Finding focus in a blurry world…
I’m pleased to say ALL my students passed… Though we have a few guys that need some work, every one did very well… Other students who did not have enough “time in grade”, will be up for belts after the State Championships, in about 3 weeks.
All adult members of the club passed as well! And I survived two sets of Nage no Kata as Uki… If your counting thats a total of 60 falls… (and 3 Advil)…
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Sorry, I’ve not commented much on what has been happening at judo lately. But for the most part it’s been somewhat boring. For the past few weeks we have been going over different skills the students need to test for their next ranks. It’s basically been one big review and drill, drill, drill.
Well tonight is the night… Promotion testing day is here. Almost my entire kids class is up for their next rank, except for four students; not for their lack of skill, simply lack of “time in grade”. We do have many kids who participate in other sports as well; some miss a fair amount of judo class to do other activities; and to be promoted you must put in your “time in grade”, at one level, before your can test again. The average for children is 6 to 8 months. – No worries, they can test next time.
The testing is strait forward… The child must know basic history of judo, who founded it, and where it came from, know basic terms we use every day in class, and counting in Japanese, among other things.
They must demonstrate their judo break-fall, and then show a variety of different techniques, including judo throws, hold-downs, depending on the belt level being tested for, being able to apply them and know the English and Japanese names. The whole test is conducted orally as only adults and higher up teenagers must take a written test. – Belts are then awarded after class to the ones who passed.
Promotions can be stressful for the kids, but what they fail to realize is that it is just as stressful for me. I’m a good teacher, but you always wonder, did I show enough, did they actually understand it, will they remember? I’m sure something every teacher goes threw on test day… We do not want to see out students fail.
Later on tonight we will also be conducting three adult promotions as well. For 1st Class Brown Belt, (the belt right before Black), and the other for a middle student rank… Adult promotions are a little more involved… Including a written test, demonstration of thrws, counters, and combinations… matt work including holds, chokes, and arm locks; and the guys going for 1st Class Brown must demonstrate Nage no Kata, “The Kata of Throws“… Consisting of Five Sets of Three Throws, preformed both right side, and left side, showing the five types of judo throw that are, Hand Technique, Hip Technique, Foot Technique, Back Sacrifice Technique, and Side Sacrifice Technique… – Not easy, and very tiring.
Here is a video of, Koaokan Judo Nage no Kata… Only one of many katas higher ranks must know.
Because I am the best Uki in the club, (I take very nice and safe falls) and I do take great pride in that… I was asked to be Uki, (the dude who will get thrown), for the katas… I don’t mind, really… But I can tell, this is going to be a 4-Advil night… Incase your wondering, thats 30-falls, for one kata. – I’ll regret it tomorrow.
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Well it has not been THAT bad, but you know the kind of week you just don’t feel like doing any thing? I have a sports poster I need to make for a client, and I’ve been going over in my head of what I want my judo students to do for promotions.
Last weeks Orientation and Mobility was canceled because of bad weather, and for this week it is likely to be canceled as well, we have 4-inches of fresh snow outside at this moment. What a bummer.
My judo students as of late have been off the wall… No concentrating one bit. Not seeming to care that promotions are only ONE WEEK away. No one is going for a particularly high rank; the highest being from Yellow+Orange Stripe to Solid Orange Belts, and all others are lower; and a few first timers. (The kids are aged from 7 to 12).
Even Sensei Fred got in on some action, yelling at a student in the middle of class. It’s rare I see him yell, but man… The concentration factor for the past few weeks has been the pits! I guess I’m just too soft.
The PA State Judo Championships are March 14th, and training will soon pick up, for my students and myself. Though I really don’t feel like fighting, I should. I will likely have to loose about 6 or 7 pounds to get down to my fight weight of 65kg (145lbs); that should not be too hard.
In other news, I did manage to find a photo of our friend Andre on the Getty Wire Service photo archive from the 2008 Paralympic Games. Andre fights for the USA Blind Judo Team, and is a good friend of ours at the judo club; he comes to train with us some times.
I managed to send the photo to Coach Marc, Team Leader for the USA Paralympic Blind Judo Team (whom we know from Andre); to which I get the always-prodding e-mail reply of… “Just think, in 4-years you could represent the United States in London. It would be a shame to see your judo talent go unrewarded.“
Well, yes… Most normal people would say GO FOR IT are you NUTS… But we do still have that travel anxiety we’re working on, remember? And to be honest… I don’t know why he thinks I’m that good… It’s not like I compete every month… Then there is that little thing about qualifying for the team first they forget to tell you about.
The fact is there are very few visually impaired judo players in the United States; and when one comes along, the coaches do every thing in their power to try and snatch us up. So, as much as I’d like to cross the pond; I think I need to take some smaller steps first.
Your comments are always welcome. And I will likely be posting a little more information about Blind Judo in the future, even the process of becoming a Paralympic Judo player, if you’d like to know.
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