On Judo

I am going to start a series of articles about the different trainings I had during different times of my life, living in different countries and training with/under different people.
Everything here are my personal observations, that can be right or wrong, and mainly generalizations.
If I need to be corrected, please use the comments or drop me an email.

I started my journey through Martial Arts because my parents signed me up to the Judo classes at my school. It was so long time ago that I do not even remember wearing a white belt. The first white belt I remember (and I had some more) was when I started Karate during my University years.

(Me, in 1986 attempting a one handed neck throw on a higher belt)

Classes in the Lope de Vega school were conducted by Sensei Tomás Pastor, my first Sensei and the responsible for the love I today still have for Japanese Martial Arts. He was severe but kind. He had other dojos in my hometown, but all ended out of business. I remember going to his "Yawara Yoseikan" dojo for extra training.

(Picture recovered from a newspaper. My Sensei receiving a 8th Dan from Bujinkan)

I must say that I love the practice of Judo. I really enjoy it. Yes, much more than I enjoy practicing Karate. I specially enjoy ne waza (ground fighting).

(Going for my outworldly Kesa Gatame)

I must confess that I never took Judo seriously as a tool for self-defense. After all, how can you defend without hitting the other guy, right?

But it has been a few years and I, sadly, had to fight once and I did not use my well trained Karate to save me: Judo is what came to rescue me. We clinched (twice), I controlled him to the ground (twice) and both walked home unharmed.
This situation changed my view of Judo and since then I am practicing more, but still not enough.

(Defending and Uchi Mata attempt under Sensei's view)

So, am I regretting all those hours doing Karate?
Not at all! After all, those kumite hours were what helped me to keep my head cold and control the situation minimizing the risks for the attacker and me (kind of Aikido mentality, isn't it?).

Now here in Shanghai I am training MMA because the gym has an schedule, facilities and price that is convenient for me at this time. But it is a great joy for me that we do what I can clearly see as Judo during 90% of the classes.

(BJJ class always open to roll with judokas)

Yeah, people are shocked that a karateka can roll with so much joy, so I always use the surprise to my advantage.

(Simultaneous O-soto-gari attempt?)

My next step is finding a place where I can learn more Judo while I teach Karate. Kind of what I did on Rongdao Fight Club back in Shenyang.

(Rongdao Fight Club, with Wansu Sensei in the middle)

Is in Rongdao where I finally, after thirty (yes, 30) years I got my black belt in Judo, in what may be a new record.

In conclusion, Judo is a great Martial Art to practice. The sense of accomplishment when you throw someone against his will on the air is priceless. The tactical and technical battles on the ground have a million things to pay attention at the same time, but even if you succeed or fail you always learn something new.

PS: I must say with pride that I NEVER lost a match in official Judo tournaments. Ever. From childhood to University. Local and regional level, yes, but still unbeaten.
With the same sincerity I can also say that I never scored a single point in WKF kumite tournaments and that the last time I entered a kata tournament I lost 5-0 on the first round. But it is ok. The guy went to on be team Kata World Champion a couple of years later... Him.


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