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Thread: Having a hard time "getting" Judo

  1. #1
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    Default Having a hard time "getting" Judo

    Hello!

    I started taking Judo about two months ago. I really like it, but I feel like I've already hit a wall (before I've really even learned anything!! haha). I just do not get the timing or the upper/lower body coordination necessary to get these throws off. I have had many people try to patiently explain things to me but it is just not sinking in.

    So can anyone give me any pointers about getting started with Judo? Anything is appreciated, but specifically I would like to know any tips about maintaining balance during throws, keeping upper/lower body coordinated, timing, etc.

    Thanks!
    Al LaPrade

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    I suggest posting on the Judo Forum.

    http://judoforum.com/index.php?
    Bill Reddock
    Los Angeles IaidoKai

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    Thank you for the reply, I will check it out!
    Al LaPrade

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    Default Beginning Judo tips part 1.

    Quote Originally Posted by newtmonkey View Post
    Hello!

    I started taking Judo about two months ago. I really like it, but I feel like I've already hit a wall (before I've really even learned anything!! haha). I just do not get the timing or the upper/lower body coordination necessary to get these throws off. I have had many people try to patiently explain things to me but it is just not sinking in.

    So can anyone give me any pointers about getting started with Judo? Anything is appreciated, but specifically I would like to know any tips about maintaining balance during throws, keeping upper/lower body coordinated, timing, etc.

    Thanks!
    Are you in a competitive or recreational judo club? Either way it will take a while before your get into a judo rhythm. When you do fit ins, go extra slow so you aren't jerky and try to see how the movements blend together. When you do randori, don't put much energy in your arms trying to keep your opponent at bay. Most of the time in randori you get an advantage by reading and capitalizing on your opponent's mistakes. If you keep your arms too strong then your opponent can read you and know what you are going to do that much easier.

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    Default Jujutsu tip

    I'm not a Judoka so this is a more universal tip.

    Always unbalance the person in two directions. Don't try to take them front, back, left or right, try to take them left&down or right&back.

    So for instance with something like Tai Otoshi, pull them down and to the side.

    Works for me.

    Second tip: If you're using strength you're not doing it right. So for something like sukui nage you shouldn't be picking the person up like a sack of potatoes, you should be using your "stance" and movement to simply break the person's balance.

    Hope that's of some help.
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    To many this will come across as sacrilege in the modern judo world but I think the best way to learn many of the things you're looking for is through judo kata. Nage no kata and katame no kata can teach you so much. Sadly most dojo (at least in the US) reserve if for higher kyu ranks since it is required to obtain shodan I think. I struggled for a couple years, often getting the snot beat out of me until I learned nage no kata. Once I learned it my judo grew many fold in a very short time. I've talked to a few very competitive judoka about kata and they all say the same thing, "eh, it's just doing the throws in the right order and add some formalities... who cares?" If you do it right you can learn a great deal about timing, body coordination, grip placement, rhythm, kuzushi (yours and theirs), etc.

    Just my 2 cents though,
    Christopher Covington

    Daito-ryu aikijujutsu
    Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu heiho

    All views expressed here are my own and don't necessarily represent the views of the arts I practice, the teachers and people I train with or any dojo I train in.

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    I recommend Drager's Judo Formal Techniques for great advice on how to get he most out of kata training.
    Best regards,
    Bruce Mitchell

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    Quote Originally Posted by newtmonkey View Post
    So can anyone give me any pointers about getting started with Judo?
    Go to class and practice. Watch what your instructors do closely and try to imitate it.
    Neil Gendzwill
    Saskatoon Kendo Club

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    Thank you all for the replies, I have been away for a little while and forgot all about this post I made!

    I am attending class at least once per week (attending the second class is difficult due to work), and while I enjoy it, it is getting extremely frustrating. Students that have joined a month after me have shot past me in skill, going in randori full speed and at least being able to put up a good fight, whereas I can't even get techniques done in uchikomi where your partner is far more compliant. It doesn't bother me that they are newer students, it bothers me that the disparity is skill is so huge. People have tried explaining techniques to me a bunch of different ways but I am just not getting it. ouchigari is particularly difficult for me, I feel completely unbalanced from start to finish and can't coordinate my upper and lower body, and on top of that I don't get the timing at all.

    At first I was just telling myself to keep going and it will sink in, but like I said I am seeing guys who started after me (with no experience) shooting way past me, so there is definitely something wrong. I am simply not learning anything, I don't feel that I am getting better, which is why I am looking around for advice. I know people react to instruction in different ways (for example, in learning Japanese rote memorization/repetition did not work at all for me, so I had to try a bunch of different methods until I found one that worked). So that is why I am trying to gather info from sources other than my class.

    Just watching and copying does not work for me, it never has. You can get up there and show me a technique 5 times and if you then have me try to do it I won't even know where to start. I've always been like that, I can't just copy stuff very well. I need to understand the reason you do a certain movement, what you should be feeling when you do so-and-so, etc etc. I guess I'm a hands on learner. I know 3 months is no time at all, but I have been "practicing and copying what the teacher does" for that time and I am no more proficient at Judo than I was 3 months ago, so this is not going to work. I know the difference between a learning plateau and a brick wall.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Pitaro View Post
    Are you in a competitive or recreational judo club? ... When you do randori, don't put much energy in your arms trying to keep your opponent at bay....
    It's a recreational judo club, but a lot of the members go to tournaments. It's a good and bad thing I think... good in that since the majority of the members are black belts they have excellent control and don't use techniques on me that could be dangerous.... bad in that they have been doing Judo for a LONG time (many when they were students, which means they were practicing several times a week) and so between the sheer hours put in plus their competition experience they have learned some great stuff but can't necessarily explain it to someone who doesn't have that experience (me).

