The heart of learning Judo--randori--the free exercises where you try to use any and every technique you've learned to overcome an opponent.
I had two very short randoris in two separate sessions. The first one was just an introduction to the concept, no more than a few seconds, and the second one wasn't much longer (I got lucky and got in a reasonably good tomoenage). However on the July 25th class, I had my first "real" randori. After some work on Harai Goshi, Hane Goshi, Ouchigari, and Sasae Tsurikomi Goshi, Park sensei called for a five minute randori. The first thing I noticed was that randori was, without a doubt, the most exhausting exercise I've had yet in Judo. I think I lasted two of those five minutes. I quickly "lost" the first exchange to an armbar. In a second exchange, I stayed up longer, but after a failed tomoenage on my part, we were working on the ground. I was trying on my back trying to get my hands into position for a choke. He was trying to get in for a pin or armbar. Park sensei called from across the room and told my opponent to stand up. He said he couldn't because his leg had gotten twisted in the opening of my gi pants. We stopped at that point and I found I was so incredibly winded that I could not continue. Park sensei told me to take a rest.
I guess I shouldn't feel too bad about my "poor" showing. I learned after class that my partner had been training for 2 1/2 years. I've only been training about a month.
After that session, things get a bit frustrating in the development of Randori skills. Several of the Gokyu students in the school are preparing to test for Yonkyu. As a result, the instructor has been spending class time working on reviewing the items needed for Yonkyu (which, incidentally, includes the things required for Gokyu for which I am supposed to be testing soon as well). Thus, the only Randori experience I've had since the above session has been in working with the Juniors.
Since writing the above, I've had a lot more experience at Randori. However, the mix in the class has also changed. Most of the students who show up regularly are brown belt and above which means I am seriously outclassed in skill level. That means I tend to lose a lot. They keep telling me that I'm doing very well, but it's hard to see when everyone around you is so much better than you.
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