Monday, December 5, 2011

Now…. Do I want the black cotton Weave or the Black Satin?

There are just so many choices when purchasing your black belt; I had no idea! Do I stick with the traditional black cotton…. Or spring for the black satin? Cotton is washer-safe, but who really washes there belt anyway? The satin though…. pretentious?

This past weekend I participated in my second shodan-shinsa shiai or black belt examination tournament. At my first tournament I earned five of the six points I needed to receive my shodan certificate and, since the system in place at the International Budo University awards a point for simply participating, I was guaranteed my shodan on Saturday just for showing up. I wanted to go out—or come in?—with a bang, however, so I decided to win all my matches. Call me sick and twisted, but there is nothing more gratifying than holding an opponent in osaekomi while they struggle feebly to escape.

My first match lasted a total of about 30 seconds…. 25 of which were taken up by me holding my opponent down. When my opponent falls at the beginning he lands on his side, which is worth a quarter-point. In judo, you must hold an opponent pinned for 25 seconds for a full ippon (1-point). Those 25 seconds last a surprisingly long time:
Second Tourni, First Fight

My second opponent actually seemed to have some idea of what he was doing. At least, he knew how to move and he tried to throw me. He tries tomoe-nage twice; a sacrifice throw in which you fall backwards and use your leg to propel your opponent over top. Though it is a really difficult technique, beginners seem to try it often. By the end of the match, something in my head clicked and I decided it was time to end the fight. I noticed that the kid kept trying to pick up his right leg, so I tried to time my soto-gari as he picked up the leg. I’m not sure the timing was perfect, but he went down well enough:
Second Tourni, Second fight

My third and forth fights were both quite short and quite similar. I didn’t have a chance to make a nice technique in either match because, in both cases, my opponents put themselves in bad positions very quickly.
Second Tourni, Third fight

Second Tourni, Forth Fight

It is fun to act a little cocky in Judo, for a change, but in defense of all my opponents, these kids came from a variety of sports clubs. I believe my first opponent practices karate, my second opponent practices rugby, and I’m not sure about the third and forth. The system at Budai is a little unusual; every judoka at the university is a shodan well before coming to Katsuura. Students from other sports can take Judo classes, however, and the shodan shinsa is so that they can also earn their black belts. Regardless of this, I do feel I have earned the shodan after eight months of daily judo training against men (and women) who have been doing Judo most of their lives. I can say for certain that there is at least one third-degree and several second-degree black belts who I frequently beat during practice. The shodan examination was a formality more than a test and, when I return to the United States, I would like to earn my shodan separately within the American system.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations, dude. I'd go cotton.