    I have been working on relaxing my arms more, but I'm not even at the point yet where that is a problem. Can't even get techniques to work naturally in uchikomi so randori is of course impossible for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Keegan
    ...Always unbalance the person in two directions...
    Thanks, I will keep this in mind!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kendoguy9
    ...judo kata...
    Unfortunately, we do not learn the kata in our class. I don't think the black belts do either. We don't have a separate black belt or kata class, so it seems like our school just doesn't do it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Mitchell
    I recommend Drager's Judo Formal Techniques for great advice on how to get he most out of kata training.
    Thank you for the suggestion, I will track this book down.
    Last edited by newtmonkey; 5th December 2010 at 11:27.
    Al LaPrade

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    I think that supplementary training might be the way to go. But not so much for the strength and endurance stuff (although that will be a nice side benefit). I am thinking that something like yoga will help you develop proprioception and somatic awareness.
    Best regards,
    Bruce Mitchell

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    Default Keep It Simple...

    Greetings,

    For a newbie, 2 maxims should be kept in mind:

    1) When Pushed, Pull. When Pulled, Push.

    2) Maximum efficiency from Minimum Effort.

    I know these 2 maxims are paraphrased from the originals, but for a person new to Judo these may be the most easiest concepts to grasp.

    Regards,
    TommyK
    Tom Militello
    "You can't hide on the mats." Terry Dobson sensei.

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    Quote Originally Posted by newtmonkey View Post
    At first I was just telling myself to keep going and it will sink in, but like I said I am seeing guys who started after me (with no experience) shooting way past me, so there is definitely something wrong. I am simply not learning anything, I don't feel that I am getting better, which is why I am looking around for advice. I know people react to instruction in different ways (for example, in learning Japanese rote memorization/repetition did not work at all for me, so I had to try a bunch of different methods until I found one that worked). So that is why I am trying to gather info from sources other than my class.

    Just watching and copying does not work for me, it never has. You can get up there and show me a technique 5 times and if you then have me try to do it I won't even know where to start. I've always been like that, I can't just copy stuff very well. I need to understand the reason you do a certain movement, what you should be feeling when you do so-and-so, etc etc. I guess I'm a hands on learner. I know 3 months is no time at all, but I have been "practicing and copying what the teacher does" for that time and I am no more proficient at Judo than I was 3 months ago, so this is not going to work. I know the difference between a learning plateau and a brick wall.
    This is all IMO, so take it with a grain of salt and for what it's worth. "Visual learning", like doing voice impressions, is indeed an innate ability. Some people just have the knack for doing impressions and voices, and some people just have a knack for looking at what a teacher does and being able to imitate it.

    However, it is also a learned skill. If you throw in the towel now and say, "Well, I'm not a visual learner, I just can't learn that way", then you'll never develop that skill. And it's an important skill to learn, because once you get past the basics, there's no one who can tell you what to do to reach the higher levels. You've got to be able to look at others who are better than you, glean from their judo something that will improve your own.

    This skill is also similar to, but distinct from that innate ability to mimic movement. The former is conscious, while the latter is often very much unconscious, so even the guys with the knack have to develop this to suss out the subtleties.

    I think that the easiest way, in the beginning, to develop this skill is through the use of conscious comparison. If you have just one teacher that you're trying to watch and learn from, you've got no standard with which to judge his movements. So, one thing to do is compare how the sensei moves compared to high level students. But also compare it with students around your own level of skill and experience. Often a high level practitioner's movements can be too subtle for the student to pick up, but those of someone much closer in level to yourself can be easier to see. When you watch, watch for specific things. Focus on the feet for a while, then look at what the hips are doing for a while. Another time, take note of what the head/shoulders are doing. Eventually, you'll be able to see the more of the whole, to view several things at once, but at first break it up into bite-size chunks.

    And finally, always, always try to tie in what they are doing with your own body. I think the biggest misconception about the "Japanese style" of "watch and learn" is that it's passive, the student just watching and mindlessly copying. In fact, the student should be constantly evaluating what they see, experimenting in their actual practice, rather than just trying to mimic, asking themselves questions and seeking the answers within themselves. The upside is that doing this provides a method of learning that is lifelong. This skill that you develop now as a beginner will be there for you when you're an old man, with more juniors and students than seniors and teachers.
    Josh Reyer

    Swa sceal man don, žonne he ęt guše gengan ženceš longsumne lof, na ymb his lif cearaš. - The Beowulf Poet

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    Another thing that I would add is take notes!!! Bring a note book to class, and write down notes and observations same thing after practice or on the train ride home I do this for both Iaido and Aikido and it helps me alot w/ notes on things to work on, key pts for various things, and just as a reminder. Its also a good way to look at how your style and form changes and improves. It also gives you a good guide when you actually get to pt where you have to help w/ teaching/ correcting others. Any ways there is my 2 yen worth and the milage you get out of it may vary!!!! Good luck and keep practicing and let us know how you get on.
    Jeff Collier

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    My question is, Are you thinking to much? For me it's all about feel. Learning/developing the "feel" of the opponent/activity. Someone who is good at drilling you thru movement, in certain phases of movement. Not thinking so much and just going with the feel and not being hesitant. Good drilling can teach a lot. If one can not get to the dojo more than once a week, one can drill ones self at home.

    For me, practicing once a week wouldn't be enough. Too many variables and unknowns in the initial inquiry. Commitment is the key. Anyone can improve and learn, if they want to.
    Dave Gorden "If wishes were horses, all beggars would ride".---Frank Osten

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