Monday, May 14, 2018

Sometimes, a small group isn't a bad thing

More often than not, our training sessions involve small groups.
In general, it's better to have a bigger crowd than a smaller one when it comes to training. Everybody likes it when there's a big bunch of people to train with. More training partners means more variety when it comes to randori.

But sometimes -- actually oftentimes -- it's hard to get a group of judokas to assemble together for a training. This is especially true if you are talking about adults. And players in both Sunway Judo and KL Judo are adults. Unlike most other clubs in Malaysia, our membership does not mainly comprise kids and young teens. Our players are mainly university students and working adults.

University students have exams, assignments and social activities that sometimes get in the way of training. Working adults, meanwhile, have overtime, business trips and family obligations.

As a result of our membership demographics, we often don't have big groups in our training. But I always maintain that even if you have just one other person to train with, you can have a good training.

When there are fewer people, it's possible to give more individual attention to players. So those that do attend actually benefit a lot despite not having many partners to randori with. But I'd also argue that even when there are fewer randori partners, you can still make the most of the situation by adjust the kind of randori you do.

When there are lots of people on the mat, you naturally want to do free-flow randori where you fight within your comfort zone. You do the techniques you are familiar with and try to overcome your opponent. It's a test of your fighting skills.

When there are fewer people, randori can become more of a "drills" session where you set out to try stuff you aren't that familiar with but want to master. Of course you could do that even when there's a big group but when there's a lot of people on the mat you just want to have fun sparring. Drills, in contrast, are not fun. And randori done as drills are not fun either. They are designed to familiarize you with something that is probably uncomfortable for you to do (just because it's new stuff). But drills are necessary and good for your development.

So whether there's a big group or a small group, it doesn't matter. You can still have a good training!

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