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Old 09-20-2010, 08:56 AM   #4
Gant Grimes
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,371

Enjoy the journey. is a good source of info. There are guys with 50+ years of judo that frequently post. With less than ten years in, I'm just a baby.

A few thoughts, in no particular order:
* You can't rush experience. You will feel like you're good before you really are good. Allow things to sink in.
* Trust your sensei/coach.
* You can't improve without having and being a good partner.
* Learn to fall and offer to uke (be the guy that gets thrown) for demos (by your instructors). Getting used to being thrown correctly gives you an instinctive feel for the proper pathway of each different throw. Trust me on this.
* "Winning" is a tournament concept. It should never apply to your practice.
* You don't have to compete, but you need to play with people who do. If none of your instructors compete, I'd go elsewhere.
* Don't become a judo snob. You can learn a lot from wrestling, BJJ, sambo, wrestling, MMA, etc. I have been a guest on many mats, and everybody has accepted me with kindness. Ten years from now you will see more similarities than differences. Leave the "my art is better" stuff for the noobs.
* Don't try to learn the big throws right off the bat. Everybody wants to learn uchi mata and harai goshi their third week. I didn't attempt either for three years. Learn the progressions first.
* Judo is hard, and judo hurts. This is unavoidable. However, you can find a playing style that promotes longevity. Learn to soften up when you can.
* Practice ashi waza (foot techniques) religiously. It is becoming a lost art.
* Keep your elbows in.
* Never enter for a throw unless you have first off-balanced your opponent.
* Integrate your game rather than compartmentalizing everything. Instead of throwing and then pinning, I grip my partner in what will be kesa gatame (hold down).
* Relax.
* Don't start wrenching on someone's neck or arm unless you know exactly what you are doing.
* Learn how move your feet. It's a dance.
* Relax and feel your opponent. After several years, you'll be able to feel their intentions (whether you are able to stop them is another story).
* Tap early and tap often. You'll learn a lot more getting submitted than you will watching with your arm in a sling.
* It is a sport. Athleticism--strength, speed, balance, coordination, power, agility--apply. Improve these and you will improve your judo.
* If you're not "getting worked" in practice, you're not improving. Seek out those who are better than you.
* Don't offer any advice for your first two years.
* There are 67 throws in Kodokan judo. You'll learn 40. You'll practice a dozen. You'll practice 8, and you'll use 4-6. But, if you can pick 2-3 throws and and MASTER them--learn to access them from every angle and every situation--you'll be unstoppable.
* You're not experiencing anything new. Everybody gets stiff-armed.
* Judo is a sport but also a way. We play; we don't fight. Even in a tournament, you should both leave having improved yourself. Everything you do brings honor or dishonor upon yourself, your instructor, your teammates, and judoka worldwide. Act accordingly.
* Never hurt anyone. You are responsible for your safety as well as your partner's.
* Pursue knowledge, not belts.
* Bathe yourself, mind your nails, and wash your gi, and you'll always have willing partners.
* Have fun!
"It should be more like birthday party than physics class." | Log | 70's Big

Last edited by Gant Grimes; 09-20-2010 at 09:00 AM.
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