I had a nightmare yesterday night. Partly, it had to do with me spending 50$ worth of Playstation Plus credit, only to realise that I’d spent it all on Plants versus Zombies. The second part was that I had this presentation coming up on the same day that I had an exam, for which I was trying to study, but nothing was sticking. To quote XCKD– 10 years from now, you will still be having this dream. I woke up, cold and afraid.
On Saturday, I went to a judo session. I normally go on Mondays and Thursdays, which are just “beginners’ technical” classes. I once went on a Friday, which is “advanced technical” and I was completely lost. I can barely pull off a throw against an opponent who isn’t resisiting me– trying to teach me sacrifice throws is way out of my league.
Saturdays though are randori (sparring) days, and that was definitely fun. Very tiresome however. For the next day my whole body just felt exhausted from the hour and a half of being tossed around like a rag doll. At one point, I remember looking down at my feet, only to notice that between my feet were ceiling lights. There’s is an insane amount of difference between a black belt throw and an orange belt throw– I guess it’s to be expected. I have never sparred with a blackbelt before, but on saturday, I had the rare chance of going against three of them.
On one hand, it was awe inspiring. The throws that I was subjected to were so crisp and perfectly timed that I felt like they were doing everything effortlessly. One of the black belts, when I was trying to offbalance him by pulling him towards me, let me pull him straight to the wall. He then “bounced” me off the wall, fell under me, and sacrifice threw me (that “lie down on your back and kick the guy over your head” move that is so popular in 80s and 90s movies) and I flew pretty damn far. I mean, it all happened so suddenly that I literally felt as if I was bouncing off the wall and throwing myself across the room. I thought I was being clever by being backed into a wall, because then I couldn’t be tackled backwards.
But you know how it is– a white belt always thinks he’s clever if he just plays with other white belts.
On the other hand, it was extremely frustrating. Some of them were allowing me to try things– they were allowing me to offbalance them to a certain extent. But there was such a huge skill difference that, during the sparring, unless I actually asked them to teach me something and they were walking me through it, I just couldn’t do anything. I mean, I know in theory how to do a throw– but if the opponent’s arms are instinctively (I don’t think they even know they’re doing it) passively blocking my attempts to get in to their space, I can’t even try. So what it all turns out to being is a dance of me trying to find openings, not being able to feel any. Inevitably, they patiently take their time and crowbar open any openings (and there are many) in my current position.
There is one guy there, who I will call [Blueb] (he wears a blue belt) who I didn’t like from my first day there. Mostly because he’s loud and arrogant– but, seeing him sparring seriously against the upper classes on saturday, I have a newfound respect for the guy’s skills. In truth, it turns out this guy works harder than most other people at the club– he’s probably there 6 days a week. No matter what day of the week I go, he’s always there– so when I think he’s lazy by skimping on the warmup routines (which are quite intense), in truth, maybe I’d be pretty damn tired too if I had to do that everyday.
He told me at the last beginners’ technical class that he felt that my ‘style’ was puzzling– it seemed as if I had some sense of judo, but just enough to be confused about certain things, which leads to me putting myself in some very bad situations consistently. “It’s like you’re good at some things, but like, really bad at most.” Gee thanks. To be fair– I think what he’s picking up on is the inapporpriate clinching reflexes which I have from kickboxing and MMA. While some of the techniques cross over, the distances and the way that you “score” in judo are completely different.
On the plus side, he and a few other seniors in the class complimented me on saturday for being the only white belt brave enough to attend, and still be standing at the end of the day. “At least you know how to take falls, and you keep getting up.”
… but, sigh. That’d be the equivalent of saying that a kickboxer was a good punching bag, if nothing else.
All in due time I suppose– it’s just a matter of training.
On the plus side, I haven’t played a human opponent face to face at Baduk for the past 3 months or so. I’ve only been playing computer AI games on my mobile devices and tablet. Win some, lose some… but the nice thing about a computer AI is that it always plays the same way. It doesn’t really learn (unless you select a different level) so you can really experiment with fine tuning certain techniques. When I went back online to KGS, suddenly, I was actually stronger– I’m now a 6 kyu player. Wheras, in the past, I was stuck at 7kyu for the longest time. Training with the Machine has apparently made me stronger!
I wish there were some such method of training in judo on my own.