Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wanted: One Crazy Judo Person

When I was younger, I knew a lot of crazy judo people, and I was one of them. This is long before I was on any national teams, when I was WAY younger.

In the summer time, my brother and I would go out in the garage where there was an old mattress on the ground and try different judo moves we saw in Hal Sharp's book, Boy's Judo. (Yes, that was the name of it.) Later, we got Kobayashi and Sharp's book, The Sport of Judo, and even checked a copy of Kodokan Illustrated out of the library.

I had several crazy friends when I was a kid who would try different moves with me, either on that mattress in the garage, in the grass or in the living room (if our mothers weren't home). It was just fun to see if we could get things to work.

Steve Scott calls people who train on mats in someone's garage "garage grapplers". We weren't even that fancy, because we didn't have mats and we didn't even always have a garage. We also didn't have coaches, senseis or adult supervision at all. We sure didn't have safety areas or insurance or national membership cards or referees. We didn't have parents yelling at us or giving us advice.

Yeah, I'm sure we did most of the techniques wrong - if by wrong you mean like Jigoro Kano would have wanted them done. But, for twelve-year-old kids we did them well enough to satisfy us and we had fun.

Sometimes we would "have a match", which ended when one person gave up, when we both got tired, or when we just decided to stop and go do something else.

Now, I have a confession to make - up until I was 19 years old, I did the exact same thing. Often, there was no coach around. My original judo coach married and moved away. I did work out at a couple of clubs but there were plenty of times when I would find somewhere with a mat - a karate club or mats from the aerobics class at the Y, and talk a friend into running over some moves I had seen in some book.

Maybe it made me a better judo player, maybe it didn't, but it was fun.

I was looking through the final draft of Winning on the Ground and I saw a really basic move Jim had included that I didn't remember trying before. I thought it would be fun to do in my class tomorrow but I wanted to try it out first. It is REALLY basic and would probably only work with beginners, but these kids are beginners, so it will be perfect for them, and demonstrate the concept of using your opponent's strength against him or her - in matwork.

No, I'm not including it here. You'll have to buy the book. Either that, or be a student at Gompers Middle School tomorrow.

Anyway ... I wanted to try it, but Ronda is in New Jersey. I have a husband upstairs who has the perfectly suitable number of arms and legs for the purpose. When I asked him what he would think about doing some judo moves with me, he pretended he had gone deaf.

When I asked Julia, she said,

Mom, I'm almost done with my homework!

She did actually come out in the hallway and let me try it on her, and it worked and was cool. Then she stalked back into her room muttering something under her breath about being more mature than her parents.

It would really be convenient for me if there was at least one crazy judo person available around here - well, besides me, of course.


Jeremy said...

Not too long ago a couple of the Gracie brothers tried to organize a reboot of the Gracie Garages. Never really got of the ground sadly.

I remember when I was younger I'd try out moves by wrestling one of my brothers to the ground until they got angry and fought back. That was my resisting opponent.

Eventually they learned to just go limp and play dead. Then I'd have to wrestle the dog.

Chad Morrison said...

I was thinking about this the other day... I started Judo at a boarding school, and there were at least two of us Crazy Judo People at any given time, so we always had an uke. Didn't always have access to the mats (damned basketball people taking up our mat space!) but we did have a reasonably cushioned lawn... No blue gis, so grass stains were an occasional problem, but we sure did get better quickly.

Random Judo Noob said...

I would be a crazy Judo person practicing in the garage if only I could find other crazy Judo people to do it with me... u.u Sometimes living out in the middle of nowhere sucks.

Raul Cardenas Aguilar said...

been there here in Veracruz Mex...the other day in the job for god´s sake!!here there were two oldies practing some def vs armbar thing in the damn floor!!

Anonymous said...

I would consider myself one of the crazy Judo people. The only difference is I don't have anyone else crazy to practice with me lol. Judo doesn't end for me when I step off the tatami. It doesn't end for me period. I frequently find myself itching to try a new move or just randori a little but with no one to do so. I wish I could be your crazy Judo person lol.

Anonymous said...

I did a practice last night in a guy's garage - no gi, mma, self-defense. In the end I didn't really care about the moves or techniques but I did have a lot of fun.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

You're all welcome to come to the West Coast training center and be crazy with me this Saturday (-:

Anonymous said...

Is Saturday practice an ongoing thing? Would love to practice.

dsimon3387 said...

best training there is....forget about doing it "right" do it wrong so many times you work it out, make it yours and can make it work with changing variables. I live by this training! I am that way at home and my sons won't engage me, all my crazy ukes are in other sucks.

I heard the Kotokan had a period where training was like this...though nobody talks about it.

Random Judo Noob said...

This article made me have a dream that I found out that Ronda was my new college roommate and I kind of freaked out a little... Oh geeze I'm a fan-girl.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Saturday practice is an on-going thing when there are not tournaments. There is no practice Memorial Day weekend because it is the California State Judo championships and everyone will be there. I THINK there is a tournament next weekend as well.

Your best bet is to check the blog or Facebook page for West Coast Judo Training Center.

As for me, I am not often there from March through November because I have a very heavy travel schedule for work and am out of state at least half the time. This Saturday was the only time I could make it this month )-:

Dr. AnnMaria said...

By the way, Jeremy, have you checked out How to do judo on your dog

Donna S said...

I'm always trying to get my 11 year old daughter to try out the stuff I see here. I know it would improve my judo and also hers. But she just rolls her eyes, gives me that "you're obsessed with judo" look...
But it's also funny how we always end up wrestling on my bed at weekends. She would probably win if she tried some of those drills.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Hey, Donna -
I believe I have seen that exact look!