Learning Judo – My History
Our little band of judoka have trained in judo for anywhere up to 20 years. Some people train in judo their entire lives and still find more to learn, to perfect, to teach. I’ve always found it fun and informative to read every judo book I could find. Having the text and the pictures seems to make the learning easier when I’m not in the dojo.
Dave can remember a judo or MMA technique in fine detail just from having seen it once or having had it applied to him by someone else. I don’t learn that way and must repeat the throw, ground hold, whatever, hundreds of times, read about it, and analyze it, before it becomes muscle memory. Then, too, if I don’t train much for a while, I lose the ability to do some of the techniques. I might be able to teach them, but performance is lacking if I don’t maintain some regular regimen.
Since I came into judo well into my adulthood, joining the class after my son had started, I approached learning judo differently from others in the class. Not having done any sort of athletic activity my entire life, doing breakfalls and throwing people, and being thrown, was a whole new experience. Bruising in every class was also new. When I decided that I’d really like to learn how to do this stuff, I took a judo book with me to wherever I was going to be – some light reading for those spare moments. I asked a lot of questions if I didn’t understand something. Analyzing why something worked or didn’t work, helped me figure out how I could get my body to do that.
I had one of those “AHA!” moments when I figured out why kesa gatame required holding uke‘s gi at the armpit with my arm wrapped tightly around his arm, above the elbow. I remember saying to someone in the class, perhaps Dave, if you hold the guy tightly here (above the elbow), you have control of the arm. He can’t get his arm out because his elbow acts like a stopper. Suddenly I became aware of the science of judo. My approach didn’t alter from the way I had been teaching myself; I just started to put the pieces together.
I am not a fighter and have never gone to tournaments. I would have had to start in Masters, or “Ancient, Decrepit Masters”! I don’t have that killer instinct that sport judokas have. My interest is in the execution of it, the why and the how. Some throws are beautiful. Some groundholds are amazing in their simplicity and strength.
At some point in the last ten years, other martial arts came in to the picture. We would get together to watch muay thai on pay-per-view, or rent UFC videos in the old days. I still only do judo, but I watched, and watch, every other martial arts I can find. Since our club’s approach to judo was a wee bit unorthodox (see Kakure Judo Club’s history), MMA fights were a natural progression to our approach.
On analyzing our techniques, we came to the conclusion that lots of what we did was applicable, even used, by the MMA fighters. We would watch the fights (and still do, of course) and critique techniques and fighters.
So this website is the result of all of the above: my late blooming in judo, Dave’s ability to learn everything quickly, and well, and our friends’ love of judo and consistent turning up for class.
I hope that you enjoy the videos and glean something from them. Making the videos was a labour of love.
December 9, 2008