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North Bay Developmental Shiai

Hey, we had a great time at the North Bay Developmental Shiai! Thanks to everyone for coming out! The next events are scheduled for the weekend of September 17-18. Saturday there is a clinic in Vallejo, and Sunday the 18th is the East Bay Judo Invitational Tournament. Click here to see the calendar and get all the details.

Flashback Friday Olympic Edition – Kayla Harrison Takes Gold in London

Sit yourself down and watch this thrilling gold medal match in the women’s -78kg division from London 2012. Kayla Harrison wins America’s very first Olympic gold medal.

First score sequence starts at 2:35 of the video, with a nice hip toss for yuko by Kayla. Gibbons has her left foot forward, Kayla has her right foot forward. Kayla starts with the right lapel grip, gets her left in for double lapels, then shifts her right arm under Gibbon’s left arm and across her back, steps in for the koshi-waza.

In another yuko-scoring sequence starting at 7:45, I was amused to see that even in the Olympic final Kayla utilizes the “look at the ref after the throw to confirm a score.” It works!

It’s not until the final 25 seconds that Kayla really gets into stalling mode, forcing Gibbons to come after her. Up until that point she is much more aggressive than the Brit, with constant attacks trying to finish the match.

Not gonna lie, I teared up a little watching this match. So much emotion! Very few people get to the very top of the mountain in the judo world, and here she is. Enjoy.

13th Annual Professor Jay Aloha Invitational Judo Tournament

This was a great little tournament held at Alameda high school on May 22nd, 2016. It’s run by Small Circle Jujitsu, the school that the late great Wally Jay founded. Wally Jay was one of Dr. Feng’s judo and jujitsu teachers. The referees all wore Hawaiian shirts, and the tournament started with a young lady in a grass skirt blowing a conch in four directions. Pretty neat!

Representing Oakland Judo were Isaac Okajima, John Elison, and Jason Pollock. Three entries, and three medals – two silver and a bronze. Great work! Competition is a great way to sharpen your skills in a hurry.

Big thanks to all the friends and family that came out to support – your presence makes a big difference!

I encourage everyone to subscribe to the Oakland Judo YouTube channel to catch up on tournament matches.

A great weekend at the state championships









Four of us competed this past weekend at the California State Judo Championships, and we came home with three gold medals, two in the novice division and one in the Master’s division. More importantly we had a great time and tested ourselves outside the dojo.  Videos are coming soon, but in the meantime here are some nice pictures.

Competition isn’t the only purpose of judo. You can have a good judo experience without entering tournaments. But you are encouraged to give it a try. Also, it will be difficult to become a black belt without ever competing. Even if you don’t have a taste for it, how will you help prepare others for tournaments if you yourself never compete?

Dr. Feng told me once (probably more than once) to always say yes to a challenge. If you face a challenging situation, always accept the challenge. What could happen? You could win, which is a great feeling and helps build confidence for future challenges. Or you could lose, which means you learned a lot, and fast. You exposed yourself and learned where your weaknesses are. The next time, you’ll be better. Win or lose, it’s an incredibly valuable experience.

The next tournament is Sunday, May 22nd in Alameda, followed by Sunday, June 12th in Santa Clara. 💪😎😀🙋

Skillful Entry into Newaza – Transitions

This post is mostly about judo shiai, or competition rules.

There are four ways to get an ippon in judo – three of them are on the ground. Throw, pin, choke, and armbar (nage-waza, osaekomi-waza, shime-waza, and kansetsu-waza). So, while excellent throwing skills will always be very important, it would be silly to neglect your newaza (newaza meaning all groundwork).

How do we get from standing into groundwork?

From the official rulebook of the International Judo Federation, page 27 (PDF):

ARTICLE 16 – Entry into Newaza
1. The contestants shall be able change from Tachi-waza to Newaza as far as it is done by one of the cases referred to in this Article. However, if the technique used is not continuous, the Referee shall announce Mate and order both contestants to resume the fight from the standing position.
2. Situations that allow the passage from Tachi-waza to Newaza
a) When a contestant, after obtaining some result by a throwing technique changes without interruption into Newaza and takes the offensive.
b) When one of the contestants falls to the ground, following the unsuccessful application of a throwing technique the other may take advantage of his opponent’s position to take him to the ground.
c) When one contestant obtains some considerable effect by applying a Shime-waza or Kansetsu-waza in the standing position and then changes without interruption to Newaza.
d) When one contestant takes his opponent down into Newaza by the particularly skillful application of a movement which does not qualify as a throwing technique.
e) In any other case where one contestant falls down or is about to fall down, not covered by the preceding sub-sections of this article, the other contestant may take advantage of his opponent’s unbalanced position to go into Newaza.
3. Exceptions
When one contestant pulls his opponent down into Newaza not in accordance with Article 16 paragraph 2 and his opponent does not take advantage of this to continue into Newaza, the Referee shall announce Mate, and penalise with Shido the contestant who has infringed Article 25.7.
If the opponent takes advantage of the action of Tori, the Newaza work may continue.

Let’s cover each of these situations, starting with the most common – 2a: “When a contestant, after obtaining some result by a throwing technique changes without interruption into Newaza and takes the offensive.” See the video below:

https://youtu.be/eJT7qwz-xNs?t=1m40s

Blue obtained “some result” meaning a score that isn’t a match-ending ippon (wazari or yuko), then follows up right away with a pin and holds for the additional wazari. Two wazari equals ippon, match over.

Now let’s look at 2b – ” When one of the contestants falls to the ground, following the unsuccessful application of a throwing technique the other may take advantage of his opponent’s position to take him to the ground.”

White goes for an unsuccessful harai makikomi. Blue attempts a counter throw. No score is awarded for the throw, but Blue quickly transitions to the pin and holds for ippon. Again the guiding principle according to the IJF rules is that the action is continuous.

Next we have 2c: “When one contestant obtains some considerable effect by applying a Shime-waza or Kansetsu-waza in the standing position and then changes without interruption to Newaza.”

Very nice flying armbar! Tight application means White obtained “some considerable effect” in the standing position and had Blue tapping before he even hit the ground.

NOTE: It is not allowed to attack the joint in such a way that the person has no chance to tap. The technique demonstrated above is very skillful and although tight, does give the uke a chance to tap before serious damage is done.

And finally we have 2d: “When one contestant takes his opponent down into Newaza by the particularly skillful application of a movement which does not qualify as a throwing technique.”

And there we go! Not exactly a throw, even though White lands on his back. So no score, but Blue gets up quickly and applies juji-gatame for the win.

Transitions from standing to the ground are an important skill. For beginners and intermediate students I recommend concentrating exclusively on the first two categories – following up a throw, partially successful or not, your throw or your opponent’s, with newaza. Don’t stop until you hear ippon or matte. Intermediate/advanced players can start to work on the other categories – applying chokes or armbars from standing or using other skilled methods of entering newaza.

Even if, as a competitive judo player, you prefer standing work, it’s important to know about these techniques so you are familiar with them when someone tries them on you.

California State Judo Championships May 14th, 2016

The California State Judo Championships will be held in San Francisco this year. This is right in our backyard so everyone is strongly encouraged to attend and either watch, volunteer, or compete.

Mark your calendars!

 

2016 San Jose Buddhist Judo Tournament Highlights

The 2016 San Jose Sensei Memorial Judo Tournament was held on Sunday, February 14th at the San Jose State University Event Center. Here are some of the highlights. Watch for the huge ura-nage (judo’s suplex)!

And here are my two matches 🙂