First Judo Comp
Well this past weekend the wife, kiddo, and I packed up the car and made the 6-7 hour drive from Fairbanks, AK down to Anchorage to compete in the 54th Annual Alaska State Judo Championships. This was the first Judo comp for all of us. My wife and I have less than a year of once a week judo, and the kiddo has had maybe 5-6 classes total, so suffice it to say, our goal was to have fun, get competition experience, and learn. I would say we definitely accomplished all 3 of those!
After spending most of Friday in the car, we woke up on Saturday and headed down to the Dena'ina Center in downtown Anchorage, AK at around 9AM. After some initial confusion, and then having our teams kids pulled aside for having improper gi's (they had cheap karate gi's), which led to some frustration on my part (and an exasperated "This is not a karate gi" from my 6 y/o daughter (LOL), we were able to borrow a gi top that our teams 3 kids were able to share.
The tourney got off to a fast start. They had 2 competition mats set up, and the kids were very quickly doing their thing! As I was "Coach Dad" I didn't get to watch a ton of the kids, as I was focused on my own, but what I did see was very impressive. Some of these kids were GOOD! Something about seeing an 8 year old who is clearly way better than you at Judo will put you in your place. Soon enough my daughter's name was called and we walked out to our mat.
Gotta say I'm still beeming with pride 2 days later after seeing that! Not sure if you can hear me trying to coach her through something that she hadn't been taught before, but she could, and she really tried to follow advice! Very coachable kiddo :) But the best part? The BEST part was her smiling happy attitude, despite the loss. A positive attitude she carried with her for both of her matches, win or lose, my talks to her in advance about doing this to have fun were heard and heeded!
Match 2 she was put up against a boy who seemed to be certainly more experienced than her 5-6 classes. A quick throw and a pin later, my daughter was up and smiling again. Her only disappointment was, not that she lost, but that she didn't get to go again.
About 5 hours later (it was a LONG day) my wife was up next. We are both blue belts in BJJ, who have started cross training once a week in Judo. In fact, one of the primary reasons we did this Judo tourney is because a couple months ago my wife participated in the 2013 AK State Gi BJJ Championships, and did not do as well as she could have. She seemed to get the first time competition deer in the headlights syndrome and wasn't able to relax and perform the way I know she can. So here we were to get more competition experience. She did AMAZING imho, against a Judo brown belt. A LOUD Judo Brown belt...
After some confusion, I was last up. I ended up having to go up against a slick brown belt. Needless to say, I didn't win, but I had a ton of fun in the process of getting ipponed twice, and I learned a lot. Watching my performance I see I did alot of things wrong. My stance was low (hunched over) and my legs were spread too wide, at one point I broke my grip and reached down for his leg before correcting myself and re-gripping), something I don't do typically in judo randori. I suppose I reverted to my base a bit, which, incidentally, is not a good plan in a judo competition (especially if your safe place is the guard). My plan was go for foot sweeps and the one combo that I like (uchi mata to the one where you hook their leg and drive forward, taking them to the mat, Ouchi Gari I believe), and then to (hopefully) out position on the mat and focus on pins (I feel pretty confident with my ground work). Possibly my plan should have been to defend the throw, and just try to drag it to the mat, as you'll see I hadn't practiced falling into non-ippon, match continuing, positions. Anyway, here are my 2 matches:
Some reflection: Overall, this was a ton of fun, despite it being a LONG day, and some minor irritations. We had some internationally ranked judges and refs, and we had some others who were trying to get internationally certified, so I think the ref's were feeling the pressure, as well as the competitors.
They were using new (to them at least) computer software to generate the brackets. After the first round of matches, it became apparent that the brackets had been set to single elimination (it was supposed to be double), and they couldn't change it, so they abandoned that and began tracking the old fashioned way (pen and paper). This led to a mistake, where I was put down as losing my second match (I won my first by forfeit), even though I hadn't actually had a second match yet, so after about 40 minutes of inactivity I sent my coach up to see what happened. Things were fixed, though it DID affect my bracket. My bracket had 5 people, myself, my teammate, the brown belt who beat me, and a black belt who happens to be the most experienced judo competitor in AK, and the fifth guy who didn't show up. What ended up happening was that I went up against the brown twice, and my teammate went up against the black twice. What I think probably should have happened, was that I go up against the brown, and then the black, and my teammate goes against the black, and then the brown, and then continue from there. I believe the change over from the computer generated brackets to the pen and paper got things a bit tweaked, and we both lost twice to the same person.
I would have liked to have had an opportunity to go up against the black belt, not because I may have beaten him (he ended up winning the division and beating that brown twice), but because it would have been a different body to compete against, if that makes sense. Also, I would have liked to see my green belt teammate have a shot against the brown, as he's got alot more experience than me and it would have made an interesting match up. Who knows what could have happened. In any event, I really enjoyed my time, aside from the LONG waiting, and the irritation of dealing with finding a gi for my kiddo to use.
In the end, I think we all had an awesome time, and I'm looking forward to the next competition in October!
Awesome, sounds like the Rhino family had a great time. May there be many more.
More reflection, there was a VERY different atmosphere to this compared to the recent BJJ Championships we were at. There was a much greater camaraderie between the different teams and competitors. Some of that may be a history of MMA competition between the major Jits clubs, but it was noticeable, and welcome! I had a few people come up and talk to me, asking if I was a jits guy and overall being very cool. The brown belt who ipponed me came up after our first match and we talked for 5-10 minutes about judo and jiu jitsu, very nice guy! He asked me if I would do an exhibition jits match after our second match as he wanted to do some ground work with me. Unfortunately they didn't let us due to time constraints. I can't imagine this happening at the Jits comp.
One thing I didn't like was the switching back and forth of blue/white gi's. The most stressful part of the day was rushing to switch gi's hoping to get out on the mat before a ff.
Thanks! It was a great time, and definitely a learning experience!
Originally Posted by ermghoti
I am curious as to why you were paired with Brown and black belts? Was this due to a lack of competitors or where you were placed because of your BJJ experience?
Because it was the State Judo Championships, so there were no belt divisions, it was separated only by weight. Knowing that heading in I had no illusions about winning, lol, though I'd hoped to be able to work positions. Turned out there were only a few of us in the weight class though.
Originally Posted by goodlun
Now if only I could make that my profile pic...
Thanks for sharing that experience. Your wife did well, no "deer in the headlights" look that time!
You do need to improve your stance and posture, but unless you start standing up in BJJ, it will be tough with only one day a week of Judo.
I think you were right on in your thought to work for the pin more. Along those lines, I'd suggest you sweep judoka from guard rather than trying for a submission, unless it looks like a "can't miss" situation. It's too easy for them to stand up and pick you up and other wise get "mate'" called.
On the other hand, most judoka (speaking as a judoka) tend to over extend themselves when in someone's guard, and are pretty easy to sweep. Again, that is based on my own experience (as a black belt). You wife tooled around going for the arm bar...she could have just swept as a combination and ended up on top.
Again, thanks for sharing. Your daughter is very cute and has a great attitude, which is the most important thing.
Yeah I agree, my other teammate had someone mounted, and decided to take the arm bar and the second he transitioned from mount to arm bar they called Mate. My plan was to only go for a sub if it was clear that my opponent was about to escape a pin.
My wife said the girl was very heavy and that it was difficult to extend for the arm bar, or spin under due to positioning, so the sweep would have been a good move. Thanks a ton for the feedback!