Thursday, July 31, 2008

30 Days to the Fall Classic

So it's about 30 days left to the Fall Classic and Ladder Tournament. I'm going to be helping running tables and assorted errands. I'm excited to go see a really cool tournament. At the same time, there's about a half dozen people in my club getting ready for it. So, practices have stepped up a notch.

Standard Class. Bert/Grant/Jake showed some more juji rolls. The same ones we covered and getting the technique down a bit better. I know it's probably the seventh time he showed it to us; however it's really good to see it and practice it over again. It's the little things in a juji that makes it work. I'm finally getting a bit better and getting the hang of it.

We had some people come back. 2 black belts. One was Phil and he used to train at San Jose State back in the 80's. And there's another guy that just came back too. Forgot where he trained. I rolled around with both of them. It was good, picked up a few techniques. I tend to post a lot and leave my arm exposed, so it's prone to an armbar.

So we had about 5 rounds of newaza randori. Phil, Black Belt Bald Guy, Purple Belt Guy, Bert and Fiona. Then we had 7 rounds of standing randori. Jake, Black Belt Guy with Hair, Andy, Aaron, Kurt (2x). I sat out for 2 rounds for lack of mat space and partners (luckily, do need to catch my breath sometimes). Total of 14 rounds, of which did 12 rounds of randori.

After practice about half dozen people did the dojo shuttle runs. I was beat tired and sat this one out. I just had this general feeling of soreness of all over. I think I did tweak my neck a bit during newaza, as the purple belt guy was more torquing my neck than choking me. Chokes are fine, and should defend them. The thing is I have a really thick neck, and anyways, hardly really tap for them, unless they have me good. I did tap quickly though once there was more torque in the hadaka jime than pressure on my carotid artery. In fact he never got a choke per say, so it was more of a neck crank. He never did get his arm around my neck and was more so on the chin and the face. I just need to learn to defend it more so. He just probably didn't realize as he was about 50 lbs. lighter than me. Regardless, I tapped quickly.

Besides this is randori and in randori there's a certain give or take. Mind you not much, but you have to keep in mind mutual benefit and welfare. I want to always make it to the next practice or next tournament. The same thing goes for my opponent, I watch out for his/her health as well. We push each other for sure, but you do get a feel for your opponent and adjust accordingly. I'd say I give it about 80%-90%. Even at 100%, it's just not sustainable. You can only have 100% burst energy for fairly short periods of time, such as the 5 seconds to set-up and execute a throw or pin. Subs are more thought out, and I'm very careful of technique for subs, just because things can just go wrong. Choking is fine. Armbars just have a point of no return, where there is no recovery and you tap out then. I've tapped out before due to a neck crank in a tournament. It's cool, I know he was applying a choke and just the way my body was positioned it was more pressure on my neck than a choke. Tournament is 100% effort no doubt, and everyone gives it their all. Thats what you expect, and I'll feel cheated if my opponent didn't give me his 100%.

At the same time, I'm not a Professional Fighter. I have to be able to walk the next day. I do this for fun. And honestly it all comes down to having fun. If not fun, why do it at all. I like randori and the occasional tournament. Tournaments are just brutal and I have to pick and choose my tournaments as it usually takes me about 2-3 days after to get back to normal. My very first judo tournament I was so filled with bruises. Thankfully my friends wife who is a physical therapist worked on me afterwards for an hour. (Thank you Kimmi!) And was so tired, luckily my friend drove me to and from the tournament and I crashed on his couch afterwards. It was at this point after she saw me that Kimmi asked her husband not to ever get into judo.

The thing is about a tournament, there is just a simpleness too it. A moment of truth. Where the only thing you think about is the present. In that 5 minute match, you don't worry about your unpaid bills, dirty laundry, shopping list or what's on TV that night. You just concentrate on the now. There's something so basic that is in a match, that connects to your soul and makes you feel alive. And that's why I do judo.

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