If you asked anyone at the West Coast Judo Training Center, they would swear to you that we practice matwork on both sides and that we teach it on both sides. Today, we tested that theory.
Some of the kids were really kind of funny to watch.
As it turns out, everyone felt a little uncomfortable doing matwork to the left side, even the left-handed players.
First, we did matwork uchikomi - matwork drills - with whatever their favorite technique was but from the left side. Even though I repeatedly said it was to the left side it, I think every single person except for me did at least one move out of ten on the right side and would need to be reminded by me or their partner,
"Hello, that's the RIGHT side. You're supposed to be doing it on the left!"
After that we did newaza randori (free practice on the ground, for you non-judo types and rolling around for you BJJ types!) but they were only allowed to apply techniques to the opponent's left side. While I did not find it too hard, personally, because I've probably practiced every mat move I do 10,000 times in my life, I still had to think for a fraction of a second longer when doing the left side. Some players found it really hard and would only get into a left-sided move by starting on the right and then jumping over the body.
It was a good drill in a couple of ways. First, variety is always good. Mostly, though, I think it made people realize much more than any talk I could have given them how much they really are, literally, one-sided players.
It was a good idea for practice today, if I do say so myself. I recommend it.