Thursday, August 08, 2019

What to expect when you come to a Mokuren Judo class

What does a typical judo class at Mokuren Dojo look like?  Here is a really general sort of guide that I use to create lesson plans for most of my judo classes.

Individuals warmup with light, careful ROM or stretching exercises before class starts. Move around to create a sense of freedom in your muscles and joints.  Do something that makes you feel slightly flushed and increases your heart rate and breathing rate a little bit.

After we bow in the entire group will warm-up with about 20 minutes of ukemi (falling/rolling) and sport-specific activities. For safety reasons we almost never practice standing judo and groundwork on the same mat at the same time so I have two slightly different warmups depending on whether it is tachiwaza (standing judo) night or newaza (groundwork) night.

  • tachiwaza warmup - rock on back, rock&slap, rock&flop, fish flops, kneeling forward rolls, seated back rolls, kneesavers, drinking bird, footsweep to control
  • newaza warmup - rock on back, rock&slap, rock&flop, fish flops, kneeling forward rolls, seated back rolls, shrimping forward and back, shrimp w/ feet on uke, knee-in knee-out, push-backs, x-crawl
After the sport-specific warmup, There is an instruction time.
  • If it is tachiwaza night we'll do a few minutes of nagekomi (trading throws) focussed on one of the first few techniques that I consider to be foundational.  Then we'll do a few more minutes on a more advanced technique - either someone's tokuiwaza (favorite technique) or a rank requirement.
  • If it is newaza night, we'll do a few minutes of something that comes from or happens in the basic clock cycle (uki-kesa-mune-ushirokesa-tate...).  Then we'll do something fun or curious or a rank requirement.
Then it is randori (free play) time.  For 1/3 of each class (or longer), we should be doing sparring, drills, or exercises that involve some sort of resistance, free flow, unstructured play, or unpredictability.  This is not shiai (competition) - but more like a musical jam session or a game of catch. 

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Patrick Parker
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