Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wax on, wax off

They're remaking the 1984 martial arts / underdog /coming-of-age movie, The Karate Kid, with most of the action taking place in Beijing in the new version. Apparently, the more accurate title of The Kung Fu Kid will be used for the Asian release. Will Smith's son Jaden takes the title role (Daniel is now Dre), with Jackie Chan (nice!) as his mentor.  The trailer:

And here's one of the best scenes from the original movie, in which young Daniel learns the application of his labours painting fences, waxing floors, etc. to self-defence:

Release date for the new version is June 11, 2010.  Title aside, it looks promising.

Friday, February 26, 2010

How mixed level practice can work in judo

Last Wednesday I had three white belts (new this year), four purple belts (our lowest tested grade), one yellow, and two orange belts.  Having a mixed-level class is great, in that many students get a chance to be junior, senior and peer, often all in the one class, but it's quite complicated.  Here's how I rotated the pairings on the night ...

In the cooperative throwing section of the class:

Demonstrated: leg throws 1 to 3 (see this Kawaishi method index of throws)

  • 2 x  pairs of purple belt (peer learning)
  • 3 x white belt - higher belt (most experienced / beginner pairing)
Demonstrated: leg throws 4 to 6
  • 3 x white belt - purple pairs continued working on throws 1 to 3 (reinforcement)
  • orange - yellow pair, and orange - purple pair worked on 4 to 6 (rotating through the purple belts)
Demonstrated: leg throws 7 and 8
  • same as 4 to 6
Demonstrated: leg throws 9 and 10
  • same as 4 to 6
With this system of rotations:
  • the white-belts spent most of their time on the most fundamental throws
  • the purple belts engaged in peer learning, helped the white belts, and got a taste of the higher throws as they rotated into the senior group
  • the senior group worked with the beginners initially, but also had time to work on the higher throws, mainly among themselves, but also with the purple belts
  • everyone got a taste of at least a couple of more advanced throws (variety and exposure)
Besides rotating among the grades, students got to work with people of different shapes and sizes.  Although I started with roughly similar heights and builds that soon changed.  The best mis-match of shapes was 6'5" beginner Tyrone (in his second class) with purple belt Lizzie (not much over 5').  They did well!

The rest of the class was a selection of restraint & control, and then immobilizations, followed by groundwork randori.  Not much rotation in these sections, although I jumped in and did some light randori with about half the class (one at a time, not all at once) at the end.

This kind of rotation scheme depends on who turns up on a particular night, and setting it up is a challenge for any teacher.  Concerns include: safety; getting the newbies off to a good start; blending the need for consolidation with variety; giving the more advanced students adequate time to practice the more advanced techniques that they will need for their gradings.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A bit about my class ...

I teach a two hour class once a week throughout the year, currently on Wednesday evenings.

We study Jiu-jitsu, incorporating classical Judo.

Who are my students? Young adults, women and men, most studying at the University (some not), recent graduates, some older guys (often with some previous martial arts experience).  They come in most shapes and sizes.

Because of the hands-on nature of the class, and because most of the training is done in pairs, I can only take on so many new students at a time.

Once people have been training with me for 6 to 12 months, I encourage them to pick up an extra class (or two) each week at our Honbu (headquarters).  This can be helpful in accelerating their progress through additional training hours and access to high-level instruction.

You will probably like my class if your priorities include some of
My class may not be for you if you
  • Abhor all violence, even for self-defence
  • Can't abide even a little bit of pain
  • Live to compete
  • Aren't prepared to make mistakes and look foolish occasionally
  • Expect to earn a black belt in 3 years (or less)
  • Are currently training in other martial arts
  • Can only commit to training once a month
Before I let you step on the mat I like to know a bit about you. Come along and watch a class and we can have a bit of a chat. If I think that there's a good chance that you are a fit for my class, you can join us for a try-out session.  If that goes well, then you are welcome to join the club and spend Wednesday evenings being thrown, locked, pinned, strangled, and reciprocating in kind.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu from the 1950's looks like ...

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu from the 1950's looks awfully like classical judo, from which it descends. A nice old clip, featuring Carlos and Helio Gracie (Skip to the 2 minute mark if you find the introduction a bit slow):

Good stuff!

Captain Kirk teaches Judo

For fans of the original Star Trek, here's William Shatner as captain Kirk showing young Charlie X a thing or two about judo*:

Gotta love those Federation gis!

Although Shatner does a reasonably good roll, the rest of his judo leaves quite a bit to be desired, in my view.  I'd certainly back legendary tough guy actor and judo black belt James Cagney against him (click the link for an awesome clip), and similarly British judoka and Bond Girl Honor Blackman:

Unfortunately I couldn't find the clip from Goldfinger of Blackman as the fabulously named "Pussy Galore" throwing Bond (Sean Connery) all over the shop.  Maybe someone can help me out?

*Spotted on Sensei Strange's aikido blog.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tans' Unite and Fight Cancer 2010

Last year Tans martial arts supplies organized a charity dinner / martial arts display that raised over $15,000 which was donated to the Australian Cancer Research Foundation.  Highlights:

From 0:50 to 1:12 you can see my Federation colleagues in action, first doing the hung kuen chopper set, then a selection of throws.  I was confined to watching, applauding, and eating.

It's on again this year:

When: 7 pm Friday 26 March, 2010
Where: Happy Receptions, 199-203 Union Road, Ascot Vale
Cost: $70 per person (includes banquet meal), tables of 10 available
Attire: Neat casual
RSVP: Catherine 9870 0813, 0413 006 028

Get along to support a good cause.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Class is back for 2010

First class back for 2010.  Nine keen students turned up on a hot night, including one newcomer.

We had a good time with a mix of throws, self-defence applications, restraint and control, and groundwork.  A bit of everything to kick off the year.

With several regulars to return and the start of the Uni. year still a month away it looks like it's going to be a big, dynamic class.  I'm looking forward to it.