Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Danish Guest Instructor at the Dojo

First of all, I'd like to say that I'm wicked horrible with names. I associate visual memories to people and can remember them if I've met them before. However, I suck at remembering names. Mainly because growing up, people will get nicknames, and well, they just stick. I've been called many names including, lunchbox, saladong, ice, stihl, flippy, dunlap, waldo, fat-ass, boink, china-man, little fatty and robocop. I'm sure there are others, but those are the ones that I can remember. In fact some of them stick and don't stick. I'll digress for a moment. I was at my friend Skippy's party talking to his girlfriend. She asked me, "How long do you know Tim?" And I said, "Who the *#$! is Tim?" She said, "Tim, the guy I've been dating for a year." She looked at me puzzled like and pointed Skippy out in the room. I said, "Oh, Skippy! yeah I've known him for many years and went to college together." She started laughing... She then proceeded to say, "Skippy.... Oh Skippy...!" and proceeded to harass him the rest of the night. Apparently, Skippy failed to mention that was his name in college to his girlfriend.

Anyways, with that Side Story aside. I don't know everyone's names in the Dojo. I know I suck. There's no picture book, with a mug shot and their name you know? Half the time people come on by here and there stop at the dojo, all quiet like and later on you find out they were some champion here and there. Everyone is chill, and it's sports practice.

So, which brings us round circle to last night's judo practice. Danish Sensei made a surprise appearance. With all due respect, I'll just call him Great Dane. It fits, guy is six feet something tall has a great grip, and is cut. He is also 61 years old. I wish I'd be that good in shape at 61... ummm and even now. Great Dane is a friend of Cecilia. Who I've known for a couple of years now, and always see her smiling. I kinda refer to her as Smiley, since I just found out Cecilia's name when he introduced himself to the Dojo as a friend of Cecilia. She's a great brown belt and has been practicing a long time. I can't pinpoint her exact origin, but I'm hazarding a guess Brazil or somewhere.

Great Dane has a dojo in Denmark and Cecilia practiced there for some time. Apparently he practices with some of the Danish National Team. Great Dane had family in Toronto and made a drive all the way to our Dojo just to visit. He showed us an opposite side entry deashi arai for a setup for a harai gosh. It was smooth, clean and fast.

Things I noticed were:

1. He leaned his hips out for the deashi arai akin to a soccer kick.
2. His deashi was really good and will catch the opponent more than half the time. A throw is a throw, so if the footsweep works, then that's cool.
3. In order for the setup to work, your opponent must be afraid of your deashi arai. Your opponent will pull his feet back if he sees the footsweep, allowing you to enter to a harai gosh or uchi-mata (depending on your placement).
4. The thing is, it's quite a dynamic fast move.

We also practiced grip fighting, getting the inside grip, and breaking grips. I'm starting to get better at grip fighting, and moving my WHOLE body to break a grip while maintaining balance. What I need to keep on doing is ATTACK as soon as I attain a grip. I just need to do more to get my muscle memory going. I need to do more uchikomis. Gary said that top judo players can execute 100 throws in a 5 minute match. I just need to attack more, and the fact of the matter is that I don't know my 40 throws well enough, that I don't see an opening when there is one. And sometimes there are variations of technique that can be executed from each position. That's the thing. The throw is already there; meaning that my opponent is already off balance. I should throw then, rather than repositioning myself or my opponent so that I can execute my favorite throw.

The other technique we covered was the opposite side ankle pick. It's a wrestling move (I'm sure there's a judo name for it, I have to look in Mifune's Canon of Judo). The ankle pick is really cool, as if you don't get an ippon, you can get at least a koka and then get into matwork straight away. Even if your opponent does the forward fall, sprawl defense, you can, if quick enough go straight into ne-waza.

Ah newaza. We really didn't do newaza tonight. Just not enough time. I know a couple weeks, that's all we'll be doing at practice. Considering the last 3 weeks was all about juji and more juji. I love armbars. The fact of the matter is I still need more work on armbars, because it is very technical.

Tonight for warmups, we did judo rugby. This is a fun game. Rules are, the ends of the dojo are the endzones. Must be on your knees. Can only pass backwards. It was so much fun! We ended up dogpiling whoever had the ball. Blocks ended up in newaza and pins, and it was just plain fun. There were piles of people on top of the ball, and whomever had the ball is being pulled apart in so many different directions. It's a great diversion, and quite fun.

Since warmups and the instruction took quite a bit chunk of time, we only did stand up randori for 5 rounds. I fought for 4. I fought Aaron, "Badger" (I'll call him that because he went to University of Wisconsin and forgot his name), Kurt "Rock Hands" and Jake.

