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.