Void

There used to be a time where I spent some portion of every day on sites like LockFlow and LapelChoke. It’s been awhile. Today I went to look and they’re both gone. LockFlow closed down September 2, so only a few weeks ago. LapelChoke seems to have closed down September 30 of last year – has it really been that long?

To anyone who’s looking for a site to make – we need a new equivalent to sites like LockFlow and LapelChoke.

Home Mat – Gone

Third post in a day, it’s like I just remembered I have a blog or something…

My home mat is gone now. We took it apart to finish the basement. I’ll have a planned hiatus from grappling in a month or so, but I’ve known about it for the last eight.

For those who are wondering – it held up well, though I never used it as much as I had hoped I would. There just aren’t enough grapplers around to roll with and I never had the ambition to do solo drills on it more than a few times a month. Some judo clubs who used the foam block sprung floor have noted that after a few years of heavy use though – the foam will compact and you’ll end up needing to swap it out anyway. To be honest, the mats are the expensive part anyway, and even those don’t last forever. If you have followed the guide, watch the height of your floor, and if it’s noticeably lower in a few years, just swap out the foam blocks on the bottom by unscrewing the OSB and gluing new blocks in place.

Status Updates

My ankle still hurts when I stress it too much. I was squatting the other day and had to just re-rack the bar and stop. The good news is, I am squatting again and the amount of stress/weight that my ankle can handle is increasing. It feels so weird struggling to squat an amount that’s less than I weigh, but it’s improving. This will be my first week squatting bodyweight again.

My recovery would have been much faster had I been lifting earlier. It’s a relatively recent change that I’m doing actual weightlifting again. Albeit the routine is short – the holy three and then whatever auxiliary I feel like which usually means some kind of curl, pull-up, or dip. To me, that’s all you need.

I’m still playing judo to the extent that I can. That means there are some limits when it comes to strength/force still. I can only go a round of randori or two before I need a break. I’m doing more rounds on the ground than that because the guys I’m going with are good about controlling the pace so that it’s not so stressful.

I miss the ground terribly. Yes, judo has ne waza, but it’s not the same. The approach is different. The focus is different. You don’t stand to pass the guard. The scrambles are typically just fleeting instances between any given position and turtle. To me, the ground is so much more than that. It’s about moving, flowing, submitting; there is no place for stalling, and yet I’m finding my old judo habits are back and stronger than ever so even I’m turtling when I’d rather not.

Reffing

Saturday I made the drive up to Fond Du Lac. There was a judo referee clinic and novice judo tournament. I figured, I could ref. Well, it didn’t go how I expected…

First off, it was a great clinic. Lots of information. Lots of good questions being answered. The only thing I would change would be us spending some time practicing the calls before a match. All of the presenters were really good. We spent what felt like a lot of time learning the difference between a yuko and no score, and a yuko and a waza-ari. Since it was a beginners tournament we were reffing, there were very few ippons anyway, so not a huge deal that we didn’t definitively cover an ippon. Generally, you know an ippon when you see it. If you’re at all curious about the IJF rules, I strongly recommend going to a local referee clinic, or spending some time talking to your referees.

When it came to reffing in practice… Well, by the end of the day I was confident in my calls for points. At first not so much – call and then immediately look to the senior ref as my hand half hangs there somewhere between waza-ari and yuko. What I was still struggling with when I left were the nerves. Bad nerves. Forgetting my Japanese so I called out “toketa” when I meant “osaekomi” nerves. They’ll pass. I asked. It’s like competing. The first few times are nerve-wracking, but at some point you have the confidence that you’re going to go out there and it’s just going to be what it is. All you can do is your best. Except in this case if I screw up, rather than breaking my foot, a more experienced ref can overturn my call. So there’s that – a solid safety net of some of the nicest and most experienced judoka Wisconsin has to offer.

The next tournament I’m planning to ref for is the Badger Open in Fond Du Lac on October 17. If you’re competing and I screw up, I’m sorry, someone will help correct it. It’ll be my second tournament ever, and first real tournament. I’m pretty excited for the opportunity.