Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Teaching tachi-waza according to grips

For newaza, I believe the best way for players to learn is to teach them according to scenarios. However, for tachi-waza, the best way is according to grips (which sometimes can be a function of scenarios too).

Basically a player needs to decide what kind of gripper he is going to be. Is he a high-grips guy? Is he a traditional sleeve-lapel guy? Is he an unorthodox gripping guy? There are many gripping styles to consider and based on the gripping style adopted, we could then fashion a "family of techniques" centred around it.

That way tori would have not only one core throw but several related throws in his repertoire. He should also work on combinations that can be done based on the grip and the group of related throws.

The basic idea is to allow tori to have a range of techniques without having to change his grips or his stance.

Teaching newaza according to scenarios

Recently, I started teaching the players how to do techniques not according to classifications of techniques (e.g. pins, strangles, armlocks, sankaku) but rather according to scenarios.

For example, the classic scenario is uke being in a turtle position and tori riding on top of uke's back. From this classic situation, which is very common, what can you do? Answer: Many, many things.

From this position, you could subject uke to osaekomi rolls, strangles, armlocks and even sankakus. It's by far the most versatile position for tori to be in.

The other two key positions to drill are when both tori and uke are in turtle position facing each other head-to-head and when tori is in a guard position.

From each position, I would teach my players different options that they have at their disposal.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

KL Judo 3.0 coming soon!

Come September, KL Judo Centre will be at a new location, inside the C5 Fitness Gym.

With the move, we will achieve a few firsts for a Malaysian judo club:
1. First and only judo club in Malaysia that comes with gym membership.
2. First and only judo club in Malaysia that is located inside a mall.
3. First and only judo club in Malaysia with a covered, open-air concept.

But beyond that, we also have a few other firsts:
1. First and only judo club in Malaysia with a judo program designed for adults.
2. First and only judo club in Malaysia with a European-style training system.
3. First and only judo club in Klang Valley with a university program.

At KL Judo, you will be able to train up to 5 times a week!
Tuesday: 7.00pm to 9.00pm (competition training)
Wednesday: 7.00pm to 9.00pm (beginners' training @ Sunway University)
Friday: 7.30pm to 10pm (competition training)
Saturday: 2.00pm to 5pm (free practice)
Sunday: 2.00pm to 5pm (general practice)

For details on your fees, please click here.

The insanity principle

Albert Einstein is credited with saying that the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results."

Malaysian judo has been stuck in a rut for nearly four decades, failing to produce a single gold medal at the SEA Games in all this time. Most recently, we sent only a single athlete to the Asian Games who crashed out in the first round.

We can analyze the situation to death and come up with a million reasons why Malaysian judo is in such a dire state but it fundamentally boils down to two things:

i) We don't have a system for players to train properly after high school
ii) Malaysian judo is fragmented with top athletes scattered throughout the country (and no centre of excellence for them to congregate and train together)

Until and unless these two items are addressed, nothing's going to change. There's always talk of importing a foreign coach from Japan or South Korea or Mongolia. But you can have the best coaches in the world and still not produce any results if he doesn't have the players to work with in the first place. And, until (i) and (ii) are resolved, there will never be a critical mass of players to train up.

Secondly, somebody should inform the powers-that-be in Malaysian judo that our judo demographic isn't exactly like Japan, Korea or Mongolia. There are hardly any judo players here. Instead of looking at how the Japanese, Koreans and Mongolians (all of which have big judo programs and plenty of players) do it, we should be looking at how countries with a small judo population do it. I'm talking about the likes of Kosovo, Slovenia and Israel, which have managed to produce world class players (yes, World and Olympic champions and medalists) despite not having a lot of judo players to work with in the first place.

It's even worth looking at how former US Olympic coach Jimmy Pedro did it with his players. MMA and BJJ might be popular in the US but judo is not. And it's really fragmented there with three competing governing bodies for judo (only one, USA Judo, is recognized by the IJF). Yet, despite all that, Pedro was able to produce World and Olympic champions (he himself is a World champion). He didn't do it by trying to copy the Japanese or the French. Those are countries with huge judo populations.

When you're working with a small judo population (and in Malaysia, we are talking about an absolutely tiny judo demographic), you need to think out of the box. Stop doing the same old thing, stop trying to copy the Japanese. Think about resolving issues (i) and (ii) and then maybe we might have a chance at building up champions.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Sunday's Program (25.8.18)

Drop Seoi-Nage

1. Warm Up Games
2. Gripping Exercises
3. Newaza: Koshi-Jime
4. Tachi-Waza:
- Drop Ippon Seoi-Nage
- Kouchi-Makikomi
5. Randori
- Newaza (6 sets)
- Tachi-Waza (6 sets)

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

All set for Baku!

I've just received my flight tickets to Baku, Azerbaijan and my visa has also been approved. So, I'm all set to go to the 2018 World Championships!

This will be the fourth time, the Oon Yeoh/David Finch team will be producing a book about the World Championships for the IJF.

The first one was in 2013, then 2014 and after that 2015. We missed the 2017 edition (there was no book produced that year) but now we're back for the 2018 edition.

Besides covering the judo competition we'll also be covering the 2018 IJF Hall of Fame ceremony where a new bunch of judo heroes will be inducted.

I plan to livetweet the competition and at the end of each night, I'll produce an analytical overview of the day's competition. My articles will be published on top judo sites around the world, namely JudoInside (international), 100% Judo (international) and eJudo (Japan).

The main reason I'm there though is to write a book about the competition. That will be published very soon after the competition is over because I'll be taking extensive notes throughout. Pictures will be supplied by legendary judo photographer David Finch. Below are the previous books we worked on together for the IJF:

2013 Rio 2014 Chelyabinsk 2015 Astana

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Sunday Training (20.8.18)

Our Sunday trainings are three hours long but even so, we don't have enough time to get everything done. We got most of what we wanted done though.

1. Warm Up Games by David was fun an well-received as usual
2. Newaza Technical: We straight away went into a newaza scenario where uke is in a turtle position and tori is straddling him (on top of his back). We did a Alligator Roll into Kami-Shiho-Gatame and also into Tate-Shiho-Gatame.
3. Gripping Drills: We worked on drills for preventing the high grip and the Korean shake.
4. Tachi-Waza: We got players to work on their favorite techniques in a kenka-yotsu situation.
5. Randori: We started with newaza and then did tachi-waza.
6. Shiai: Mock contests for our players.

What we didn't have time to do were Ashiwaza Drills and Transition Drills. As I said, three hours is not enough. Some of our players stayed back after training to do more training -- for their upcoming grading.