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.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Training with Joyce Heron at Yate Star judo club

Several Tora Judo Kai members travelled to Yate Star judo club on Monday 13 February to attend a training session run by Olympian Joyce Heron, who competed in the -48kg category at the 1996 Atlanta games.

To open the training session, she introduced herself to the class and talked about her particular interest in developing and encouraging coaches (particularly female coaches) as part of her role as Widening the Market Manager for the British Judo Association.

The session began with a thorough warm up including forward and backward rolls, monkey runs (forwards and backwards) and something nameless resembling double wheelbarrows.

The session focussed on a turnover demonstrated by Joyce with 1st dan Lorna Gibbins, with uke on all fours and tori attacking from behind, grabbing the left collar from underneath uke's left arm and wrapping up the right arm with tori's right arm. After rolling anti-clockwise and to the right, tori  tucked their feet under uke's knees, pushing them to the left and moving into a kuzure kami shiho gatame (broken upper four quarters hold). Members of class performed a number of repetitions of the turnover in pairs. Joyce then demonstrated the turn over moving into a variation of ude garame (entangled armlock), and then into an extremely effective kata ha jime (single wing strangle) which were practiced by everyone, followed by a period of training where tori attempted one of the techniques with uke allowed to defend and escape if they could!

The large class then divided into two groups for some randori, with 10 seconds of ground work permitted after a successful throw. The end of each of the four randori sessions concluded with the players taking it in turns to perform three clean throws on the move.

Joyce led a comprehensive cool-down and the session closed with acknowledgements from Sensei Mike Guatieri and a formal bow.

Joyce Heron's direction was extremely clear and technically precise, which was definitely appreciated by the class. The sustained focus on the technique and attention from the excellent team of dan grade instructors on the mat was for me (as a green belt) very welcome as it meant we could really focus on honing it and learning it as a drill which hopefully will stick in the memory!

The Tora Judo Kai members - Sensei Judy Maslen, Sensei Rebecca Maslen, Renz Vallerja, Judith Ogden, Phil Whittingham and John Whittingham - thoroughly enjoyed their visit to Yate Star judo club and would like to thank everyone for their warm welcome.