of white belts. We had to get shoulder-to-should to bow in. It was great.
Practice itself followed its usual “getting ready for competition” format. Warm-ups, falling, uchikomi, and throwing practice started things off. I continued to work on Ippon Seionage, and feel like I’m actually starting to improve. Several people gave me some useful technical pointers, none of which have been integrated into my game yet. But I’ll get there.
After the warm-ups, the class was split into two groups: the white belts went off to practice falling and technique. I, having been identified as someone who can take a beating, was shuffled off with the higher belts to get my butt kicked. We started with a few rounds of groundwork, which were interesting. I moved from working with John, who has an extensive Brazilian Jujitsu background, and tends to play a very guard based game, to working with big Vinny, who seems to play a top heavy game, except he also doesn’t seem to be trying that hard. I did have one mild panic attack when he caught me in kesa gatame, though I’m starting to realize how much of that is really in my head. In other words, my fear of having a panic attack is causing me to have panic attacks when crushed, instead of just letting myself work the way I know how to. I really need to go back to some Tony Blauer’s material on this, because it’s very much up his alley.
Then I caught a short break, before being thrown in with little Vinny, who was very relaxed, technical, and actually made an effort to show me how to do something. I got some good pointers on escaping kesa gatame, which was nice.
After the groundwork, we moved into a standup randori drill; it was basically a shark pit. One man in for three minutes, while other people cycle in on a minute-by-minute basis. Depending on whom I was fighting, I did pretty well, ok, or got my butt kicked. The black (also named Jake, confusingly) was able to pretty much dump me at will; it’s been a long time since I was on the wrong end of that equitation, and it was interesting. I wish I could say it was a learning experience, but honestly, I’m not quite sure what I was doing wrong in a lot of cases. I felt like I learned more with some of the lower belts, where I could see/figure out my mistakes, instead of just being dumped.
The class ended with a koka drill, wherein I actually managed to score some points on some people for the first time. Which was kind of satisfying.
On another note: I’ve been integrating some interval training into my conditioning schedule, and I think it’s starting to pay off. While I was still bloody exhausted during some of my matches, I found that I was able to bring my heart rate back down pretty quickly. I’m still not really satisfied with either my general conditioning, or my current weight, but at least I think I’m starting to move in the right direction.