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Monday, March 3, 2008

Judo, Week Twenty-Two: Back In The Gi Again.

I’ve written before about the challenges of returning to training after a forced lay-off. In some ways, it does get easier with time. In other ways, it never really does.

The class started with the usual collection of warm ups, though nothing too tortuous was involved. I found during the uchikomi and “stuntman practice”, I found that my Ippon Seionage has deteriorated slightly, though not as much as I might have expected. It will probably take another week or two to smooth everything out, but the one major improvement I had made seems to still be there.

After that, we moved into some groundwork; interestingly, we started out by doing free rolling, and then moved into practicing technique (I’m used to doing things the other way around). The rolling itself was interesting. I started out with Tim who is much less experienced than I am on the ground, but is notably larger than I am. I intend to write more about this at some point, but let me just say here that the old saw about how size and strength don’t matter is a load of crap. They most definitely do matter, and while my experience on the ground let me compensate to a degree, wrestling Tim was not the easiest thing I’ve ever done. My second round was with Mark, a smaller but much more skilled brown belt who whooped me pretty good. David, my third round, who has a solid wrestling and BJJ background, also whooped up on me.

The biggest thing I noticed was that I’ve lost some of my comfort with being on my back. Before the injury sidelined me, I had been getting a lot better about dealing with people pinning me. A lot (though not all) of that comfort is gone now, and I need to reacclimatize myself to the sensation of having someone bearing down on top of me. Not fun, but necessary.

We learned some interesting pins and locks, including a very neat way of pinning the opponent’s arm using his gi. I have no idea if it’s something I’ll manage to pull of in randori any time soon, but it’s nice to have the knowledge there.

The standup randori was ok, though again, I’d clearly lost a step or two. I found myself reverting to some more Thai-style maneuvers, rather than going for the Judo throws I had been working on before the forced hiatus.

I know it will all come back, and get better, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

Working on a piece on the importance of understanding how cultural and historical contexts influence the development of martial art. Will hopefully have it up soon.


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