Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Judo Book Club?

I don't know if this is a crazy idea or not, so I just thought I would throw it out there.... 

  1. A lot of my friends who are not in judo belong to book clubs. They all get together once a week or once a month and discuss a book they are reading. Several belong to the same book club that discusses things on leadership and politics. Others belong to various book clubs that read novels, books on women studies, history or whatever it is that people think about besides judo.
  2. A lot of my friends who are involved in judo are as old as me, or even older (yes, and they are still alive, amazing, isn't it?).  Jerry Hays organizes a quarterly judo luncheon that gets our senior judo players together.
  3. Why not have a judo book club? You're never too old to learn. I think book clubs are more attended by older people (I've never belonged to one, but all the people I know who do go to book clubs often are over thirty, and usually over forty.) At some point, though, you ARE too old to compete. Don't tell me about how great the people are competing in the 80+ division at the World Masters. When you are 80 years old competing, it's kind of like a dog being able to talk. It's not that it does it well, it's amazing that it does it at all. Anyone who competed at the international level and who competes now at the World Masters will tell you it is not the same level at all. However, it is obvious that there are a lot of people who are older who want to be involved in judo.
This is not rhetorical question at all. I've never belonged  to a book club. I've never competed in the masters division. I have gone to the judo luncheons and the Nanka Hall of Fame a few times.

I got to thinking about this because I had an extremely productive day at work, so I decided to knock off around 10 p.m. and take a break. I started reading Steve Scott's latest book, Winning on the mat and thought,
"Damn! This is like an encyclopedia of judo."

If it was me, I would have broken it into two or three books and made twice as much money. Maybe the difference is that Steve worked for the Kansas City Parks and Recreation most of his career while I ran a business so he's less mercenary than me.

Steve has a more positive view of kata than I do. He thinks it can help your competitive skills if done properly. I'm skeptical of that. Brian Marks, who is one of our local southern California kata gurus helped Ronda with her uchi mata a lot when she was younger but I don't think it was so much because of kata as because he just has good technique. Maybe those two are inter-related, he has good technique because he's good at kata. I'd call Brian and ask him but it's almost 11 pm so I don't think he'd appreciate it.

After I read the chapter on Winning Concepts (one of the best parts of the book), of course, I had to skip to the section on armbars. I was going to make a joke about the fact that my picture was not next to juji gatame in the "judo encyclopedia" but when I got to that chapter, there was a quote by me on the very first page. My day was made !

(If you want to know what the quote was, buy the book, you cheap bastard! Hey, you can even buy the ebook for your Kindle, Steve being technologically savvy and all.)

======== Judo Tip (shamelessly stolen from Steve's book) ====

In your club, practice keeping the lead, and practice catching up and taking the lead. The more you have practiced being in a situation, the better you will be able to handle it in a contest. If you are ahead, "Play smart". What does that mean? Solve second-order differential equations while throwing?

No, it means don't do throws like uchimata that are more likely to be countered. If you are on the mat, and your matwork is at least as good as your opponents, don't get up. Attack with throws like ko ouchi gari and foot sweeps that have a low probability of being countered. This, of course, is dependent on who your opponent is. If you are competing against Jeff Fujimoto, you don't want to attack with a footsweep because he'll probably counter you. MOST people, though, won't. That is another point in Steve's book, know your opponent.

If you are behind, you need to take more risks. You need to attack more often. Uchimata has a higher probability of being countered but it also has a higher probability of scoring. (Unless you are me, because my uchimata sucks.) Know yourself.

IF you follow his advice and you frequently have drills in your club where one player is ahead,
"All the people on the right have a yuko, now all you people on the left have a minute to catch up. You people on the right HANG ON TO THAT LEAD without getting a penalty!"

Then your players will learn to deal with those situations. Instead of yelling out,
"Play smart!"

You can say,

"You're ahead!"
and the player will know what to do because he or she has practiced for that exact situation many times.


plam said...

I have fought Jeff Fujimoto. He did not beat me by countering a footsweep. Instead, he beat me by decision. Then again, I should probably do more footsweeps in general.

PS I'm planning a sabbatical in the Bay Area in Fall/Winter. I hear there's some good judo to visit.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Well, did you TRY to footsweep him? Because, you know, you can't counter a footsweep unless the person tries one. This is the reason no one has ever countered my left uchimata.

Yes, there is a lot of good judo in the Bay Area. You should have fun.

Mariah said...

It won't work in actual fact, that is exactly what I suppose.