Warwick Judo (Judo), Chris Page, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK - 19/10/2008
It was going to be a long day of grappling, starting off with another meeting of the Warwick Uni BJJ group. I got in a bit of further drilling on the hook and sickle sweep with Rosie, then a small amount of sparring, first with Rosie, then Josh. As ever, I stayed quite passive in sparring, though with Rosie tested out the step over triangle thing again. She was able to turn me with it so I went into guard, eventually got back into side control, triangled her arm and went for kimura. However, I think the weight difference was probably the deciding factor there, as she most likely would have been able to extricate her arm if we'd been closer in size.
The situation was reversed with Josh (a guy from Mill Hill who started at Warwick this year), who has about 20kg on me. I spent almost the whole time either in guard or half guard, moving back to half guard when under mount. I made a couple of attempts at a stack pass, but couldn't get round his legs. Each time, he was able to just scoot back and get to his knees. I need to drive with my hips, stack more, and generally apply greater downward pressure: the usual problem with weight distribution on my part.
Onto the judo: as far as I can tell from the Warwick Judo sites on the Student Union site and Facebook, there are three coaches who teach on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday (so only the first two concern me, as I train BJJ on Wednesdays). Tonight was my first chance to meet Chris, who I hadn't realised only started teaching at Warwick this term.
He's from the Coventry Judo club (which seems to have a very close connection to Warwick Judo): very approachable guy, so had a pleasant chat with him before and after training (he also mentioned he was keen to check out some BJJ, which is cool). He works as a PE and judo teacher, interestingly, as his school actively wanted somebody to train the students in judo as part of the curriculum. Also interesting is that he mentioned there are rugby clubs who basically require their juniors to learn judo before considering them. From what he said, sounds like grass roots judo has a bright future in this country.
The first throw was like the osoto gari (where you reap their leg), but this time, you plant your foot and push them over it. Osoto otoshi, I think? The next technique (uki goshi?) had some similarities, but this time, you step your foot right across the front of their feet. Dip slightly, then pull them over that outstretched leg, which should flip them onto their back. Chris started off teaching it from a kneeling position, to help up get the technique right, which was helpful.
Standing sparring was similar to last time, although it wasn't throw for throw. I was with a French guy who appeared to have done something before, as his throws were crisp and controlled (or at least they looked that way to me, but then I'm a beginner). Unfortunately, in the midst of throwing me all over the place, he suddenly dropped to the floor clutching his knee.
After getting him to a bench, he told me that he has some condition with his knee ligaments that means his kneecap is prone to suddenly slipping out of place. He's been to doctors and specialists, but nobody has been able to help him, so he just puts up with it. Poor guy: real shame, as that must put a major block on progressing his training. He wasn't the only one, as somebody else later busted their finger: both of them left, as they weren't able to continue.
That served to remind me that judo can be an injurious sport. So, when we then moved on to turnovers, I was a little apprehensive. Its an innocuous enough technique, but was how I got injured last time (which put me out of training for seven months). The basic variation is to grab their far elbow with both your hands, pulling towards you while pressing down with your chin on their back, then driving forward into side control.
We later did the specific version that messed me up the last time, which is where you grab their far elbow with one hand, then thread the other hand through their legs, grabbing either around their knee or the fabric of the gi trouser. Then as before, press down and drive through. Chris also showed us a basic hold down to follow on from that, which was to gable grip (palms together) under their arm and head from side control (though he didn't call it that, obviously, given this is judo: I'll have to work out the Japanese term)
Sparring from ground involved no armlocks or strangles again. I tried just turtling, so my partner could work technique, though as a result I tended to end up in guard anyway. Unsurprisingly, as it was all white belts, I got some confused looks: when not turtling, I was tending to hold them in either guard or half guard. However, Chris did say that an escape from side control was to step your leg over, meaning he was basically showing us how to snatch half guard. So, thought it worth doing in sparring, though I tried not to just cling on, as that's never fruitful (especially when your training partners aren't familiar with the position and therefore haven't been shown passes etc).
Of course, it was very different with Chris. He took it fairly easy, turtling to give me a chance to work the technique he'd shown earlier. I wasn't able to turn him, so he emphasised pressing down with my chin, which seemed to help.
When he moved through to scarf hold, I ended up on his back and in guard, but I got the impression he was perfectly aware of how to pass, but was in instructor mode, so easing off. After all, he was trained by Neil Adams, so certainly knows his stuff on the ground.
Not sure if I'll do the Monday session, as I'm likely to be bit sore after all that grappling. We'll see: its going to take me a while to settle into my new training pattern.