Monday, 20 February 2012

10 week adult beginners' course

Thursday 16th February saw the start of Tora Judo Kai’s second 10 week adult beginners' course held at our Portishead dojo. The course is part of the British Judo Association’s plan to encourage adults to start this martial art and Olympic Sport. Six brave beginners signed up the course showing that age doesn’t stop someone starting a new sport. The session was run by Senseis Steve Chappell and Rebecca Maslen with the support of Paul and Lewis Hepburn. The aim of the first session was to introduce the Judoka to two techniques (O Soto O Toshi and Kesa Gatame) whilst concentrating on fundamental skills such as breakfalls, balance, posture and movement.

After a formal bow and a quick introduction to the coaches and the martial art we started with a warm up by playing a quick game of Stuck in the Mud, where to release a player stuck they had to high five and bump the hips. This was to start with a bit of fun to make sure the beginners felt relaxed and introduce interaction. Judo is a contact sport and as an adult it could be difficult to allow someone to enter your personal space. It also allowed everyone, the judokas and coaches, to get to know each other.

Once everyone was warm and relaxed, they were put into pairs at one end of the mat and were taught the standard grip in Judo (one hand on the collar and the other on the sleeve). Using this grip, the Judokas had to just walk with their partner up and down the mat. Sounds silly but to walk on our own is second nature however with someone else walking with you with a grip you start walking like a robot which is a habit that had to be broken. As soon as this was pointed out to the Judokas that found it easy to just walk normally up and down the mat. Next we moved on to the person walking backwards had to sit down slowly roll onto their back and get up again. This was to introduce them to the feeling of falling - easily picked up. We then introduced Yoko Ukemi (side breakfall) by the person sitting down, rolling onto their back had to breakfall - another task that was picked up quickly. Lastly, the person who was supporting their partner to the ground had to now step behind and place their foot down at the back and between the legs of the other person. Without realising it, the six new judokas had just performed O Soto O Toshi on the move.

Second part of the lesson we did a Ne Waza technigue called Kesa Gatame (Scarf Hold). To introduce movement on the ground we had a quick go of Hat and Feet game. All laughed and had great fun but also got used to moving on the floor. Then the class was organised into partners into a space and practised Kesa Gatame, both left and right. Once this hold was mastered, the two techniques were fused together. Going back to the edge of the mat with partners, we performed O Soto O Toshi into Kesa Gatame displaying good control, posture and safety. To finish, a good stretch as most of the movement was new so muscles are working harder and then a formal bow.

Both coaches and players left the mat with big smiles on their faces. Positive feedback was given and all looking forward to the next session. We will keep you updated with the course as they work toward their first grading.

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