Tuesday night’s class started out pretty standard: warm ups, throwing practice, etc. We then moved on to drill the basic pinning series (osaekomi); Tim and I used each other for drilling, which permitted me to have the valuable, if not entirely pleasant, experience of having a much larger person pinning me to the mat.
After that, Sensei Vittorio had us all line up in seiza and then called me out in front of the class. He also pulled up Jeff, a yellow belt who is pretty close to my size and weight. I’d seen at least one yellow belt test, so I figured out what was up pretty quickly.
The test itself was kind of strange for me: basically, I was asked to demonstrate a series of different throws, using Jeff as my throwing dummy. Not too much different from the belt tests I did when I studied Aikido, except that there didn’t appear to be a set curriculum that I was supposed to know; Sensei Vittorio or Sensei Victor would just come up with a throw, and I’d have to do it. What really threw me off (pun unintended) was that several of the techniques I was asked to do, I barely knew. One of them, Tai-Otoshi, I had literally never practiced once before that moment. Needless to say, it didn’t look particularly good.
Still, it was kind of fun and interesting to be able to work the technique in more of a kata format; that’s something I very rarely get to do any more, and there is odd pleasure in working in that kind of austere fashion.
When I was done, Jeff performed a few throws on me; we then went back to the line, and Jocelyn, another white belt, came up and went through something similar. Her husband Sapedra served as her uke. I learned from watching her test that, should I get married, I should not let my wife have the opportunity to throw me unimpeded.
When she was done, we were both called up, and presented with our yellow belts.
The whole concept is kind of interesting to me; it has been close to a decade since I did any kind of martial art that used a ranking system. As a result, I’m generally not terribly focused on such things—I would just as happily keeping tying my belt with a white piece of cloth, as long as I’m learning. On the other hand, this is part of learning the system, and it’s cool to know that whatever progress I’m making has been recognized. So it’s kind of neat, in the end.
After the test, we did several rounds of randori; Tim got first crack at me, naturally. Mark also took the opportunity to throw me around.
Thursday was a more standard Victor class: lots of mat work, lots of sparring. It was good, and I picked up a few nifty pointers in between getting tossed around.
This week will unfortunately be Judo free; I’m taking a trip down to Virginia to attend the 17th Personal Defense Readiness training session with Tony Blauer. So while I’ll be missing out on Judo, I’ll be making up for it with other training. Long report on that when I return, I’m sure.