Sunday, October 7, 2007

Christmas Comes Early

I feel as if I am writing a Christmas letter. You know, those annoying epistles you get in the mail around the holidays that run something like,

"Dear Friends,
This year, Billy Bob won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his techniques of performing brain surgery using nothing but dental floss and a plastic knife from Starbucks. Mary Sue is in the Guinness Book of World Records after giving birth to octuplets, all of whom could speak, read and play the cello by age ten months.

Hope all is equally well with you and yours."

Of course, you know these self-congratulating relatives are no doubt secretly convinced that you and yours are living in a mud hut on the banks of the Mississippi, earning your living from bribes the captains pay you not to throw rocks at the passengers on the riverboat casinos.

Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending the National Hispanic Journalists Association awards banquet where my oldest daughter, Maria, received the emerging journalist of the year award. The series for which she won the award was her articles on the world cup, published in both Spanish and English, and the editorial she wrote in response to the irrational hate mail she received from some people about having the audacity to 'ruin America' by writing articles in two languages. Can these people spell "free speech"?

Maria talked back (I don't know where my children develop these habits.)In her article that ran on the editorial page, Long before I was a sportswriter, I was a Latina she says, she learned that...

"...even if you don't want to, sometimes you have to take a stand."

I hadn't really given much thought to my children breaking gender barriers until so many people congratulated Maria about not only being such a successful journalist but also being a female sports writer. I found it noteworthy also, that when I looked for an article by her to link here to give anyone interested a sample of her current work it was a piece for ESPN on two siblings who are excelling, both in soccer but one went a very different path, choosing a collegiate career first.

In the airport on the way home, I got a call from Jenn saying she had performed her own slam-dunk, on the CBEST (the exam people need to pass before they can teach). Since she won't even start the teacher credential program until next year, that was pretty good news. In December, at age 21, Jennifer will become the first one on her father's side of the family ever to graduate from college. I am sure that it will be one of those times that we will all be really sad he wasn't around to see it, but come the graduation ceremony, we will definitely all make enough noise for us, him and several other people who couldn't make it.

Changing planes at O'Hare, I called Ronda to check on how the training for the U.S. Open was coming along. She said,

"I'm going 70."

I told her that 70 kg is a fine division and that I thought her decision to move up was good, not just for her, but as a good role model for little girls in American who often are fed a steady diet of unhealthy, near-anorexic images by the media. She laughed and said,

"No, mom. Not 70 kg. I am driving my friend's car right now and going 70 miles an hour! She's yelling at me, though, because I'm going over the speed limit."

Sigh. They can't all be perfect all of the time.
------------REQUIRED JUDO TIP ----------------------------------
Most of the time, the person with the inside grip wins. If you have a grip on the outside, and the other person is inside, with a grip on your lapel and sleeve, you are at a disadvantage. I would get in that position only VERY briefly, for example, as I took a grip and attacked with tani otoshi.

If you stay in a situation where your opponent has an inside grip and you have an outside grip, you are likely to get thrown. Your two best options are to break the grip or to attack. However, if you choose "attack" make sure it is a move you have practiced and not something just to get out of a disadvantageous grip, because your opponent may well be looking for a half-hearted attack that he or she can then counter. Also, when you do attack, try as much as possible to negate that inside grip. For example, when I do my tani otoshi, I crunch the opponent's right arm against her body, pulling her tightly to me with my right arm over hers, so that she cannot use it for something like a harai goshi or uchi mata. Also, I attack instantly when she gets the inside grip, not giving her any time to set up for a technique such as an uchi mata.

Other people will immediately break the opponent's grip or switch so that they, too,have an inside grip so that neither player has an advantage. That is an effective strategy also. One bit of contention I have, is that those players often believe theirs is the only effective strategy, and that is not really true.


Unknown said...

If Maria is interested in an internship in TV news, have her contact me and I'd be happy to see what I can help set her up with here in Denver if she's interested in coming out here at all. Of course, this might require a trip from her mom and/or sister to the Denver Judo club too. :P

Carlos Graña said...

Saludos Dr. Ann Maria,

Solamente queria decirle que me agrada mucho su blog, lo encuentro muy divertido la forma en que comentas su vida diaria, ayer me quede toda la tarde leyendolo. Tambien, queria agregar que estan muy buenos la sección de los tips para mejorar mi judo. ¿ Tendra por casualidad algunos videos cuando Ud. competia?

un abrazo cordial,