Tuesday night was an absolutely fantastic practice: it started out typically enough, with warm ups, uchikomi, and so on. It was all pretty standard until we got the “stuntman practice”. The first round of it was simple enough: every person worked whatever throw they were working on for the allotted time, and switched off (I continued to work Ippon Seionage, with mixed results).
Rather than moving on to other drills, however, Sensei had us keep going, but assigned/taught specific techniques: over the course of the evening, we learned uki-goshi, o-goshi, and what I think is a variant of kouchi-gari that Vinny favors. It was really fantastic, as it gave me the opportunity to actually learn some new throws, something I haven’t done formally in a while. I’ve now actually got about half a dozen throws in my head, and while I’m not competent at all (or even any) of them, it gives me a much better starting point to work from. I particularly like uki-goshi and o-goshi, as they work off of positions that I frequently put myself in. The kouchi-gari variation I found incredibly uncomfortable and awkward.
Thursday was a more typical class, and one that reinforced a lesson I should know by now; don’t overdo it.
Specifically, I had taken the morning to work on one of my strength-training protocols. Now, I’ve done this before, usually on days when I have to teach and train at Sityodtong. There, I can get away with it most of the time, because the actual process of teaching is not a physically demanding (unless I’m holding pads), and, more importantly, I’ve been at it long enough that I know how to move efficiently and effectively within that particular realm. In Judo, however, I’m still learning, which means I tend to move inefficiently, be tense when I should be loose, try to force things I shouldn’t try to force, and so on.
The upshot of all of this is that by the time we made it through stuntman practice last night, my body was already telling me to knock it off. Of course, I couldn’t just knock it off, so I soldiered on through several rounds of mat work, and five or six standing randori matches. The groundwork was at least mildly productive, and I got some good pointers on guard passing from Mark. The stand up felt less productive, owing mostly to my own exhaustion. I was over thinking my way through grip fighting, and not being nearly as aggressive as I should be.
I also noticed, again, owing to my hiatus, that I started instinctively reverting to a more Thai style clinch game. Oddly, this hasn’t been as much of an issue previously, but last night, I was going for all kinds of positions that make great sense in Muay Thai (bicep control, double-neck tie), but either don’t necessarily work in Judo, or that I don’t know HOW to make work in Judo. Either way, it was a bit frustrating.
Of course, I recognize that this is all part of the learning process, and that it will improve as time goes on. But in that moment, it’s a little irritating. Especially when I realize that part of the problems were caused by my own foolishness (lifting in the am).
But, this is how we learn.