Sunday, August 10, 2008


No picture - I didn't think to bring my camera.

Earlier in the week I got my first taste of Judo training, courtesy of Mike. A little while ago he brought his friend Junji, a Judo black belt from Japan, to KDT for some BJJ training. He struck me as a cool guy and so I decided to act on what had for me been a pretty long-standing curiousity, which was to try Judo out and see what happens.

I had been interested in Judo for a fair while, but I didn’t want to jump into too many different things all at once. I already had Jiu-Jitsu and boxing to tide me over, so I put this back on the shelf. Then one day I read Dave Camarillo’s book, Guerilla Jiu-Jitsu, and the combination of BJJ and Judo really got me thinking. I just kind of don’t see myself trying any of his flying submissions.

It just so happened that in CMD training, we began to work on takedowns from the clinch around the same time. As soon as I realized what was going on I was sold – we did no-gi setups for tai otoshi, uchi mata, kata guruma and koshi guruma that week, definitely one of the more exciting developments of the CMD program at KDT.

I arranged to meet up with Junji and Mike at the Bangsar Sports Centre, where they train Tuesday nights (which was a major reason I never tried to join before, the timing is a direct conflict with the BJJ class). Mike met up with me a litter earlier and drove me there, where we found Junji waiting for us. We decided to meet up before the Tuesday class and train for a bit, then head back to KDT for BJJ.

The first thing I have to say about the sports centre is if the city council was trying to design that place with camouflage in mind, they did a really good job. It’s right smack in the middle of a housing estate, far away from anywhere I would have thought to look for it.

We began with some basics and Junji talked to me a little while about balance and the breaking thereof. After that and a little bit of practice (during which I got dumped on my head, ouch) some more people started to show up. Junji and Mike got me to spar with some of the regulars there. I did have a bit of difficulty adjusting to the rules of the Judo game, though. The biggest one for me was not being allowed to hold a cross-lapel grip for more than a few seconds, which took some getting used to.

I also found out that a lot of the guys there were keen on practicing their groundwork. I rolled with Junji, a fellow named Ash and this guy Chew, who is a black belt there and is apparently on the state team – as well as a really nice guy and a great training partner. During standup, whenever he would set me up for a huge seoi nage, he made sure it was always just uchikomi, giving me ample time to (very humbly) tap his leg.

It was a good time and a great learning experience. It was cool doing standup with those guys, and it reinforced the importance of having good grip strength, which they had in spades. Rolling with them was a bit like with wrestlers, as they had a lot of power and excellent base. They also know how to use their weight and their grips made it difficult for me in a lot of situations.

Finally, I learned the importance of being prepared. The room we trained in looked fairly innocuous when I stepped in. The thing is, when it starts filling up with guys it starts to turn, ever so slightly, into a gigantic pressure cooker. I was there for about 2 and a half hours, either getting thrown on my butt or rolling, without much of a rest in between. That, combined with the monstrous grips these guys have – they’re also pretty strong – made for an experience that almost equated rolling with all 130(?) kilos of big Raj at KDT.

I also didn’t think to bring water, which really cost me. By the time we got to KDT, dehydration was completely beating me down – after about an hour I had finished 7 cans of 100 Plus.

I’m going to give it a little more time to settle in, but I’m really hoping to train there again soon. Just about everyone was cool to me and it was a fun change of pace. I’m looking forward to more of this type of training!

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