Aaron was cool and he always love the huge overhand grip, which I do tend to manage and block. He's quite quick and blocked most of my picks and footsweeps. He hates the huge overhand grip and likes getting it on me. So I always try to get the big overhand grip, just to annoy him and get him off balance. With the huge overhand, I can go into a good harai gosh or uchimata. He threw me a couple of times, which was good. He gets me on footsweeps.

Badger is cool and he threw me in with an ippon seio. He has a good base and he drops low on the ground for the seio. This just means that I'm hunched over in defensive stance, which makes me prone for the seio. During the other times, I was getting a good grip. I did dominate the gripping part and he seemed defensive. Problem was I wasn't throwing as fast, as soon as I get the grip. That's the thing about the grip, you have to do SOMETHING with it. He got me with a good tomo nage as he would act quickly. He is just a bit quicker and more decisive. I did feel like I was stronger, and I knew I can wear him down given more time. I like gripping and just feeling the control you have on the person. I like grip fighting. I just have to move beyond that. It was cool to roll with him.

Kurt "Rock Hands" is just a beast. I like fighting him as he has a strong grip, throws, and everything. One thing that I did notice tonight was that he has a good strong base, remains upright and is always in balance. His grips are really good, although now, I'm breaking them more often than not. I'm also attacking more and more. When he gets an inside grip, I go inside and get my inside grip. We ended this for a bit, the thing was, now I was attacking with more and more footsweeps, which is much livelier. He got me on a good kouchi-gari. I blocked his tai-toshi and he quickly reversed and got me in kouchi. The thing about that I learned is that he did it so naturally and instinctive. I guess judo is about giving way and going with the flow. It is the "gentle way" after all.

Jake is a good instructor. Every time I roll with him, he teaches me a little something. He had a lighter grip, but much faster in executing the throws. It's funny, I tend to have a strong heavy-handed grip, which translates into telegraphing my throws. Jake is strong fights Heavyweight and has a deceptively lighter, yet effective grip. That's the thing, his grips aren't as threatening, and he executes his throw as soon as he gets a grip. I'd like to emulate that, as currently I'm just a big clumsy brawler in the dojo.

One of the things, I noticed was that I was repeatedly getting coached "not to fall for my partner" The thing is, I really don't try to fall for my partner. If I'm off balance and I'm on my way to getting thrown, I get thrown. It helps me fight another day. The idea of not getting thrown, is hard to process. I know, I tend to lose matches all the time, which is dumb of me. But for me, getting thrown is okay. I get back up relatively quickly most of the time. I get my knee/ankle(insert joint here) tweaked if I try to not get thrown and then fall weirdly or just have weird blocking. I get thrown and I get back up. I also have a fairly high pain tolerance. Even the one with a resounding thud. Remember 200+ lbs landing from 5 feet is quite a bit of force. In fact, let's calculate just a simple seio, where the pivot point is around 5 feet, if an average height guy, throws you for a nice clean seio.

Let's plug in the numbers. You know what. Let's go metric, that way I don't have to plug in lbs into slugs.

Potential Energy.

PE = mgh = mass x gravity x height

PE = 93kg x 9.81m/s2 x 1.5m = 1471 Newtons.
1368 Newtons = 307 lbf

This is assuming that he simply dropped me, which isn't the case. I can in theory draw a free body diagram, in which case, there would be a rotational inertia, plus kinetic energy applied to the body in motion as well. I can then calculate the impact force where you take the law of conservation of momentum. The 307 lbf is simply the minimum force received when dropped and does not take into account the additional force applied by the attacker.

Anyways, 307 lbs of force is at least spread throughout my body in a nice relatively soft mat.

I digress, I'm very tempted to get my engineering paper, draw a free body diagram, and plug in my assumptions, constants, etc...

I guess what it comes down to, is that I need more training. More practice, and more conditioning. I am noticing that my conditioning is improving. I wasn't gassed at all for the 4 rounds of randori that I participated in. Which makes me think that I'm not working hard enough. Usually it's 10 rounds a night but this time I only did 4, so perhaps that is why I'm not so tired.

Backpacking certainly helps. I guess carrying a 38lbs backpack for over 4 miles on uneven terrain at strengthens your legs and core, improves your balance and boosts my cardio.

I still need to work on my anaerobic explosive energy. I did muay thai and boxing awhile back, and those were fun, explosive workouts that had burnouts improving both my strength, coordination, reflexes, and endurance.

No comments: