Tuesday, November 21, 2006

November 19, Sensei Coleman

The ballad of the bruised and battered Jujitsuka...

Last sunday Sensei Coleman said "Most of the time you practice technique, but sometimes you practice spirit" for the past few days I have been running on fumes. I have been working long hours, not a lot of sleep. But I have been staying on top of my training, making sure I hit the gym even if it's midnight. For 7 weeks I've lost 5lbs then gained it back. It's very much like jujitsu, it's about spirit, not stopping, not giving up, even though it seems nothing is improving. Today I kept negotiating with myself whether or not to go to class, but attendance is important to me. The way I used to be, I would put things off, then put them off forever. This morning I woke up so sore, my wrist hurts, my shoulders, knee, oh and I broke a toe yesterday, but I figured hey what the hell...let's go to class! ¡Spirit!

1. Striking ( 1-2-Uppercut )
• Jab lead, rotate hip
• Strike Opposite, but not for
• Upper cut like you were clipping with ippon. Keep arm close to your body.

More and more I am beginning to understand the importance of tendon strength in these types of exercises. When I workout now I work out for tendon / joint strength and flexibility. The trainer I work with hasn't implemented any wrist exercises, hit a few wrong uppercuts and you will understand the importance.

2. Harai-Goshi
• Pull uke into you, and raise your hands to about eye level to pull uke off balance and put them on their toes
• Step into uke's opposite foot, cross step between uke's legs
• Pivot and place foot on outside of uke's leg and lift

This throw is very complicated, even laying it out in a drawing is very complicated in thought, though to actually execute is quite simple once you get your body in the appropriate position.

3. Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi
• Holding Kenka Yotsu ( Judo Hold ) move backwards
• Pull on uke's arm bringing their arm into your ear, drop opposite hand into their chest, and up into thier ear, slide to the side placing opposite foot over their ankle

*Note : Keep elbow ( the one driving the lapel up ) out of your ribs, let it slide past. Being a bigger guy sometimes I get in the way of myself. Maybe something to think about when with a bigger guy.

I keep going for this throw. I want to get it right. It's so simple, deceptive. Even when your thrown, the ukemi is challenging because I even think to myself "Hmmm my foot, hey my head is moving, now my shoulders, am I falling? I guess I am...but my foot is still on the ground? Hey that ground is coming up real fast...."

Fight Fight Fight for the ankle block until you get it right.

4. 1-2-Kosotogari
• Jab
• Strike with opposite hand
• Cut across uke with jabbing hand and sweep

*Note : When I uke and am not swept, it's normally because I am being kicked in the shin or the side of the knee ( OUCH! ) When I am kicked in the shin, I ricochet back onto my foot, maybe there is a switch to Deashi Harai?

Somewhere around here, my body didn't want to work and became cement. We did some stuff with kicks or something. But hey it happens. When we bow in I tell myself, "Nothing else matters but this. Your ukemi will be perfect and you will take every technique without complaint or hesitation. Just keep going. Don't stop, can't stop, won't stop."

Sunday, November 19, 2006

To train or not to train, this is not the question!

Sometimes when I learn something new in class, I start to get a rough idea how many times I'm going to train for that one move so that it becomes more natural. The more I am aware of this - of how much training is necessary - I'm fired up to keep at it until I ask a question like:

"sensei, how do you know when you're training too much?"

and sensei coleman mentioned that injuries that don't go away and the lack of motivation were signs of training too much. That's good to know...'cause if I counted the number of pushups I've done this week (approx. 350), I'd start to play mind games and say "whoa, that's too much!" But, really, I'm ok. My pecs and arms are pretty sore, but in a good way and I'm still very motivated to keep training. So there is no real reason to stop. I notice how easy it is for the mind to make excuses about training. What discipline it takes to commit and keep it real.

1. judo style grab - step to center, check watch, answer phone, keep elbow in front of body, really pull up and toward u for uke's off balance toward you, back leg follows and cross steps behind lead leg, load uke on hip, lead leg now in front of uke's leg, lean forward at shoulders + lift leg at same time for reap, twist at hips, uke takes fall, follow up w/ 2 legs next to uke and standing over her

2. judo style grab - step to center, check watch, answer phone and kick waste basket, really pull up and toward u for uke's off balance toward you, notice sensei pulls up and forward, look at location where you want uke to fall, ankle block, throw uke behind u

3. mae geri - lead hand catches from outside ankle, same side hand makes x and catches inside of ankle, lead hand changes position to cup at heel + raise uke leg (if uke not so big), back leg comes around with sweep on standing leg

4. round house kick - step away at 45 deg to non kicking side of uke, back leg follows and make hamni

5. do 2 heel palm strikes to face to cover center before striking w/ round house

6. 1 arm lapel grab - take step back, catch attacking hand and put in kotogaeshi lock while free hand strikes face and then takes uke down at deltoid and bicep joint (?)

