The Way of Gentleness
“No! Not like this! PULL YOUR ELBOWS OUT!” yells [Sensei-K]. “You must scissor his head until it pops off!”
Sensei-K is a beast of a man– he is over 50, but still competes internationally in Masters (a division for older people, like Masters in tennis) judo competitions and as recently as last year, stole Gold at Kodokan. Kodokan is the judo headquarters in japan, or as he likes to call it, the “tiger’s mouth.”
I remember when I first started doing judo, there was this technique which I never thought I could own– it’s called an ucchi-mata, which translates roughly to an inner thigh throw. You can look it up on youtube– it’s a pretty spectacular throw. Never used in movies or anything for some reason, but in real life, this is one of those throws that really hurts if your opponent wants to hurt you with it.
I was never really good at a lot of throws– and even now, my repetoire is pretty thin. But there are moments when I do things and it feels like throwing people is just so easy.
For the past couple of months, I’ve been training only sporadically. Mostly due to the thesis, and a slew of commitments to work and the licensing course. Lately though, with at least the thesis out of the way, I have a lot of simple free time after working hours– no more homework has it’s advantages.
The problem with training over the past few months has been that I haven’t had much time to begin with, and secondly, I keep on getting paired with people who are lighter or same size as me (yes, there are people in my weight class now!). Also, people who are newer to the sport than I am. That means that for the amount of time I do spend at the dojo, I’m not learning very much.
Worst of all, one of the white belts did something which hurt my left illiotibial band (ITB), which is basically exactly the same knee injury I got on my right side about six months ago. And I just 90% recovered on the right side. This is what happens when you don’t train with people better than you.
Regardless, things at judo have been working out recently. I don’t think Sensei-K liked me very much when I first started– but I think he’s coming around to realising that I’m taking judo seriously, and I’m not afraid of people getting rough– which is the way he likes it.
In the past, the best I could get out of him was silence. If I was doing something wrong, he would say so, and that would be it.
But lately, he’s been spending more time tweaking my techniques. Including uchi-mata– with some pretty wicked results.
After slamming some people who were significantly heavier than me using uchi-matta, Sensei-K actually told me: “Yes! This is the competition throw that I teach! You hear the difference when he hits the ground? He is nothing to you with this throw!”
He is nothing to you.
You’ll have to understand that he says all this with a very heavy polish accent, as if he was some villain out of a James Bond flic.
People ask me why I do martial arts.
For all the philosophical things that I could say, the easiest reason is because because I enjoy dropping people who are bigger than me.