This past week was interesting: there is a tournament coming up on the 27th, so class is ramping back up into a more competition-focused format, which for me, means a lot more time doing sparring style drills. Each class included several rounds of newaza, standing randori, and koka drills, all of which served to thoroughly wear me out. We still get the usual warm-ups/uchikomi/throwing drills, but it’s not the central focus.
The classes have gotten a bit larger recently, which has had the bonus of allowing sensei to separate the throwing lines into “lightweights” and “heavyweights”. While the downside to this is that I can no longer look forward to getting to throw a 120lb person as a break, the upside is that I’m working with people who are closer to my own weight more regularly. I do feel as though I’m starting to improve in my performance of Ippon Seionage, though as the prospect of competition grows closer, I become concerned that I’m basically a one-trick pony. Of course, I have a vague understanding of a few other throws and tricks, but I’m not convinced it will be sufficient. I guess I’ll find out.
I’ve been finding randori itself alternatively enlightening and frustrating. When I’m working with people closer to my own skill level, I feel like I may be learning something. When I’m paired up with people who are bigger, strong, and more technical than I am, it’s just an exercise is frustration. And while I can intellectually recognize that it’s all part of the learning process, it’s hard to keep that perspective after you’ve been slammed on the ground half a dozen times.
On the newaza front, we’ve actually received some technical instruction which has been very helpful, and I feel as though I’m making some progress there.
In general, I’m enjoying myself, though I do find the pedagogy a little odd; there’s not a lot of clear instruction in specific techniques, and I really don’t know how one decides to learn new techniques, short of picking one off of the chart on the wall and trying it out. Which, I suppose, is as valid a method as any. Tim’s offered to show me uki-goshi, and I may have to take him up on that before tournament time.