Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mo-ah is not always bett-ah: Judo lessons learned from snakes

So, I have been discussing (what else) judo with Jimmy Pedro, Sr. and Ronda. As usual, there are some pretty interesting ideas all around. Jim's point is that other countries have so many advantages we do not - more training partners, more international tournaments, more coaches, more funding - that we need to be training more and harder to catch up. He says, very logically,

"If you are behind someone else, how can you think you will ever beat that person if you are working just as hard as them?"

One of Jim's ideas was doing 1,000 throws a month. He thought this would be one good way for athletes to work on their standing technique and he wanted them to write down how many throws they did each practice.

I agree 100% on the part of the idea of keeping track. This is one of those points that I am always nagging Ronda about and I think I should be on all of our athletes. KEEP A RECORD ! It is so easy to fool yourself into thinking you did 200 throws when you did 100, or 59.

Ronda, proof that there are smart blondes, is always thinking about these things. First of all, she said, you should not be doing 1,000 throws just zombie-style I walk up to you and you throw me. That's very unrealistic.

My argument was that there was no need to do that, you could do situation drills, where you attack right off the grip, on the edge of the mat, in the first ten seconds, as a counter, etc.

Ronda's counter-argument was that yes, you might do that at the beginning of the month but near the end when you were trying to hit that number you'd be back at the zombie- walking-toward-you-turn-and-throw style.

This reminded me of a running argument that Jimmy and I had for years, where I would always be for having more practices and longer practices, like having three practices a day at a camp. He would always say, in that funny east coast accent,

"Mo-ah is not always bett-ah. "

It's true, as Ronda says, that more mediocre practice is not better, but more quality practice IS better, I believe.

So, I still want to start logging the throws our players do, and the matwork drills also. However, I want to incorporate Ronda's idea and make sure that we focus on quality of training as well. That is one way to use all of your instructors [side soapbox here, I think most clubs have one "head instructor" and waste the talents of the others, which is just silly]. When the athletes are doing throws, turnovers, armbars, etc. each of our WCTC coaches can be watching a pair to insure they are doing the moves correctly.

The other really important point is that it is not about speed. Moving really fast may work for some people but it is not the best tempo for everyone. You don't need to be fast. You need to be sudden. I told Ronda,

"If you think about a snake in the forest floor, it is not whipping through the forest super-fast all of the time, but when it attacks, it is sudden. That's the idea you have to have in your mind."

She said,
"So, what, now I'm a snake slithering around the forest floor. That's how you think of me?"

You know, there's worse things to be in the forest than a snake on the ground. Like the snake's lunch.

Try to be sudden.


Andy said...

"You don't need to be fast. You need to be sudden."

I like this. Thanks for the always interesting and instructive posts.

Andrew said...

This simple anology makes sence to kids and is a great way to imagine a judo attatck or throw.
I will be bringing this to class next week. The kids always seem to like the drills refered to as BEAR walk, LIZARD crawl, Bunny hops, MONKEY run etc. and I use the cute names as often as possible.
Now I have one more to add. Thanks..

Ellie Belen said...

I'm going to steal that line.

I teach the very young and they have taught me that I must make abstract ideas or concepts concrete, in terms that they will easily understand.

I've been using the term "startled" but even that is too abstract for some of the younger ones. Thanks for the idea.

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