Friday, December 15, 2017

Sunday Program: 17.12.17

 Groundwork Drills
1. Osaekomi Drills:
- Fending off with hands
- Getting past the legs
- Extracting leg
2. Alligator Roll
3. Matsumoto roll

Standing Drills
1. Gripping Drills:
- Fight for Sleeve Lapel
- Fight for High Grip
- Korean Wave
2. Ippon-Seoi Family of Techniques:
- Seoi-Nage
- Seoi-Otoshi
- Ippon Osoto
- Kouchi-Makikomi

1. Newaza
2. Tachi-Waza

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Judo competition is an integral part of the judo experience

Competition is an integral part of the judo experience.

Is it possible to train in judo without competing? Of course it's possible. A player could just attend lessons, go for grading and never compete a day in their life. But such a player won't go very far.

For one thing, in terms of belts, many clubs don't award higher color belts and certainly not black belts unless the player competes. But even if belt color is not important, a player who never competes misses out on a lot of things that judo has to offer.

I've trained in clubs where some players are adamantly against competing. "I just do judo for fun," they'd usually say, as if competition and fun are mutually exclusive. But I understand what they are saying. They don't want to train so seriously. They just want to take it easy.

Fair enough but those very same players surely wouldn't like staying stagnant while others are improving. Unfortunately, that is what will happen if they don't compete while others do.

When you commit yourself to competing in a tournament, you naturally train harder and with more focus and purpose. And because of that, your judo will naturally improve. If there's no competition, there is no impetus to improve.

Those who don't compete will also miss out on a lot of other side benefits. Judo is supposed to be about building confidence and overcoming your fears. Make no mistake, there is a lot of fear involved in competition. I'm not even talking about the fear of getting injured. Injuries can happen anytime during regular practice. The fear I'm talking about is the fear of losing. And that's one of the worst reasons for not competing.

Not competing because of the fear of losing is all about ego and pride. Instead of rising to the challenge, the fearful person prefers not to participate. If that person cannot overcome their fear in judo, how are they going to do so in real life? Imagine always running away from life's challenges because of the fear of failure. That's no way to be a judoka and no way to lead a life.

I want to quote former American competitor Todd Brehe who wrote this about the importance of competition for recreational players:
In the short time we’ve had our judo club open, we’ve witnessed a deep-seated fear and reluctance by many of our recreational athletes to fight in tournaments. On the chance that we do encourage these kids to participate in a competition, even a novice division, they’ve often built up such a strong fear that they struggle to function at all during a match.
He goes on to say...
My personal belief is that competition is nothing less than beautiful. It’s important, valuable, and a critical element of our society. Every child, during the course of her lifetime, must compete at home for attention, in school for grades, on the playground for friends, in the work place for advancement, etc. Why then don’t we teach our kids better, more empowering philosophies and beliefs about competing?
Yes, it's true that competition is stressful and there are some things about it that are unpleasant, such as cutting weight (every player naturally wants to fight at least one weight class below their natural weight) and the nerves you feel leading up to the competition.

But there's also a lot of great things that you'd miss out on if you don't compete. The camaraderie with your teammates on competition trips is invaluable. Even cutting weight together and witnessing each person's progress at the start of each training session can be a fun, bonding experience. Yes, weight cutting is suffering but at least you're suffering together!

Going for competition, rooting for each other, having meals together, consoling and celebrating each other after each match -- these are all things only competitors will experience. The judo player who only comes for club training without ever giving competition a try will never know what this feels like. And what a waste that would be because these are some of the most memorable aspects of the judo experience. Why miss out on all that just because of fear and pride?

Sunday Program: 10.12.17

We'll start the session with a postmortem of the Penang Fescom competition. Our players did well there but of course there's always room for improvement. We'll look at the common mistakes made and then do some drills to rectify them for the future.

1. Defences Against Turnovers
2. Arm Trap Roll
3. Matsumoto Roll

1. Drop Seoi-Nage
2. Defences Against Drop Seoi-Nage
3. Ashiwaza

Monday, December 4, 2017

A great end-of-the-year competition experience

The KL Judo delegation, comprising players, coaches and supporters.Missing from the pic are our junior players Sami & Annabel, who had to leave earlier to catch a flight back to KL.

Trains, planes and automobiles. That's how KL Judo Club members made their way to Penang for FesCom (Festival Combat), Penang's annual, end-of-the-year judo competition. But make it we did and it was a really good experience for everyone involved.

FesCom is not a big tournament although there was variety with competitors hailing from various clubs including Angkatan Tentera Malaysia, Perak, Terengganu, Melaka (from two separate clubs) and Johor.

KL Judo is a small but growing judo club. Many of our players are either those coming back to judo after several years away or brand new beginners. Three of our players had done competition before but it was during the time before all the IJF rules changes were introduced. So, it was quite a while back. They had to reacquaint themselves with the rules again. Four of our players were completely new to judo competition. Only one had competed in another tournament earlier this year. So, this was really a way for most of them to get their feet wet in judo competition.

During the course of the competition, I received two recurring comments from other players, coaches and officials:
i) Your beginners (white belts) are really fighting well
ii) Your competition team seems to growing

Many found it totally surprising that our beginners had been doing judo for just a few months. Usually white belts with about two or three months' experience can do little more than breakfalls but our beginners fought well against coloured belts and in one case lasted a whole match against a black belt. That's because at KL Judo we treat judo as a sport and our approach is a very practical, competition-oriented style of training.

Our competition-style approach is also a natural vetting system which weeds out those who are not suited to our club culture. We do have a recreational class at KL Judo and competing is not compulsory. But even those who prefer not to compete have to train competition style just like the rest. So far it's worked out well. Not everybody competes but the majority of our members do. Which is why we were able to bring more players this time. This trend can only grow.

But going for judo tournaments is not just for players to gain competition experience. It's also great for team-building as well. Two of our members, Winson and Kenneth, who did not compete, chose to tag along to help out with videography and to give moral support. In the process they also managed to glean some insight into what judo competition is like.

Two of our players were juniors, Sami aged nine and Annabel, 12. Kudos to their parents for taking them to Penang to take part in their very first judo competition. Parents' support is crucial for a kids' success in judo.

I really appreciate the good folks at Penang Budo Academy for organizing this competition. In Malaysia, the Penang club is the one that's most active and most capable in organizing competitions and it's because of them that our players, and those from various clubs in the country, get to compete in judo.

We look forward to the next one in May 2018 and hopefully we'll be able to bring an even bigger team to Penang then.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Sutemi-Waza Essentials

Sacrifice throws are gutsy techniques where you throw yourself down in order to fling uke over. Good newaza skills are recommended if you want to do these throws.


Koshi-Waza Essentials

A huge array of hip throws here:

Tsuri-komi-goshi (competition version)
Utsuri-goshi (competition version)

Tewaza Essentials

These days tewaza (hand techniques) is the smallest category of techniques in judo. After the IJF banned leg grabs, many hand techniques were considered illegal (e.g. morote-gari, kuchiki-daoshi, te-guruma, kata-guruma and so on). What's left are the following:

Seoi-otoshi (ippon & morote grips)
Uchimata sukashi

*Note, technically there are other hand techniques like sumi-otoshi and uki-otoshi which are so rarely seen in competition that I have not included them.