Randori with my 70-something year old Sensei, or, why Judo (and aliveness)is awesome!
So, a couple of weeks ago the daytime class was a little smaller than usual, and I got to do about 10 minutes of randori with my judo sensei, who is a 7th dan, in his 70's. The first minute or so, he took it easy on me, even let me throw him once or twice, then he started gradually opening up more and more, until in the last few minutes he was throwing me literally 2-3 times per minute. I was exhausted just from getting back up so many times.
I'm less than half his age, taller than him, workout a lot, and have prior experience in San Shou. Not that I'm anything special, just to indicate that I have previous experience of people trying to throw me. And none of it made the slightest bit of difference. He threw me at will, from both sides, calling out the name of the technique as he did it, laughing and joking with me, and I would say he didn't repeat the same throw more than 2 or 3 times. He even used kata guruma on me a couple of times.
It was an absolutely awesome display of skill, even as I was getting tossed and getting more and more exhausted, it was exhilirating to be able to feel it. It was like watching a brilliant musician or dancer up close, except I actually got to feel the skill involved. I found it really inspiring that he can manifest this kind of skill at his age, against someone younger, taller, and possibly heavier than him. Lots of martial arts claim that practitioners can maintain skills into advanced age, but its something else to see it in practice in actual alive training. Incidentally, we did newaza randori last week, and it was the exact same thing, utter dominance on his part.
I'm very fortunate to be training with him, he's a real inspiration to me as a martial artist and just in general. In addition to his obvious skill, he's just a great person to be around; he's always smiling, laughing, and joking, and he always communicates a tremendous love of judo, every time I see him. He teaches 7 two-hour adult classes a week, and 4 one-hour kids classes a week, and yet he always looks excited to be on the mat and training. He frequently does newaza randori with his students, and does occasional tachiwaza randori as well. I hope I've achieved half what he has when I reach his age.