I'm just returning to judo after a four-year absence from the sport.
I practiced judo for just over two years prior to my absence and earned my orange belt before I had to leave. While awaiting the arrival of my orange belt on order I broke my left big toe and ended up in a cast for two months. While I had a cast on my foot I was offered a fantastic job opportunity. I was in university at the time and my part-time job was delivering pizzas so being offered a better paying job that would help me advance my career after university was something I had to accept. The drawback was that my new work schedule didn't allow for me to attend judo any more.
It's been four years since I left judo and I now have a full-time day job and have made the decision to start doing judo again. I've been at a new dojo in a new city for nearly a month, but I'm having some troubles readjusting. For starters, I used to know many techniques by name and could perform them with at least a little adequacy. I've made a list of throws I remember (with varying clarity) and the list is as such: ogoshi, ko uchi gari, uchi gari, de ashi harai, koshi guruma, seoi nage, morote seoi nage, tai otoshi, sumi gaeshi, osoto gari and tomoe nage. I remember learning select others such as hane goshi, hiza guruma, and ashi guruma towards the time that I injured my toe but feel utterly unable to execute them without failing horribly. Even worse than that terribly small list is that the only ne waza techniques I remember by name are juji gatame, ude garame, kata ha shime and okuri eri jime. I remember how to execute at least four hold downs during ne waza randori but I can't remember their names and can only hope I'm not doing them awfully every time.
The senseis at the new dojo have been supportive, but the problem that I'm having is that my muscle memory has deteriorated severely. I've been told that my grips are usually sloppy, my kuzushis are often wrong and my footing is weak for throws I profess to remember. What bothers me more than that though are my wildly varying inconsistencies. During one randori at practice I executed what was hailed as a great tomoe nage on a heavier opponent and I left feeling fantastic. The next week while practicing randori with a shodan who's also just returning from a long absence I countered her weak morote seoi nage with a de ashi harai. Instead of falling gracefully and performing a ukemi when she was clearly going down she spun about wildly and appeared to land painfully on her elbow and head. She immediately got up and berated me saying "Could you tone down the strength? It's not doing you any good!". I apologized, I still feel bad about it, but I also think she should have done a proper ukemi when falling. Maybe I threw her so poorly that she didn't have a chance to fall properly and I'm just a clumsy oaf, but either way one week held a great randori and the next ended badly.
My senseis aren't rude when pointing all my obvious weaknesses out, and I sincerely appreciate all the help and one-on-one instruction I've been given by them and by higher ranking judokas than myself. However, in the first month my experience has left me with the embarrassing thought of turning my orange belt in for a yellow or white one since I've officially held the rank of orange belt for two months(one of the months was four years ago) and my skills have obviously deteriorated. Do you have any advice that can help me to get back to where I was before I left judo? I welcome you to share your own experience of leaving the sport and coming back after a long absence as well. Thanks,
Last edited by darkmatter on Thu Sep 25, 2014 8:56 am; edited 2 times in total