Friday, July 12, 2019

How to make Mokuren Judo classes even more awesome!

After a sabbatical of about 2 years for various reasons/excuses, we've restarted judo classes at Mokuren Dojo this week!

We're doing Tuesdays and Thursdays and initially planning to do stand-up judo on Tuesdays and groundwork on Thursdays.  We had a blast both days, and worked on some preliminaries and staples of judo practice, like deashibarai, kosotogari, ukigatame, jujijime, and wakigatame.
Mokuren Dojo has the best students (and of course the best sensei) of anywhere I've ever been, but any class and any teacher will have areas in which they can improve.
The biggest issues I've seen in the past with my classes include -

  • Too much talk time - from both sensei and students.  I think many folks use talk time as a convenient and tempting rest period but it reduces the physical intensity and impacts the physical value of the training.
  • Not enough randori - This is related to the talk time problem.  I have always loved teaching and drilling but I often eat up our randori time with instruction time.
So I've got a handful of suggestions to help fix these problems.
  • Put a muzzle on sensei - only let me teach for a minute or two at a time and don't let me tell stories while we're on the mat.
  • I'm going to be doing regular live videos in the Mokuren Dojo FB group for storytelling and verbal instruction so that I don't use up mat time for grandstanding.
  • Shut up and train with me - While we are practicing, the main sounds that we need to hear should be heavy breathing, bodies hitting the mat, and tapping. Keep comments and chitchat between partners to a minimum.  Brief, closed-ended, unambiguous feedback like, "pull more here next time," or "good," are ok.
  • Maintain the connection - while training, instead of practicing one rep and then taking a break (that we often fill with talk), stay in contact with your partner and stay in motion as much as you can.  It can be slow motion, at your own level of intensity, but pay constant attention to your partner and stay connected and keep moving the whole time.
  • Dedicate 1/3 to 1/2 of every class to randori - you should expect at least 1/3 of any judo or aikido class you go to be randori, free-play, jiyu-waza, matches, or freeform drills.
  • Sensei needs to use a timer - I'll be setting a timer so that warmups do not eat into instruction time and instruction does not eat into randori time.

Want to discuss this blog post?
Come find me on Facebook at my Mokuren Dojo FB group

Patrick Parker
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