7. 1 arm lapel grab - ikkyu - take step back, catch attacking hand with hand that just struck face, drop low to get the elbow bend, same side arm does a parry (like the beginning of taisabaki kata) to set up to catch uke's elbow, hook thumb in elbow, do ikkyu

Thursday, November 16, 2006

November 14, Sensei Stephen

1. Ura-Nage ( from Tsuki )
Hitch Step into punch
Drop weight, lift uke
Pivot hips + Drop

I think anyone over 200lbs it might become difficult ;) Big thing here is that the lift is similar to a deadlift in weightlifting. When deadlifting you want to keep the toe visible when squatting ( alleviates stress on knees ) and a straight back. ( if you look up, your back will not be able to bend ) You should feel your quads, abs and chest on the lift.

This is interesting technique because it affords me my strength.

2. Morote-Seionage
Grip Uke as if for Uki-eri-Jime
As Uke defends against choke pull to the side and pivot
Keeping lead hand in front of you, touch elbow to opposite fist

*Note : Go for the standing gi choke
**Note : When throwing someone smaller lift hands to your center, the pulls uke up keeping them from hitting their head
***Note : You can drop knee for someone smaller

I worked with this with Jeannie. I wanted to because this is the throw that Zhenya gets me in...I just forgot how painful it is. Normally I don't come home with bruises, but tonight I did. Ouch! When being thrown by someone smaller extend your arm when slapping. Turn faster to land on your side as opposed to on ribs. I remember Jack ( where are you jack?! ) telling me that he broke his ribs ( mmmmmmmmmm ribs ) that way.

3. Garuma-Otoshi ( close the window ) with a Ouchi-Gari
Step into round house punch, checking uke's knee with your knee, place hand on shoulder
Roll shoulder back and to the side about 2 degrees ( close the window style )
Sweep foot

Through the year or so that I have been here I have heard a lot of things that I will carry with me. This past weekend Sensei Ivan was shoing me that when we block, we are controlling the center, so it's about being there first. This doesn't mean be faster it means be more efficient with your moves. When working I slide in and pivot at the last moment. I think of the speeding car that is racing, turns the wheel and flips over, except nage is the speed and uke is the car.

4. Escape from the Gaurd
Uke has you in a full gaurd ( ankles locked )
Press against uke's navel and pivot
Brace leg with both hands to break the gaurd and to flip leg
Take locked leg and tuck it into opposite knee

So say you fall onto uke, and they put you into a quick gaurd. Drop but do not lean in, uke can get an arm bar, choke etc.
Drop to avoid having your ribs crushed by uke.

5. Okuri-Eri-Jime from mount
Lock your gaurd
Grab uke's lapel towards the back of neck with opposite hand
Grab slack from collar with opposite hand and pull

It seemed like the big trick to this choke is to grab really deep into thier collar.

5. Okuri-Eri-Jime from gaurd
Lock your gaurd
Grab uke's lapel towards the back of neck with opposite hand, tuck head to avoid any oncoming damage
Grab slack from collar with opposite hand and pull

6. Escape Uki-Eri-Jime from Gaurd
Turn head, pull elbow into you
Kick off from opposite heel to bridge and push uke over
Now you are mounted

After class I asked Youval to show me some stuff with this. He showed me that if uke is coming towards you while you are in gaurd if you pull the arm towards you, you can turn it into many different thing, e.g. Juji-Gatame, Sankuku ( Triangle ) Choke, just bring uke's arm towards you.


Thanks for Youval and Sensei for staying after and showing me this...

7. Kesa-Gatame
So say I throw you in ippon and fall on you, I will...

Cradle neck and place myself in judo fall position
Pivot my hips so that way I am leaning on your ribs and can push off of my heels
Drop my shoulder onto your head to prevent a bridge
Trap arm and raise head

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

monday, nov 14, sensei stephen

Reflections: Studying jujitsu makes me really happy. I don't know why I think its fun - with all the wacks, smacks and bruising, the mental challenge and occasional frustrations and self-doubt/fear.

