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Showing posts from November, 2011

Variations on the "envelope drill"

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Friend and fellow judoka (and aikidoka) Scott Weaver had a pretty good idea a while back to try and use the old "envelope drill" in judo similar to the way we use the "walking kata" (tegatana no kata) in aikido. It could just be something we do as a part of our everyday class at the beginning of the ne waza half of the hour. If you're not familiar with it, take a moment and watch this:



Our problem was, our little morning class didn't know the envelope drill. Soooo, we've been breaking it down into bite-size chunks and practicing those. It's actually opened a few doors to other little "sub drills" if you will that I think are kind of fun. Here's one we worked on this morning:

Part 1

1) Begin as you would with the regular envelope drill: uke lying on his back and tori in kuzure kesa gatame.

2) Uke rolls toward tori, who then transitions into mune gatame.

3) Uke rolls away from tori, and tori transitions back to his own side, this time fac…

A day to think

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This has been an odd day. Not because I did anything odd, per se, but mostly because I did very little at all.

I ate, I did a load of dishes, took the trash out. But out of an entire Saturday to myself, that's about as productive as I've been (outside of this blog post). All that nothing left me with a lot of time to think.


 Mostly, I thought about my health and well-being. You see, while it might seem surprising for someone who does aikido and judo, I'm just a tad overweight by at least 50 pounds. I know it's not good. I know how bad it is for my health (mental and physical). I want to change, and not just so I can look better. I'm not so much concerned about sporting 6 pack abs as I am avoiding heart disease. Yes, I'd like to be able tuck my shirt into my pants again, but I'd also like to have the energy to keep up with my kids.

I've done it all before—twice, in fact—so I know it's possible to eat right, exercise and loose the weight. So why am I …

Lessons from cooking a roast

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I heard a story once about a woman—let's call her Jill—who was preparing to cook a roast as her little girl watched. Noticing that Jill cut off the end of the roast before placing it in the pan, the little girl asked why.

Jill paused. "Actually," she admitted, "I don't know why. That's just they way my mom always did it."

She had assumed it had something to do with how the meat needed to be prepared, but now that she thought about it, she couldn't figure out what purpose it served.

Out of curiosity, Jill later called her own mother to ask why she always cut the end off of the roast before cooking it. Oddly enough, Jill's mom also admitted she didn't know the reason, either. It was just something her mother had always done.

Now even more curious than before, Jill called her grandmother, a very old, frail, but happy lady. "Grandma," Jill began, "mom and I were just wondering—why did you cut the end off of a roast before cooking…

Danger Check! or, Managing Fear

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One of the most difficult things to deal with in grappling has nothing to do with pins or chokes or hold downs, oddly enough. It's panic.


Grappling—unlike standing judo or other standing arts—has a nasty tendency to trigger some very real, very powerful feelings of fear and panic when someone else is baring down on top of us. We're trapped, the ground is behind us, preventing us from having the option to just turn around and run like hell.

That panic doubles when our ability to breathe effectively becomes compromised, whether it's because we're being choked, or because a 250 + pound gorilla is lying on our chest, or we're used up all our gas fighting fruitlessly and now we just have to collapse.

It's a problem I still deal with, for sure, even after all this time. But there are things you can do to help.



In general terms, we need to get comfortable with being down there. The more principles and techniques we learn, the more "tools in our toolbox" we h…