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OJJ Komlock Seminar!

March 30, 2009

For the 40th OJJ event, Ide-san invited Koji Komuro-sensei (Komlock!) for a special five hour long seminar of Judorific newaza techniques.

This was hands down the largest gathering of OJJ easy. To give an idea of just how large, in the room, where we usual hold OJJ, the Judo mats took up the entire floor. The entire island of Kyushu was represented with Jiu-jitsu practitioners from each prefecture.

And, despite the name OJJ being a pun on “old man” and “Brazilians” in Japanese, both Judo and Jiu-jitsu players of all ages were also represented as the local Senior and Junior High Schools Judo clubs were there well as.

The youngest practitioners there lead the warm up stretches. Afterwards we did the OJJ crazy two minute physical conditioning, which I took part with everyone else. Two minutes push ups, followed by two minutes of sit ups or abs work and finally two minutes squats.

I was real happy with my performance because among the moans and groans of everyone else I was easily coasting along, putting in a constant and non-stop effort. That is until we got to the two minutes squats portion then I focused on my right leg only. Jeez, my leg’s a wimpy version of what it used to be.

I tried doing a one-legged squat. Got only as far as two reps then switched over to leg pistols for my left leg. Couldn’t even do five. My right leg began cramping up because it couldn’t support its own weight. The leg that’s not doing all the work is parallel to the ground, my leg couldn’t stay parallel. Sigh.

For the seminar we learned over 20 techniques. Most of which my knee really didn’t enjoy getting in position for as there were lots of kneeling and awkward – for me anyway – manipulations to set up the holds. So I sat out and wrote over three pages of notes.

I was also one of the main photographers for the seminar and took over 200 photos, most of which were blurry and multiple shots of the same thing.

At the end of the seminar we had less than an hour of sparring both tachi-waza (stand up) and newaza (ground work).

Thoughts on Komuro-sensei
Although he spoke entirely in Japanese, his instructions were clear and simple. I could follow along, though most of the terminology was lost on me. Another aspect of his instruction I enjoyed was that Komuro-sensei would mention the important details and concepts, and explain them before showing their application in the technique.

He wasn’t very tall. He’s my height, but clearly out of my weight class.

He spent half the sparring session doing stand up and the other half grappling. His stand up was fun to watch. Many of the high school Judo kids would go test themselves against him. He easily adjusted himself to their skill level. I knew he was holding himself back, because most of the time someone would come close to throwing him and he’d have to casually bounce around and adjust himself in order to keep standing.

Yet he would never out muscle anyone and threw only when someone was ridiculously off balance. Actually for one of the bigger Senior High School students he had to show him who the special Judo guest was with a beautiful Seoi Otoshi.

When Komuro-sensei switched gears and began grappling, I could clearly see that his ground work was very much rooted in Judo. Lots of weight and pressure. His submissions were just as fast and clean as a throw. Everything he showed in the seminar – his holds and his money submissions – he did repeatedly. Only one purple belt managed to stop his Ezekiel or sleeve choke. Then that purple got to feel what it’s like rolling with Komuro-san at higher intensity! I have never seen a purple belt get that much owned in so little a time.

At the end of the seminar, everyone lined up and representatives from each prefecture presented Komuro-sensei with a gift. He was also treated to a yummy Fukuoka famous motsu-nabe dinner at the OJJ after seminar party.

Highlights

Komuro-sensei showed off his six versions of shrimping and mat movement. Most of it was unique to his game but they had overall applications to any ground work. A few of them I did easily than other people. A few were completely alien to me and I struggled to pull them off.

Being an official photographer for an event is cool! Sure I didn’t get paid, but I got to go wherever I wanted to go and take pictures of whoever I wanted to because hey, I was the photographer. Okay, one of three photographers.

Being an official photographer is hard work! Sure I was there at the event, part of it but at the same time not really. It was hard because I had to constantly switch between seminar participant and seminar photographer. When I did work on some of the techniques there were a lot of missed opportunities for great shots I noticed while I was on the mat.

I wanted to buy a Komlock DVD. I didn’t have enough money with me. Seminar tip: bring extra cash. There might be goodies there from the seminar guest.

My lovely girlfriend Yoko was there. (陽子ちゃん!会いたい!) I was happy she came along. Matt and Sam’s lovely wives were there as well. I’d like this opportunity to thank them for being the amazing and kind hearted women they are. They had a long day of sitting there and chatting with each other while their boys enjoyed dressing up in a gi and rolling on the ground with other people. Matt and I thought it’d be great to do a Grappling Dummies version from their point of view – the Jiu-jitsu Wives Club – and have them complain about us in Japanese and at the end we give them massages, aroma therapy goodies, grand gestures of our love for them and promise to keep the toilet seat down.

In the sparring session there were a handful of jiu-jitsu players mixed in with the Judo kids trying their best at stand up. I could easily tell who’d get thrown and who wouldn’t. Surprisingly there were no Judo players in the Jiu-jitsu section trying their hands at ground work. Then again, ground work for Judo players is the pin. Anything else a Judo player has to actively work hard to get it – like a submission – within a severely limited amount of time or get stood up. Probably why Komuro-san’s submissions were explosively quick.

I really wanted to spar. Before I injured my knee I was really looking forward to putting in some stand up time. Tempted but I knew better than to go do randori with Judo black belts. I was planning to do some light Jiu-jitsu sparring but Yoko was worried I’d get hurt. Sam came over to me and told me Yoko said don’t spar. I said ok.

Next post: OJJ Komlock Seminar pictures!

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