When I got there, I looked around for the new instructor to introduce myself, but he didn't seem to be on the mat, so I chatted with a couple of the other guys and stretched. Imagine my surprise when one of the guys I had met, all muscle and wearing a faded blue belt, got up and said, "Okay everyone, line up.... and bow!" Then we went into the typical warm up stuff, jogging, ab exercises, forward rolls, side falls, and back falls from walking.
Next, we lined up to learn our first throw, "a foot sweep" (it's okuri ashi barai). He describes the foot action of the throw, and tries to demonstrate, but it takes him a couple tries (ie ankle kicks) to find the window on his stiff white-belt uke, and then we're sent off to try it ourselves.
After a bit of drilling it's time for the next throw, which is an ankle pick, utilizing similar kuzushi to ouchi gari (he's doing the thing where you wrap the lapel back over their shoulder to trap their weight on the leg). He shows it a couple times, then explains, "You just punch straight over their shoulder, real hard, then grab the ankle and pull it out... hit their shoulder with your head too if they're giving you trouble" and tells us to go for it.
After a while it's time for randori, one and two pairs at a time because there's a big padded pillar in the center of the mats that sort of divides them into four quadrants. No surprise considering the lesson, everyone's in jigotai staring determinedly at each other's feet. I start out against a new white belt who wants to ankle pick really bad, so I do a clumsy yoko tomoe nage, then let him get a couple ankle picks, sprawl on a couple more, and shoulder twist reversal the last one.
I'm out of shape and getting exhausted from going with guys who are straining so hard on their grips, so I bow out and take a quick water break, and return to go up against a kid about my size in a purple belt who says he's totally new. I encourage him to relax and practice what we learned, and correct his posture. He just keeps hunching over (even with me repeatedly straightening him up with my hands) and doing nothing else, so I hit a slow yoko otoshi and a tawara gaeshi and then hang out and sprawl until he tires himself out. He calls in a ~200lb six footer (I'm like 145) and my abs are complaining from all the sprawling, so I just weakly defend his attempts to pull me over until time ends, the instructor has us clap for an awkwardly long time, reads a quote about training every day as if it were your last, we bow and shake hands to end the class.
So, there was no mention of Judo philosophy or etiquette, very little discussion of the finer points of technique, no Japanese except when it came to my turn to count during the ab exercises, and the only throw (ankle picks don't count ) I saw the instructor do right was during randori with a lighter white belt- a kata guruma setup to yoko otoshi. This all bothered me from a technical standpoint, but I'm just overjoyed to have people to train with. Before I left, I caught the instructor as he was headed out and offered myself as an assistant instructor if he ever wanted one, and he seemed receptive to the idea.
And that's where the story ends. Could I get some thoughts, opinions, advice? I wanna train more than anything, but this environment seems like injury central, and I feel like I'm going to have to spend a lot of time 'filling in the gaps' for the instructor (and paying a hefty fee for the privilege).
Last edited by Happiness is a Warm Gun on Fri May 10, 2013 5:21 pm; edited 1 time in total