As you already know Mrs Munki has taken up judo to help with her MMA training. The instructor she has is Sophie Cox a GB Olympian for two games. Mrs Munki is really pleased with her coaching (and Mrs Munki can be demanding, as she was a sports coach tutor) so with a high quality coach sourced and a good facility, I thought I would give it a try myself. Just once a week to support my BJJ. Also after reading that Helvecio Penna was a judo black belt before he started jiu jitsu at 31, it seems they complement each other quite well. One other benefit is that it is something we could do together, as Mrs Munki didn’t mind me attending one class a week at HER gym.
Having attended a number of classes now, Sophie is really good and patient as a coach which is something I value. The physical nature of judo is good for building up my strength. Also I can see where the judo will fill and compliment the gaps I have with my jiu jitsu. A knowledge of grips and take downs is something I am lacking at the moment. Plus judo is played more assertively than I am used to practising my jits, so I figured that this is a good way to modify my mental state. Something I have acknowledged I need to do something about in my last post. Not going all psycho or anything but just playing a more assertive game.
I see the judo as very much a fun thing as it is a little easy to learn and much more instantly gratifying than jiu jitsu. In my first lesson I learnt how to throw someone. Making that nice loud slap with someone feels really cool straight away. Its a bit like a reward after a week of very technical jib jitsu.
Also after speaking to one of the higher grades at my BJJ school who also does judo it has reasserted that the effort is worth it. He also pointed out that he has also competed in a few Judo competitions and has done pretty well at them. I do think that when I eventually dip my toe in the pool of competition being confident at takedowns will definitely not do me any harm. Plus as most of my sparring starts on the ground, I do need to learn how to start the fight on my feet and take it down to my benefit. This was particularly highlighted when my judo coach competed at her first no gi competition. Her takedowns were really powerful and even winded one opponent so much that they tapped out. I’m not expecting this kind of result, but having this extra skill in my pocket will be a slight advantage.
One other thing I like about the session is having a female coach. It really eases the testosterone on the mats. The guys are there to learn and not go all Alpha, as ego centric guys would not want to be coached by a female. So this is really cool, I can get a lot out of that single hour a week. If you get an opportunity yourself I would really recommend it.
Over the past few weeks my coaches have been focusing on hook flips and butterfly guard. This is great because an arthritic gibbon could pass my butterfly guard, so it was a great opportunity to improve a weakness. I have been shown some really good techniques and have been able to perform them reasonably well. However, yes there is always that banana skin that brings you to a thudding halt. I have noticed that I struggle to roll over my right shoulder. Now this may have something to do with the fact that this is the one I had the surgery on six months ago and things aren’t very flexible in there yet. But it still doesn’t stop me from looking totally weird when I try the technique. Left side “Yeah that went ok” right side “Err what happened there?”
So this was another aspect of my game that drilling could help. The more I do the techniques that are limited by my shoulder, the more it will improve the flexibility and movement potential, surely? As an Old Munki my body movement and control really does need some extra work. I am sure when I was younger I would have picked these things up with no fear. But older more scarred and cautious they take actual work. This is not a problem I anticipated that I would have to put work in to just being able to move properly. I may be old but I’m not the sort of person to be blind to a challenge.
So away I went for an hour or so in the privacy of my garage, so no one can see that this Munki can’t move. I have been doing this for a few weeks now and I must admit some stuff if not everything has improved, but my confidence has improved. As well as feeling more comfortable rolling over my shoulders. I am now also including some inverted drills to improve this aspect. When I try these when sparring it is sheer luck more than skill that I get anywhere with them. I am also being very generous to myself when I describe what I do currently as inverted. One funny thing I have found when doing these drills is that I start to feel almost sea sick by the end. This also happens when I do any inverted postures at yoga. Not a nice feeling, but I’m guessing that I have to get used to the position more and this will pass. Or at least I’m hoping it will!