I go home after a dreary subway ride, try to finish up the day with a basic late night snack and call to mom, but I look at my bed and say, "Hey, I'll just lay down for 1 minute to catch my sanity because I'm so bloody sore."

Then the next thing I know, it's "Bing, bing, bing!" - 8am the next morning, soup gone cold on the stove, mom sitting wondering what happened to her child, and I'm like, "oh crap, late for work."

Then I sit on the subway back to Manhattan - still very sore - and I realize I'm still not doing enough training. Not enough art. Not enough cardio. Not enough...(list goes on).

I guess its never enough.


1. forward punch - elbow in crook and drop weight and uke turns in direction of projection

2. round house(?) - step into center and roll shoulder, really get knee in uke's lead leg

3. forward punch - hitch step and catch between arms really bend legs, extend leg, and turn uke over on side for fall

4. guard on ground - pushup with both hands and prop up with one knee and punch down, catch crook of knee w/ opposite hand, same side arm catches under uke leg, turn over on belly w/ hold (bend knee), trap other foot in crook of knee, and lock on ground

5. morote seionage - w/ new grip, thumb is inside lapel, and same side as throwing side, keep both arms in front, and elbow in arm pit of uke

6. same grip as above, but on ground. choke by having arm tug at lapel to you, while other grip (with thumb inside lapel) is deep into uke's collar

*gearoid said that there are two spots on throat for choke (one that takes 30 sec (?) to knock someone out) and well, i never thought of choking that way. he asked if i have seen ultimate fighter (ing?) show, and i have not.

* so i realize (just like i never knew what the solar plexis was), i guess i have to learn about the anatomy of the human throat to figure out the connection between hold and choke

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

November 13, Sensei Coleman

1. Warm-up
Today I made it 50 push ups. I think I did it before, but it might have been 40, this was definitely 50. Rock on!

2. Punching Drills

Left-Right-Uppercut & Left-Right Sweep

*Notes : Keep elbows tight to your side. Tight your elbow is touching your side. Beware the dreaded kick to the ribs!

3. Deashi Harai
Holding Kenka Yotsu ( Judo Hold ) move to the side, as uke rises to move, push uke's foot into the air ( helping it into the air )...watch uke fall.

4. Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi ( Lifting Pulling Ankle Block )

• Holding Kenka Yotsu ( Judo Hold ) move backwards
• Pull on uke's arm bringing their arm into your ear, drop opposite hand into their chest, and up into thier ear, slide to the side placing opposite foot over their ankle

It's interesting the name has three parts because the technique seems to be 3 parts as well.
1. Pulling on the arm lifts uke
2. Dropping the arm into the chest and rises into ear seems to drive uke
3. Your foot stops uke from moving forward creating the fall

This throw rules

5. Boom Boom Sweep...but be there first
Goal is to be faster...not stronger
• Hitch step
• As your hips open for the hitch step sweep to keep uke's foot moving

6. Boom Boom Sweep ( from Mae Gari )
• Uke kicks > Fade back, parry kick to the inside
• Hitch step, check shoulder
• Sweep leg uke is putting down

Move kick to the inside to prevent a counter kick

7. Boom Boom Sweep ( from Mae Gari )
• Uke kicks > Fade back, parry kick to the inside
• Hitch step, check shoulder
• Sweep leg that uke is standing on

Big difference between this one and the last one is you sweep the leg that uke is standing on. This makes uke go BOOM! I read that Ueshiba did not like kicks because it requires you to be on one leg...I'm sure he saw this done once or twice.

While doing this technique Sensei Coleman scolded me because I had fallen into Dixon, turned my back and got up.
Sensei said "NO NO, that is not how you get up, why would you turn your back on uke? Go into Kesa-Gatame, Lock arm, choke, move arm, stand up." I was slightly shocked by the comment, I was actually very happy to be scolded, I felt like I was expected to be more. I responded "HAI SENSEI!" Then unleashed the fury on Dixon!

8. Locking Up a Big Guy
Ok, let me give you guys a hand. Normally I try to not fall on you b/c it's hard for me to control my weight, especially 50lbs ago. Some of you know what it's like to feel me falling on you, but others I just pretend.

But you don't weigh 246lbs.

When locking someone up as big as me remember to drop both knees at separate times, but almost at the same time. One knee should be where my jaw meets, the other on my floating rib. ( this is what I feel when the Sensei's lock me up...it's also the only visible bruise I carry 7 days a week ) Also the armbar is your friend...it feels immediate, and scary, it also doesn't take a lot of thought. If uke's hand is near my groin, I lock the wrist, other than that I armbar...it's easier.

