Gracie Barra Bristol, (Judo), Kirsty Utting, Bristol, UK - 07/02/2012
It's been a long time since I last went to a formal class of judo, back in May 2010. As my girlfriend is away on holiday, I finally had the chance to go try out Kirsty's judo class. I'm not generally a big fan of judo training, because of that injury I got back in my third ever session of judo, which took me off the mats for about seven months. Hence why I've been a bit wary of judo ever since, not helped by stories of how hard judo is on the body and old judoka with mashed up knees.
Kirsty is a judo black belt with lots of competitive experience. She's been running a short judo class at Gracie Barra Bristol for a while now, which is a great idea for anybody who wants to compete, or simply develop a more rounded grappling game (neither of which I care about personally, which is why I don't normally do any judo). I particularly like the way that when he added the class to the timetable, Geeza emphasised that you take off your BJJ rank and put on a white belt.
Kirsty started with standing grip breaks. For the first one, they've grabbed your collar. With your same side hand, grab their sleeve, your knuckles pointing to the outside. Your grip needs to be tight, so to make it really firm, reach your fingers around to the inside (keeping your thumb out), gathering the material of their sleeve. Once you've taken out the slack, bring your hand back towards the outside, inserting your thumb to secure the grip. You'll end up with making a sideways fist.
Your other hand goes on top of their wrist, using a thumbless grip. Step back with your non-grip side foot, at the same time shoving downwards with both your hands and jerking your upper body backwards. From here you can immediately grab their gi and establish your own control: maintain that grip on their sleeve, as otherwise they can just re-grab your collar.
If they grab your same side elbow, grip their grabbing-arm sleeve with your free hand. Turn forcefully towards their free hand side, twisting your torso. You can now pull with your sleeve grip and again establish your own control. E.g., after pulling them in front of you, reach around their back with the other hand. I think that's called a 'Russian grip' or something like that? Been shown it in BJJ, IIRC, or it might have been one of the other judo classes from a few years back.
From the grip break on the collar, you can go straight into a morote seoi nage, which google tells me means 'two arm shoulder throw'. Pull them towards your collar side, then pull them onto your hip. Pull their sleeve out and up, bringing the elbow of the collar-gripping arm right into the sleeve-grip side armpit. Swivel, so that they're now facing your back, making sure your feet are inside theirs. Lift them up, then turn your head away from them to drop them onto the mat.
I liked the relaxed atmosphere of Kirsty's class, and also the amount of time she spent on drilling. She went round every pair making small corrections, then later pulled out the crash mats for an extra-soft landing. Well, unless you managed to miss the crash mat. Ahem. Fortunately my partner was smaller than me, so I could reduce the impact and stop them from going off the crash mat.
We finished up with one round of randori. As I was bigger and more experienced than my partner, I could be a bit more adventurous than my usual 'wait-to-get-thrown' strategy. Pulling guard wasn't allowed, so instead I had some fun practicing my trips and double-legs, but then it isn't difficult to pull off a technique on somebody smaller who has never seen it before. ;)