Discussion What martial arts have you guys done?

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The Unforgiven

Club Legend
Aug 7, 2016
AFL Club
Other Teams
Portland Trail Blazers
I did BJJ for three years and was close to a blue belt as well. In my last year I had too much going on and found it difficult to commit which in the end resulted in training stopping. Prior to that, I had done Karate for one year and Muay Thai kickboxing for four years.

I'm looking into Judo now, as I've always wanted to learn it. Now that my kids are all Primary School aged, I'll be looking to get them into something. Jui-Jitsu or Judo would be my choices.
It only took me three years, but I finally decided to get into Judo. I had planned to join a local club in early 2020, however, when Covid hit, it put and end to that. I ended up joining early this year and I've been attending on average one class per week, where I've just recently progressed to yellow belt.

My first class was interesting. We concentrated on ne waza (ground techniques) for the whole night. I had not declared my BJJ background prior to commencing, so for all intents and purposes, they all assumed I was a complete novice.

I was put up against a blue belt. Thankfully we started from a kneeling position, where I instinctively pulled guard. The dude I was up agaist looked a bit surprised as that's not something anyone would normally default to in Judo. Going to one's back isn't the done thing.

After pulling guard, I was waiting for an opportunity to transition to mount. The guy I was up against kept his right knee firmly against me whilst lifting his left leg up. At that moment I hooked my right foot under the back of his knee, put my left foot on his grounded knee and pivoted my hip before kicking out his right knee and rolling him over.

I seamlessly transitioned to the mount position and managed to get a kimura after he gave me his arm trying to defend the choke I had on him using his lapel. He tapped quickly and then paused while he sat up and said, "this isn't your first rodeo, is it!?" 😂

Having come close to obtaining a blue belt in BJJ has helped me immensely with some aspects of learning Judo, whilst in other aspects it has hindered me. Sure, as a white belt (and now yellow belt) I was tapping out blue belts more often than not, and even the odd brown belt whilst grappling. However, my inclination to pull guard, or to shoot for a single/double leg takedown (which is now banned in Judo) has made it hard for me to transition into learning the throws.

In my first stand up bout I shot straight in for a single-leg takedown. I was happy with how I executed it and got him straight to the ground. The instructor promptly yelled "mate" (wait) before telling me that it's a banned take down. After standing up again, I felt very vulnerable not being able to do what I instinctively would do. I literally stood there holding the other dude's gi, trying not to get thrown and not knowing what else to do.

My thoughts after six months? I've certainly gotten better at break-falls. We did cover them in BJJ, albeit not to this level. Also, another incredibly challenging aspect I've found to learning throws, is my inclination to stand in my natural orthodox stance when most of Judo's throws require starting from southpaw. This is where Muay Thai has made it hard to transition to Judo, too.

As an almost 37-year-old, the body also feels it a bit more than when I was a lithe, rubbery teenager. Repeatedly hitting the deck after being thrown certainly takes its toll. I'm usually too banged up to attend class twice a week, but when I do, I usually feel it. Judo is a lot more brutal than BJJ.

However, after six months I feel that things are finally starting to fall into place for me. I'm not quite as rigid when engaging in stand up, and I'm just starting to feel comfortable with some of the throws. I've kind of got the hang of the uki-goshi and o-goshi hip throws, but one throw which really seems to come naturally to me now is morote seoi nage.

Over all it's been so good to get back into martial arts after a 16 year absence, even if I'm constantly sore. I'm loving Judo and hoping to go far with it. Although the prospect of competitions seems daunting, and the tales of injuries I've heard from some of the veterans... intimidating! 🙈
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