A Letter From Camp, Day 1

Yeah, so I'm a grown man at camp.  What of it?

As I mentioned a few times before, I am attending the Greatest Judo Camp on Earth.  I haven't been to every camp on earth, so I can't absolutely verify the name, but I'm pretty sure that it's a fair label.  A lot of awesome instructors/badasses are here, and great people to work with as well - which is a good thing, because none of the folks from my club came down.  Not that I'm bitter.  But nobody is ever getting promoted again.

So, for a *quick* run down of the day (and it was 9.5 hours of Judo, and I'm tired, so quick is the order of the day - I'll post videos later):

  • Shenjiro Sasaki, a small Japanese man apparently made of industrial springs and rebar (seriously, I've never seen anything like this guy... I never understood "explosive" until now...) gave us some good gripping and grip breaking tactics.  Later he gave us some nice standing -> ground transitions, including one that may or may not involve hiding your uke's neck so that the referee can't tell whether the gi is over his chin while you try to choke him. 
  • Nick Lowe then gave us some good drills off of a circling movement to hit: Tae Otoshi, Uchi Mata, and Ouchi Gari.  The real beauty of these drills is that they introduce a simple and effective way to teach these throws (e.g., great for beginners, too), and they don't involve "1-2-3 Judo" (e.g., "first, put your foot here, then pull your left hand here, then...).  He also worked a nice seoi drill that I'll be bringing back home with me, and then came back at the end of the day to demo grip-break/throw combos.
  • Igor Yakimov followed lunch with some gut wrenching guard sweeps that he selected for their usefulness in Judo (e.g., they can get results fast).  For those of you that have worked out at Akari, most of them started with "the Igor Arm Trap" - or at least an attempt at one.  There are several arm bars and chokes that result.  And pain.  You know... 'cuz it's Igor.
  • Stan Wentz (super-stoked that he's here... he's a gripping mastermind, plus he knows a whole bunch of wacky ninja shit that actually works, plus he's a nice guy) shared a whole bunch of whacky ninja shit with us.  =:>  More specifically, there were some great counters to tough gripping situations (e.g., what to do when someone has a powerful grip behind your neck), a super-sweet feint Seoi to Okuriashi (sort of) combo, and a slick - and weird - Seoi Otoshi.
And now I'm sore, and tired, and my gi smells terrible.  But super-stoked for tomorrow...  Seriously, the instructors are phenomenal...  I know my descriptions aren't going to be that useful to anyone, so I'll try to post videos of all that I can remember when I get back home.

Nighty night.