Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Post Tournament Assessment

Jan 15th was the Maryland open. We had 3 people from our club (including me) and one person friend hitching a ride with us. As a team we did really well, I believe Lex went 5-2 on the day. He won the 178 division and took 3rd at 198, both in the advanced division. Sara took first in her division going 2-0 on the day. I was less than pleased with my performance. I fought at 198 and 220. I won my first match at 198 with a clock choke. I lost my second match at 220 by getting pinned, which was really very disappointing since Newaza is my strength. The pin was a total lack of focus on my part combined with a lack of respect for my opponents Newaza. The result was getting pinned in north/south. My third match was at 220 against a Black belt. I spent the first part of the match attacking, attacking attacking. He started to wear down but he was up one Shido to none. I am not really sure why they Shido'd me, perhaps they thought my attacks were false attacks? Anyway, he was sitting on that Shido and not engaging me on the ground after I attacked. About half way through the match he went for a left sided Maki Komi. Now, I have lost 2 separate matches because of that throw and both times I did not think it should have been an ippon because both times I landed on my side. So I was determined not to get ipponed with that throw again. I responded by over twisting my body in the air to ensure I landed fully on my stomach. Good news, I succeeded in landing on my stomach and I dont think he got a score out of it. Bad news, I came down VERY awkwardly on my ankle and twisted it very very badly. I knew I was hurt so I just laid there and let him pin me. I suppose I could have tapped, but I don’t like tapping to a pin. I suppose it would have been ok since I was hurt, but sine he didn’t "earn" the pin I was not tapping to it.

Fast forward to today. The top of my foot is black and blue from the base of my toes to my ankle. Both sides of my foot are DARK black and blue and my ankle is still swollen. I am on crutches and soaking my foot in a bucket of ice water every night. 20 min on 20 min off. The ice water is helping and each day my foot is getting better. Last night I was able to start putting weight on it. I hope to be back in the gym next week and back to training hard the week after.

How do I know it's not broken? Simple, if it were broken I wouldn't be able to compete for the next few months, so it must be just a sprain.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pre Tournament

Lately I have not had any spare time to keep up with my blog, but I have been doing a good job of keeping up with training. The last few weeks have been spent getting both my team and I ready for various upcoming tournaments. I am a big believer in focusing on fitness for tournament preparation. My philosophy is forget about learning something new and using it next week in the tournament, practice what you already know and work on your conditioning. Along those lines the Tue practice consisted of a fairly tough warm-up then I reviewed some smash pass defense options. What I thought would be a review was really something new for some of the people which goes against my general philosophy, but I kept it very basic so they should be able to use some of it if the situation presents itself. I mostly focused on shoulder walking away from the opponent to create space and getting back in the game. Some of the people in class are doing a Judo tournament this weekend and some are doing a BJJ tournament, so the smash pass defense seemed like something everyone could benefit from.

My personal progress - I am competing in the Maryland Open this weekend, which is a Judo tournament. It is not a huge tournament and I dont expect a big turnout, but I really need to put in my best effort at every Judo tournament I go to this year. Right now I still dont do very well against Judo Black belts (which should be expected since I am still a Brown belt) and the tournaments I will be attending (with the possible exception of one) will almost always lump the Brown and Black belts together.

After thinking it through I came to the following conclusions. Judo Black belts are like everything else, some are really good, some are good and some are not so good. It sounds simple and rudimentary but it works for me. Right now I can beat the Black belts that fall into the "not so good category" but those are few and far between. The "mid level Black belts typically beat me and the "high level" Black belts destroy me. There is not much I can do against the "high level" Black belts right now so I am not going to worry about them. My focus this year is going to be on beating the "mid level" Black belts. Right now I can give them a good fight, but I tend to come up short. My goal for the next few tournaments will be to level the playing field against the mid level Black belts with conditioning. If I can run them down I have a good chance and anytime I can get the fight to the ground I have a very good chance.

On the conditioning front I have 4 separate routines. My goal is to be able to complete each routine. If I can get through each routine I will be "ready".

The first 2 routines are my lunch time workouts:
Day 1
10 - 15 min on the recumbent bike as a warm up

10 reps dumb bell bench press
2 min ALL OUT sprint on the recumbent bike
10 pull ups
My goal for this routine is to do 5 rounds with 10 pull-ups on each round.
I did 3 rounds on Monday with 2 rounds of 10 pull-ups and 1 round of 8 pull-ups. not bad, after the Judo tournament this weekend I will up the number of rounds to 5 and slowly work on increasing the pull-ups to 10 in each round.

Day 2
10 min run as a warm-up

10 seated lat pulls
2 min ALL OUT sprint on the treadmill
10 dips

Again, the goal is to get 5 rounds. On Tues I got 3 full rounds in so I will up it to 5 next week. I probably need to up the lat pulls and dips to 15 on each round.

