For some reason, I’ve always wanted to do some kind of martial art. Was it from movies? I don’t know. It just seemed like a whole bag of fun!
This week was UBC REC’s shopping week (all instructional classes are free), so I decided to try out Judo. It’s very convenient for me, because I’m working at UBC anyways.
I was at first undecided between striking arts (Karate, Tae Kwan Do, etc), and grappling arts (Judo, Jiu Jitsu, “Wrestling”, etc). I decided I wanted to do Judo because I’ve always liked wrestling in high school, and striking seemed a little less civilized, though I may do some training in that afterwards.
Today was the first class, and it felt great!
Started with some warm up – running around, somersaults (first successful somersaults in my life =D), cartwheels, 40 push ups, and some stretching. I was happy that I didn’t die in warm up. That would be pretty fail. It was pretty tiring, though.
Then we (the beginners) learned break-falling (a technique used to prevent injury from falls), which could potentially be useful outside of Judo, too.
We also did 2 throwing techniques, 2 pining techniques, strangulation, and choking. I didn’t know strangulation (cutting off blood supply to brain, which is more effective than choking – cutting off air supply) is legal in Judo… apparently it is!… and very hard, too. I tried it on someone for like 5 minutes, and he kept telling me to do it harder. I thought the neck is pretty fragile. Guess not!
The throws were very tiring, probably due to my very bad technique. And even then when I throw someone I still end up on the mat faster than the opponent most of the time, if he goes down at all. Don’t think that’s supposed to happen…
Otherwise, it feels a lot like real time mechanical engineering with human bodies. Always trying to find the longest lever arm and support to maximize mechanical advantage and throw someone off balance.
I practiced mostly with a black belt, which is pretty awesome. He taught me lots. I’m not at the stage to do randori (free-form practice) yet, just specific techniques.
The class is pretty friendly, and is a nice mixture of people at different stages – about 1/4 black belts, 2/4 coloured belts, and 1/4 noobs like me. The black belts often help the instructors teach. It’s pretty informal. We bow when entering and leaving the mat area, at the beginning and end of class, and before and after matches. From what I read, Judo could be much more ritualized depending on the dojo (house/school/etc). I like it this way, though.
I got a somewhat bad headache at the end. Pretty sure it was dehydration. Quickly fixed with 500cc of water.
Next free class is on Wednesday 7:30pm. Come join if you are at UBC! I am totally hooked.