What should one look for if he wants to do Judo competitively?
I have just joined my university's Judo club, bought a Judogi (yay!) and participated in my first session. The sensei, a 5th Dan bbelt who participated competitively in his hay days for Singapore, instructs the class. There were lots of people in it (beginning the initial tasting) but we did still manage to practice falling for most of, and then getting a tasting of throwing (seniors instructing us in performing what I think was O Goshi on them) towards the end of the session. It was pretty enjoyable in all.
When I asked the sensei about doing Judo competitively, the said he did split the class up and trained those who wanted to do it competitively and those who were for the recreation separately and demanding different standards, but due to waning interest in competition, he settled for just having an all inclusive (my guess is recreational) class. The president of the club, on hearing this, suggested that if I wanted to train for competition, should train extensively with the seniors during practice or join the sensei's commercial dojo (though I cannot because of time restrains).
While I have no martial arts background, I am enthusiastic about doing Judo competitively but don't want to come off as 'high-headed' or being one of those arrogant noobs asking for a beating by persisting in asking for 'extra training'. Is there anything I can do to improve myself (to perfect my falling, footwork, etc.) outside class time and, how can I be of better use to my seniors' improvement and their own training, knowing that by agreeing to train with me they have to come down to my level (and hence lower the intensity of their own training)? Thanks.
DISCLAIMER: I am a judo n00b. Others who know what they're talking about will be along shortly.
There are lots of solo drills you can do, ask your sensei what drills he thinks you should be doing. He will know what level you are at and see what mistakes you need to correct.
Ukemi is super important at the beginning of any throwing art, I'd focus on that. It might be a little early in your training to start drilling techniques on your own, as you're more likely to be enforcing bad habits than good ones.
Apart from that you can improve your general fitness (cardio, flexibility, strength, etc.) so that you can get more out of your time with your club. Don't forget to eat and sleep well too.
Last edited by realjanuary; 8/24/2011 5:13am at .
Reason: added disclaimer
well, as in any sport, fitness is a huge factor, in judo i have noticed one needs a really strong grip so squeeze tennis balls or buy a gyro ball. Another aspect apart from cardio (running, staircase climbing, rope jumps) is the right strength for the job, i have started doing this routine and it works like a fucking charm.
Well the first thing you need to do is learn how to do Judo.
You've done one session.
You haven't thrown anyone in randori, you don't know to do any throws, you can't breakfall, you can't hold people down, you can't apply submissions, you don't know how to grip, how to move, how to control your partner etc...
Spend 6-12 months learning Judo and then you can start thinking about competing.
You can be as fit and as strong as like, if you don't know how to do any Judo, it doesn't really help.
Thanks for the replies everyone.
I wasn't very clear about my initial question. I was trying to emphasize that the sensei mentioned that his training catered to mostly the recreational. But if I do want to do Judo competitively, what should I focus on to 'get things right' while training? For example, should I put a lot more time into breaking my fall right now before anything else? I ask this only because the sensei mentioned that his class is meant as a exposure to Judo, and not so much meant for people who want to doggedly perfect their skill or people who desire higher intensity.
Getting fit is of course important, but I'll echo Judoka UK and say concentrate on getting in as much judo as possible. You'll know yourself if you're getting better after a year or so. If you are making good progress and going up through the grades, then you can think about aiming for higher level competition. By the way, for what it's worth, an old-school Kodokan 7th dan once told me that if I did even 30 knee bends every day, in one month I'd be thrown less. That was in the old days when Japanese judokas' legs were much stronger than Westerners'.
The thing about university clubs is that as they are cheaper and more conveniently located than most other clubs, you get a high numbers of beginners and people who perhaps wouldn't bother keeping up their attendance if they had to pay full whack and travel for their training. This can often mean that the classes themselves are a lot more forgiving than in other clubs and maybe not the best place to train if you want to be the next champion.
As a beginner, there's not much you can do to change this other than finding an outside club to supplement your training with. If you want to do extra sessions within your own club, whether that's actual judo or just fitness sessions, just ask around if anyone else is interested. You won't come off as anything other than someone who's enthusiastic. Just make sure you're hitting all the existing training sessions first, and putting in a decent effort.
^ Okay. Since most people recommend just going along with what's presented to me (and I agree with good reason), I guess I'll just do my best at all the existing sessions for now. Thanks for the insights.
I think I'm fairly well placed to answer your questions and I will tell you why.
Originally Posted by madeener
I arrived at university where I restarted practicing Judo after a 5-6 year break having it done it for 2-3 years as a child. I started from white belt and within 2 years had got my black belt, I've competed several times in the university nationals and have a spectrum of medals from various competitions. At university my coaches were all former internationals, many time national champions, one had won a european bronze and others had won medals in various national and international competitions. All had trained in Japan, Russia, Korea, France etc... at elite training camps and sport universities. I've also run a university club, organised competitions and helped coach people to their black belts.
There is no one thing you can do to accelerate your development in terms of breakfalling, drilling, gripping etc...
However there is one characteristic that will help you develop swiftly and be successful in competitions and in learning Judo - Hard work.
There's an excellent quote from Doug Roger's that I think should be framed and hanging in every Judo dojo:
'I was mystic, in the beginning, I suppose... But there's no mystery about it, as many believe, or would like to believe. Good Judo is a matter of hardwork and concentration.'
You need to work on the fundamentals of Judo - the basics.
Movement, control, tsurikomi, gripping, use of the jacket etc... etc...
I write a blog explaining these concepts and key points, you can find the link below. Just click on the 'Difficult Way' logo.
Practice the basics, work hard, never miss a session and always remember Judo's a marathon not a sprint. Go haring off in the first hundred metres you'll be shagged and drop out, take it a steady pace and know you're in it for the long haul and you'll make it to the finish line.
I’ll echo what others have already said. Take as many Judo classes as possible and train hard. Keep a training diary or a Blog to chart your progress and help you remember the names of all the techniques you are learning.