9. Okuri-Eri-Jime ( Sliding Lapel Choke )
We actually did this last Tuesday, but I started to do some sketches from class.

Honestly I really like Shime-waza, I don't know if it's weird or not but it really makes me understand the power of the art, it's like when Sempai Zhenya throws me...there's no way I can say that Jujitsu doesn't work.

10. Ippon Seionage
To me ippon breaks down to 3 techniques
1. Kozushi, the pulling uke off balance
2. The clip
3. The twist a.k.a the throw

In this drawing I wanted to recored the clip & twist. Sensei Ivan showed me that the clip needs to be deep into uke, Sensei Maria showed me it needs to be pointing up (like a gun ). Put them together and "The clip needs to be deep and pointing up ( like a gun ) Then twist your shoulder into your opposite knee and bring your clipping arm with you. Watch uke go Boom!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

weekend classes, sensei maria + coleman

whoa, what a weekend. let's see how much i remember:

sensei maria's class:
1. forward straight punch - hitch step, catch uke elbow @ crook w/ inside arm as attacking arm rechambers, keep back straight, use twist of hip and drop of weight to drive uke's arm down to ground

2. same above, but this time as attacking arm rechambers, you direct elbow to the back corner away from uke (where uke is off balance), this creates window where you step under + do sankyu

3. same above, but this time uke is smart and follows arm as attacking arm rechambers, then take back leg and step fwd + across uke so that you block ankle. sensei ivan said to keep the same hold on uke's arm as #1 and keep uke's attacking arm in front and forward, not collapsed into you.

4. uke jumps from behind and pins tori head between arm and ribs ( a head lock). do sacrifice throw by scooting into uke, outside hand on uke hip to direct uke away from you, drop weight to ground + keep feet on ground, push uke over w/ hips. then u can apply lock by rolling over to side where you just threw uke, and pin elbow into ground

5. old judo style and similar to above. a different lock on ground can be had when uke's arm is across your body, and one arm wraps around uke's head and clasps with other hand (in sandwich making form?) and you squeeze

6. face slash with club - step back + step back in + taisabaki and do katana nage which throws uke forward (same direction as attack). grab club as uke rolls out. be prepared if uke holds on club!

7. same as above, but when you step back in, both hands catch the attacking arm. i noticed sensei's hands where the one at elbow was underneath uke elbow and the other hand @ wrist was on top of wrist. then you bring uke wrist down + create arm bar + push @ elbow to ground. grab stick

sensei coleman class

1. take 3 steps in old judo style grab. and on third step throw uke behind you with ankle block. important to really commit in throw
2. mae geri - hitch step in + catch attacking leg with crook of elbow (keep tight to body) + other hand does strike thru face. simply drop + twist hip for take down. a special trick was to also sweep standing leg after catching striking leg.
3. mae geri - step to side facing uke (from fighting stance to back leaning stance) + swipe uke striking leg across centerline (not to outside! otherwise uke can strike again w/ mawashi geri), and other sweeps striking leg before it rests weight down
4. a drill where we skipped sideways and swept non lead foot in direction of skipping. sensei said it was good to sweep this foot into the lead foot
5. 2 shoteis + sweep outside. when going for 2nd strike, sweeping leg should be aligned + ready for sweep. seemed like technique was two counts, not three. end w/ 3 punches
6. 2 shoteis + sweep inside. after 2nd strike, sensei showed hip was returned to be square to help w/ inside sweep(?). a third push after uke is off balance w/ sweep, helps w/ take down. not too sure about this.

November 13, Sensei Maria

1. Hitch Step + Pivot
A letter to myself...

Dear Woody,
Please stop veering off to the side, move forward. Actually move forward the rest of class, except when somebody's swinging a club at your head.
Your Bruised Solar Plexis

2. Throw for Throw
My big goal was to throw without having to set up. I remember Sensei Coleman telling me that Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi, can't work at 1 mile an hour, so I figured it would be a good "in movement" throw. I do not believe I was close enough on the throw...