Non-training nights - I have a kettle bell routine I like to do with about 15 different exercises and I do standing free squats between each exercise. My goal is to get 25 reps on each exercise with 10 squats between each exercise. The workout has gotten a little boring lately so I may need to fine some different exercises, or perhaps up the squats to 15 or 20.

3 min Jump rope
10 reps Clean and Press
3 min Jump rope
10 reps Clean and Press

Yes, the goal is to get 5 rounds. This workout is extremely difficult. Right now I am doing the Clean and Press on the first half of the first round and only doing the Cleans for the rest of the workout. I also cannot do the second half of each round without the rest in between. So right now the workout is basically Jump Rope for 3 min followed by 10 Cleans followed by a short rest. I may have bitten off a little more than I can chew with this workout, but I like pushing myself with it. Did I mention I do this work out in my detached garage with no heat?

I am ready for the Judo tournament this weekend, I am going in with a positive attitude, a high fitness level and in a good frame of mind. I WILL be ready for the New York open.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fighting Tired

I covered teh BJJ class for Ray on Thr. Not a big turnout, but the people I had were the core group and I was happy with the effort they put in. My focus for Thr class was conditioning conditioning conditioning.

I started the class off with a fairly intense warm up. Running, sprints, sit-ups, leg extensions, more running plus jump squats (which I think are a nice addition). We also did arm bar / omaplata drills. I followed the warm ups with some rooting exercises. I like the rooting exercises, they are low intensity but good for balance and good for all the stabilizer muscles in the feet knees and hips.

We followed those exercises with some sprawling/double leg drills. My emphases is on defending the double leg not using it as a takedown. I dont have anything against the double leg, but unless you drill it over and over and over (just like anything else) you are not going to be very successful at it. For our club, we are better off using our Judo for BJJ standup.

After all the drills were over I let everyone practice whatever technique they were working on lately. No new techniques tonight, just perfecting what we already know.

Last but not least, fighting tired. I have never done this drill before so I was interested to see how well it would work. We paired up with the higher rank on all fours and the lower rank standing behind the higher rank. Higher rank does 30 seconds of high intensity mountain climbers, at the end of 30 seconds the lower rank attacks with everything they have and goes for the kill. The idea is, you are tired, you are hurting, you're out of breath and you're coming to the end of the match. You're up on points but in a bad position. You need to figure out how to survive, catch your breath and get back in the game. For the attacker, you are down on points, but you have your opponent on the run. He/she is more tired then you (which I always tell myself, no matter how tired I am) and you need to go for the kill.

The drill worked really well, I was really happy with the energy level in class. The other thing these types of drills do is build the fighting spirit, which I think is particularly strong in our club.

My biggest challenge right now is striking the right balance between pushing the conditioning line and over doing it. Not only do I need to pay attention to my level of exertion, but I need to monitor everyone else too. This is harder than it sounds. The challenge is my fitness level is different from everyone else’s in class. Our club has everyone from the big powerhouse to the skinny cardio machine so different drills will affect everyone's energy level in a different ways.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I have decided NOT to compete in Pan Ams this year. There are two main issues at play, time and money. Money is an issue but really TIME is the major factor. For me to justify flying across the country to compete with some of the best in the country I really need to feel like I am FULLY prepared. I can live with losing to someone who is better (however you define better). What I have an issue with is losing because I am not prepared. In order to feel prepared I would need to train at least 4 days per week with some 5 or 6 day weeks and workout at least 5 days per week. The reality is I can barely train 2 to 3 times a week right now and I am lucky if I lift 3 times a week. Sorry, but training twice a week and lifting twice a week just wont get it done for Pan Ams.

The really frustrating part is I wont have MORE time next year, or the year after that or the year after that....the harsh reality is with each passing year I have less and less time. My wife thinks I should just train as much as I can and go, but I would not be happy going and losing when I am not prepared. To me that is worse then just not going.

I still have the New York open on my calendar. I can get my lunch time workouts in, train as much as I can, lift as much as I can and justify a 2 or 3 hour car ride much more easily then a $1,000 trip across the country for a single elimination tournament.

Since I am punting Pan Ams I am going to put the extra focus on getting my Judo work in. I am not big on new years resolutions, but one of my goals for this year is to get my Black Belt in Judo so I need to make Judo tournaments as they become available.

On the immediate horizon will be the Maryland Open on January 15th. There are other bigger Judo tournaments in Jan that would be better to go to, but this is the one I can make.

For Feb I have my eye on Tech Judo on Feb 6th and The Good Fight on Feb 19th (BJJ), but those are not "on the calendar yet".