Judo – Day 43
My back has felt better for approximately 48 hours but I am not sure that 48 hours is enough time to give it before I go to my next challenge of judo. As a reminder for those of you who have forgotten; judo is the sport where you are thrown about, with the aim of landing your opponent on their back. Possibly not the best challenge to be doing right now but I have run out of seat based, low impact sports to try.
As I got into my car, my misgivings were set to the ominous backdrop of thunder and lightning. The first song on the radio was “Please Don’t Go” by KWS, which I took as a sign that my back was mystically voicing its appeal through the medium of Heart FM radio. “Hush, lower vertebras. I am booked in and together, we will get through this,” I beseeched.
I was meeting Sensei Jack from my Aikido challenge and I was comforted that I had somebody kind there to look after me. So, another day, another Dojo! I met Jack, who introduced me to our instructor, Roger Tarrant and the rest of the Camelford Judo Club. We started with a very quick fire warm-up and so far, so good – just a slight bit of creaking, which I put down as normal.
We moved on to practising the various throws and holds. With all my martial arts challenges to date, there’s always one person who is used to demonstrate on and I watch these poor people getting ritually pummelled, as I undulate between a wince and a grimace. Usually, the person used is rotated but it wasn’t the case this time. My maternal instincts were evoked, as I mentally renamed this guy “poor lamb.” I am not sure there is a place for such sentiment in mortal combat or, indeed, a judo bout, but I felt sorry for him nevertheless.
To my relief and probably everybody else’s, I was paired with Jack for the whole evening and it seemed like he was willing to be the one who got flung about, without returning the favour. This was excellent news for me, given his track record in martial arts excellence! It started off a little like twister, as I was instructed to “put your hand there,” “now put your leg there” and “grab that.” Some of the throws induced a fit of giggles, as we ended up in a tangle of knotted limbs when I misplaced a foot or an arm.
Jack was extremely patient with me, as I built up my confidence and attempted different grabs and throws. I appreciated his over-elaborate falls as he allowed me to chuck him around like a rag doll. It was all very good for my ego, as I was congratulated each time on my technique.
Then we moved on to the choking. We weren’t re-enacting a Homer throttling Bart scene; the movements were deft, quick and ultimately effective. Again, a compliant Jack (who is no way resembled a realistic assailant), instructed me to cross my hands and grab his collar and in one pincer movement pull down with one arm and pull up with the other to effect a strangle. You never know if you have any effect on your opponent; they are always very accommodating with my efforts but I think that it must feel like they’re playing with an eager little toddler, with my moves having little to no effect on them. But this one was achieving the desired result, as Jack’s face went red and his eyes started popping out! I released my grip and offered a flurry of apologies.
Judo was great and I enjoyed the fast pace of moving from one thing to another. The guys were very encouraging and thankfully my back held up – not that it had to do an awful lot. I felt empowered leaving the class and really needed a Beyoncé track to come on the radio and embody this girl power coursing through me. Although actually thinking about it, Take That’s “Back for Good” would probably be more apt.
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