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Having Fun at Judo

At our dojo we have Open Mat workouts specifically designed for adults who want to enjoy judo at their own pace and intensity. We have two college students from Japan who are studying in Hawaii. While in high school they trained all year round, six to seven days a week with few vacation days. Now they come out to practice once or twice a week and take breaks between randori rounds. They are able to train at their own pace and do judo for enjoyment. They expend all their energy and slam and get slammed onto the tatami but with passion and fun.

On the other extreme you have people like myself who are closing in on the social security benefits age group. The hardest I go during randori is grip fighting or ashi-waza only. With the onset of arthritis I have a hard time hanging onto my opponents’ sleeve as I throw.

Tonight my daughter was videoing techniques to put onto social media. I wanted to show my favorite counter, uchimata sukashi, where the opponent goes in for a uchimata, a big forward throw, and I sidestep him and throw him with a tai-otoshi (body drop throw). In my prime I could execute it flawlessly and even won two matches with it at the Olympics.

When it came time to demonstrate and video the waza, the result turned into a video blooper. Of course the throw was staged and my partner jumped over for me. However, at the end of the throw I couldn’t keep my balance and landed squarely on top of my partner. You should have seen the look of shock on his face when I landed full force on top of him as if I were back competing in the Olympics.

I apologized profusely and assured him I did not do it on purpose. My age and physical limitations prevented me from holding him up. For a brief moment my exhilaration of competitive glory kicked in but it immediately turned into remorse mixed with the humor of how far my physical prowess has declined. Nevertheless, it is nice to know that I can still sidestep an uchimata–even if everything is staged.

I owe my partner a dinner for this one.


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