Judo Journal: Heavy On My Feet, Embracing Sacrifices

by Dan Walsh

I’m going to start keeping notes on each of my Judo practices. This is the first such note, and pertains to my practice on April 18th.

Things I Did Well

  1. I went all out and got a killer cardio workout.
  2. My footwork is getting faster.
  3. My Seoi Nage might me salvageable.
  4. I reversed a brown belt – HARD!
  5. My Tomoe Naga is turning into a great throw!

Areas Needing Improvement

  1. My forward entrances are weak, weak, weak.
  2. I pretty much forgot all but three moves during randori.
  3. My muscles were screaming for fuel halfway through practice.
  4. I did not prepare a practice agenda before class.
  5. I am heavy on my feet.

I have chosen my first tournament. It has done much to light a fire under my ass. I have less than 40 days before the weigh-in, and I will be gone in Costa Rica for 13 of those days. I can solve 2, 3, and 4 with just a little preparation before class. Items 1 and 5 will be a little more challenging.

Sensei Miguel’s most common critique of me is that I am too heavy on my feet. This has many obvious negative impacts on my Judo prowess. I’ve done a bit of research and have found that boxers jump rope especially as a way to stay light on their feet. I will obtain a jump rope and add it to my morning workout regime. I have also (just today!) purchased a pair of Vibram 5-Finger shoes, which should help keep on the balls of my feet, and should also be useful for wet jungle hikes in Costa Rica. This was also a great way to rationalize the purchase!

As for my forward entrances, this may be blasphemous, but I am forsaking forward throws. That’s right, NO FORWARD THROWS. I am not naturally inclined to them – for whatever reason –  and trying to get them combat ready for the tournament will only take valuable time away from my throws that already show promise. I will focus solely on Sutemi-Waza sacrifice throws, and counter attacks. I need to hurry up and decide on a solid move list set. I’m going to work these into a sort of kata workout by combining it with J.P. Muller’s no-equipment routine (recently featured on LifeHacker). I will use this workout and my very portable new jump rope to provide practice and exercise while in Costa Rica.