When I was thrown by Sensei Ivan, I am very happy with my breakfalls, it's a great thing to not be afraid of those big falls anymore. You can also pay attention to the signals of your body to undertsand the throw, i.e. "My arm is clippped very tightly"

3. From Club Attack
• Uke swings, hitch step backwards, cover head, Sensei Maria said "Like Headphones"
... I thought of Bjork for some reason

4. Ude-Nage from Club Attack
• Hitch Step backwards, cover up
• Hitch step back in, checking the club hand with your hand, place other hand on the elbow to create the Ude-gatame (arm lock)
• Cut down like sword and let go for projection

*Note: Uke can still hold onto the club
5. Katana-nage from Club attack
• Hitch Step backwards, cover up
• Tai-sabaki back in, not too deep ( i do this every time!) project arm into the direction of the throw

6. Sumi gaeshi from Guillotine Choke
• Check choke with hand to remove any choke
• Scoot in and cut up the crotch and sit at your heel ( this should be about 6" in front )
• As you sit, raise your hand away from your face to keep uke from hitting you in the face

*Note : Sensei Ivan called it Sumi Gaesh, if I am wrong, please let me know
**Note : By trapping the leg you prevent uke from projecting which causes a head stand almost immediately...so to quote Sensei Ivan "Don't grab my leg man!"

So in my research this technique falls under Sutemi-waza ( Sacrifice Throws ) and Ma-sutemi ( front sacrifices ) supposedly since these techniques are considered risky they have a more dangerous consequence to them, via headstand. In falling I hit my head twice before I figured out to put my hand down on the mat to give myself a cushion of space. This was a really really cool technique.

7. Sparring with Sensei Coleman

"Mindful not fearful"

So sparring with throws with Sensei Coleman... I think we had already thrown a few strikes and I'm thinking to myself...cross step-reap ( ouchi-gari), punch-punch sweep ( kosoto-gari), hit head, kick ribs...

...I realized I didn't have that fear in my chest, and after realizing that I noticed that remembering that I wasn't fearful didn't cause the fear to rise. ( does this make sense? ) I used to sit on the sideline ad have to mentally pump myself up for sparring. I guess something has changed.

In keeping with my earlier thought, moving forward ( physically & philosophically ) in sparring seemed to feel more proactive as opposed to reactive, it also seemed to allow me to get a bit closer to my partner.

As Sensei Coleman and I clinched, I had a hard time putting a throw together ( the movements ) so I just threw some kicks and avoided throws, in the future I need to:

- Bend my knees in the clinch, to drop my weight
- Focus on shoulders as opposed to eyes
- Fight for a comfortable grip

Friday, November 10, 2006

sensei maria class

1. double lapel grab
1 hand in crook of uke elbow, turn hip at + step out in angle while other hand hooks thumb under ukes other elbow + push this elbow to uke ear, emphasize the dropping of weight on uke's elbow + stepping out @ angle more than elbow to ear, then uke is off balance, then stepping into uke with following leg

2. double label grap - same as above except osoto gari (make sure bum is behind uke's bum)

3. forward straight punch - hitch step in, same hand as lead leg grabs uke face @ cheek to cause uke's head to lean against tori, step back around using same lead leg + bring uke head with you, uke takes fall.

* another nice way to grab is go for shoulder instead of uke head
* another not so nice way is to grab @ eye. ew. not for dojo.

4. same side wrist grab - shihonage

* when hitching step forward, simple bring uke hand forward to stretch out. don't make a big motion with uke's hand when setting up.

5. 1 arm lapel grab - step in center and drop weight

6. 1 arm lapel grab - same above but catch foot and take a big step back and sweep forward. don't pick up foot off ground

some games:
slap shoulders
tap head while uke on ground before uke gets on feet

Thursday, November 02, 2006

nov 2, sensei maria class

1. round house punch - step into center, block and face in direction of hands (keep hands in center) + immediately swipe attacking arm down + across uke center - make sure you direct knife into uke and not u, carefully catch knife at side of hip, step into uke at angle + shoulder into uke, uke takes forward roll

2. round house punch - tiger lock: important to emphasize the shoulder roll + if you roll enough for uke to fall - that's good, entry is like close window , important to bend knees...

3. fwd knife stab - kotogaeshi: don't hitch step too deep, parry to redirect knife away + cross centerline, back leg steps to side, prepare for lock, twist hip + kotogaeshi

4. cross hand wrist grab - katana nage? immediately bring uke hand down + hitch step? , offbalance is key here, then step thru uke at angle so uke takes forward roll

5. same above but this time, back leg steps across/infront of uke, load on hip, uke's arm in armbar over shoulder, seemed like sensei grabbed on ukes other hand while letting other (in armbar) go when doing throw, keep back straight, no need to twist hips so much when loading onto hip

6. hiza geri - step in center, catch uke neck with same hand, both hands clasp behind uke neck (not interlocking fingers tho), back leg swings around at same time + knee kick