Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bad judo habits in old age

As experienced (ahem, old) judo players, you would think that the senseis would be good role models. A lot of the time that is true. However, if you don't occasionally observe yourself, as well as your students, you can easily fall into bad habits.

Yesterday, I mentioned one that I had found myself doing without realizing it, that is, always practicing matwork techniques to the same side. I swear I did not do that when I was competing and not for years afterward, either. Once I didn't train every single day and was not always focused on getting better and better to win that next match - I got a little lazy, mentally as well as physically.

A second bad habit I caught myself doing several years ago was switching grips. I KNOW that it is a really bad idea, when you can't get your right-handed grip, to switch to a left-handed grip.  If your opponent is trying to prevent you from getting a right grip, it's probably not because today was declared, "Let's fight left-handed day" and you didn't get the memo. Almost certainly, it's because the opponent expects an advantage from forcing you to fight left-handed. It's called grip-FIGHTING for a reason.

When students ask me what is the best grip, I tell them,

"The best grip is whichever one your opponent doesn't want you to have."

Well, I got out of that bad habit, and now that I'm aware of it, I'm working on practicing matwork to both sides again.

Yesterday, I said for readers to post comments on THEIR bad habits they caught themselves falling into (and Google tracks web views so I KNOW a bunch of you read this blog) but apparently none of you have ever caught yourselves going backward but me.

a) I am the only one who forgets judo they used to know,
b) You all are a bunch of liars.


Anonymous said...

Don't forget to enjoy it. Years later the rest is just details .

Al B Here said...

In my case, I don't know enough judo to have developed good habits, so I imagine that most of what I do could be considered a bad habit. My biggest bad habit would probably fall under mindset. Since I've spent more time doing BJJ than judo, I find myself lacking a sense of urgency and intensity during matwork. We have loads of time to get the submission in BJJ, so I've got to shake that mindset out of me when doing judo.

robthornton72 said...

My worst habit is being a coach. I never feel like it gives me enough time to improve my own sloppiness.

Sylver said...

Maybe the problem was the phrasing of your question: "what have you forgotten that you used to know?"

I for one didn't realize you were asking about bad habits. I plead guilty to both bad habits you mentionned, as well as:

1. Sloppy warm-up.
All my life, I have been told the importance of a good warm up. I have told others as well and yet half of the time, I don't warm up properly.

2. Not doing enough repetitions on a new move in newaza:
I learn a move, it works. I do it 3-4 times, I feel I got it. Then move on something else and it might be weeks or months before I try it again.

3. Switching to a defensive game to avoid getting beaten or to avoid exhaustion in training. When my tank is getting near empty, I usually switch to a passive game which allows me to "go the distance". It may not sound too bad, but the result is that my game is too defensive in general and my faulty cardio doesn't improve much.

4. Skipping the cooling down/stretching period

Probably many more, but that's all I can think of for now.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Hi, Sylver -
I like to think (maybe it is fading memory) that I had fewer of those bad habits when I was a competitor because they get beaten out of you. For example, I totally do your number 3 now - or I did when I was still doing randori a lot several years ago. It IS bad because in a match I would lose for being overly defensive. I see a lot of older people doing that, just like me, because they are out of shape. It is a bad habit because even though competitors will run into the overly defensive opponent now and then, if our young competitors ONLY fight old people like me (I know you are young and cool, I'm just saying) then they get caught off guard when fighting against more aggressive, sudden attackers

Sylver said...

Good point about the experience I am giving to my partners. I hadn't thought of that.

Do you have some suggestions on how I can develop a more aggressive game?

Dr. AnnMaria said...

When Ronda was young, I lied to her and told her that if you didn't attack every 3 seconds you get a penalty. She was in judo 3 years before she found out this wasn't true (and I'm still mad at Tawny Uemura for telling her!). By then, though, her habits had been set. When I was a competitor, I used to tell myself that if I didn't attack every 5 seconds it was a penalty, and just kept score in my own head. So, the way I saw it, if I wasn't attacking, I was losing.

Sylver said...

Thanks. I will try that.

By that standard, I would have earned HM on virtually every newaza session I've been involved in. :(