Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Big Apple!


Today I was at the Big Apple! New York. There's nothing like it in the world. I passed by Madison Square Garden, home of some of the most awesome sporting events ever!


I got to work out today at the New York Sambo Club, which is ran by Steve Koepher and is located in the heart of midtown Manhattan, at 15 W 39th Street, 4th floor.

It's a great gym, next to Bryant Park, and really accessible from Penn Station.

We did standard warm up routines and we practiced two throws. Both of the throws can be followed by submission, one with a submission to the arm, the other throw, is a submission to the heel.

I don't know the exact terminology, and rather than describe it akin to IKEA furniture assembly directions, I'd rather just go vague and generic.

The first one is a forward shoulder roll to a submission. The second one is a leg takedown to a submission. The second one is pretty slick, but it's hard to describe in words.

That's one thing about the martial arts, that it is hard to describe and put into words how something is done, even a picture book doesn't really show you, nor a video. Books/Videos are merely supplementary information to jog your memory after learning it hands on in class.

Steve is a good instructor and broke it down by the numbers. The guys at the club were really cool and had great attitude and demeanor.

After the instructional part of the class, we got into randori (free sparring). As this was a no-gi class, I was to use more body grips and so throws like ogoshi, kata guruma, kouchi, uchi-mata, ouchi, osoto and ippon seio nage can be done no gi. It's just slightly different with the grip. Some throws/chokes such as sode and uki-eri can't be done simply without a gi.

I forgot how much faster it is without a gi, and you can simply sometimes "slip" out of a hold where in a gi you're much constricted. It's just a bit different.

I wasn't able to throw as much and simply went to take downs. One of his students exploited a big hole in my game. My legs. Legs are free game in Sambo. I've been practicing Olympic-style judo for so long that I leave my legs wide open for attack. In Olympic Judo you don't have to defend your legs. There isn't a leg lock, heel hook, calf crush, toe hold and knee bar in Olympic Judo. Now mind you, I say in Olympic Judo.

The amazing thing about Judo, is that the original Judo is really preserved by the Russians, who internalized it and added indigenous folk wrestling styles into what is now Sambo. aka Russian Judo, Combat without Weapons, Jacket Wrestling or "is it some kind of dance?" Of course Sambo has different flavors, combat, freestyle, and sport.

Anyways, history lessons aside, I'm sure you can Google it to find out more...

Ah, the sparring/randori part of the session was fun. We did about 5-6 2 minute rounds. I was getting better transitions from pin to sub and from pin to pin. My arm bars continually improved between the sparring sessions. I tried one heel hook and I still need a LOT of work on it before I can use it on an unwilling partner. (err.. resisting partner) I need to work on defending the legs, creating separation to disengage and stacking better.

Oh, and the class was held in a Cage. First time I practiced inside a Cage. Different feeling, a bit claustrophobic. And I noticed that the Cage can only be opened from the outside when it's pinned shut.

Here's a picture:

Overall a great day at the Big Apple and a big thanks to Steve for a great workout.

For those of you asking, here's a video about what Sambo is all about:


Bonnie said...

Sounds like fun. What were you doing in New York?

Ice said...

Visiting some family & friends.