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Judo experiences for the week. 

Hi all,
so this week I did less coaching than last week and more observing both at Alresford Judo Club and at the HMS Collingwood Judo Club.

Monday night is Alresford Judo Club (Sun Hill Junior School, Sun Lane, Alresford). This week Mr. Ray Whitfield (the main coach for many years at the club) did most of the teaching, especially in the younger childrens class.

It is always good to watch someone else coach and see how the same set of students react to a different person. I learnt alot by watching Ray's experience shine. He knows the kids really well and they know him. I took more of the older age group class, but Ray and I worked on the same core ideas.

The classes developed on last weeks area of focus, O Soto.
The main tool we used was working in four directions, using O Soto (done on the same side). The idea being to allow the kids to learn that doing a throw whilst moving in different directions requires adjustment to the throw.
With the older kids, whilst I was coaching them, Ray identified that their rhythm moving sideways was not strong. So we spent some time trying to develop rhythm, using the Uke's elbow a bit like a pendulum.

The other thing that I loved about Monday was learning a new game/exercise. Ray did this GREAT "The Force" game, like in Star Wars. Basically he stood at the end of a crash mat and each child would walk up to him (often twirling imaginary light sabers). Once they got to him he would point/wave his hand and the kid would fall backwards (from the force you see).
I thought it was a great exercise for helping kids get comfortable falling backwards (Ukemi).

On Wednesday, I was at the HMS Collingwood Judo Club near Fareham. Due to some double booking of the Dojo at the SARC, we were sharing the tatami with the JuJitsu club. Their Sensei suggested rather than a normal session we deliver a "Mini-seminar" of Judo and JuJitsu.
This was quite rewarding, as exploring "traditional Jujitsu" and Judo at the same time shows us alot about Judo I think.

The main comment I would make is that Judo is the natural evolution of Jujitsu when influenced by practical application under pressure.

We of course don't do the strikes and wrist locks, but I think this is more than made up for by the fact that the techniques we do are all tested in competition. Unlike Jujitsu, our techniques are able to be practised and perfected with resistance and near 100% effort. We don't need to "pull our punches".

Good examples of this were apparent in the session, where for example Taio toshi was shown by the Jujitsu Sensei, preceeded by a block to a strike and several strikes. The throw itself would never have worked on a Judo mat. I will be generous and say that they don't need to have as effective a throw as the Uke has already been struck several times before the throw is made.
I am not 100% convinced this theory holds water. For example, one of the strikes they used was a strike to the side/rear of the head/neck. This I was informed would make the throw work as the person would be "out of it". But as a Judoka Ihave lost count of the times I have been clubbed around the side/back of the head by someone taking an "over the top" grip. Yet, I managed to defend myself from throws... at least most of the time.
Perhaps a "real" strike would be harder than the "strike" of someone taking the over the top grip.

Another example was their version of Juji gatame. It showed the lack of real testing against a resisting opponent. Things we did in out version were not done as they'd never had to do it on a person who was using every muscle to prevent their arm being locked like we do in Judo week in, week out.
Their initial version was not too bad, just loose and lacking in some of the key points most Judoka would apply. Their second variation was, from a Judo perspective, completely un-usable. Basically they did the lock with one leg over the chest and the other leg near the head bent (think a traditional Judo Juji Gatame with the legs the wrong way around).
The reasoning behind this was they were kicking the person in the head prior to application of the throw. But, having never kicked someone in the head they did the Juji Gatame from a position where Uke's body was not moved and all that really happened was Uke tucked their chin in, or head on Tori's leg.
As Judo people we know that Uke would simply sit up and be between your legs. But the Jujitsuka never having tested their techniques in competition simply don't know how people defend.

This is not me saying that Judo is better than Jujitsu, it is me saying that Judo is the evolution of Jujitsu. That Judo has shed strikes and such and focused on a smaller set of techniques and raised the level far beyond where Jujitsu does them today.

Because Judo is done with serious resistance and we can practise near and at 100% our level of refinement and ability to actually apply techniques is simply beyond what they are able to do. They simply can't strike at 100%, they don't have the opportunity to develop the application of their techniques.

I suspect that everything the Jujitsu sensei said about the effectiveness of his techniques was true... once. When they were developed, when they were done in the heat of battle. In rougher times.

Perhaps in Kano's time this was already apparent back when the legendary contest between Judo and Jujitsu to teach the Tokyo Ploice took place or so the story goes. perhaps even then, Kano's selection of techniques coupled the development of things like Randori were what made the difference??

It was good to explore "our roots" and I have to say I think I walked away with a Jujitsu technique we should be able to apply in kumi kata.
I also learned a fun new warmup.

It was all in all a great experience and I hope that the Jujitsuka and Judoka alike learned from the night.


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