Category Archives for "Judo"

July 22, 2011

Scranton MMA Weekend Update

Scranton MMA / Gracie NEPA Judo will be hosting the Electric Citry Freestyle Judo Championships this weekend at Marywood University.  The day before weigh ins and registration for the tournament will be held at Scranton MMA from 6pm-8pm.  On Saturday weigh ins and registration for the tournament will begin at 8am for Juniors at Marywood University.

Since many of our Instructors, coaches and athletes will be either competing or volunteering at the tournament Judo, Gracie Jiu Jitsu and Bully Shield classes are cancelled on Saturday.  All students are encouraged to come down and either watch or compete at the tournament.

July 19, 2011

Scranton MMA Judo Promotional Tournament Recap

On Sunday July 17th, 2011 Scranton MMA hosted the Eastern Pennsylvania Judo Promotional Tournament.  The event was held at Scranton MMA due to the size of both the Judo training area and the Gracie Jiu Jitsu training area as well as having more than enough space for all the parents and guests to watch the event.

The event started with the testing of all the participants who were seeking promotion.  The Judokas had to demonstrate their knowledge and technical proficiency in Judo terminology, Judo throws, chokes, pins and armbars.  Scranton MMA had a bunch of kids seeking promotion and a large group of adults seeking promotion.

The instructors at Scranton MMA did not test any of their own students and since we were lucky enough to have a large group of instructors from other clubs come down for the promotional they tested all of our students and we did the same for them.  Even though we did not test our students we did get to see their test scores and everyone from Scranton MMA did very well on everything they were tested on.  This made all of our instructors very happy!

After the testing the competition portion of the event was held.  The competition portion is actually two competitions in one.  The first part is a kohaku or line up tournament.  The competitors are lined up by rank and weight.  Lightest white belt to heaviest white belt then lightest yellow belt to heaviest yellow, etc etc.  The first two competitors compete and the winner stays on until he loses. Constsantly facing heavier opponents, more experienced opponents or both! Everyone fought very well during this portion of the competition but we had two HUGE standouts that got everyones attention.  First Nick Shoemaker in the junior devision won 5 matches in a row.  He beat several people who out ranked him by two belts and had one victory that only took him five seconds total match time.  Nick fought until there was no one left for him to fight in the line up and then bowed off undefeated during the line up.  A great accomplishment especially considering this was only his second competition and his first promotional tournament.  In the adult division Jeff Reese also won five matches in a row.  Jeff had some great submissions along the way and won a match where he was outweighed by about 40lbs and out ranked by 2 ranks.  His only loss was to ‘Hercules’ who was 3 ranks higher than him (black belt / shodan) and out weighed him by over 100lbs. 

After the line up the competitors are then placed into pools and continue to fight.  Again both the kids and the adults did great.  Display great heart and determination as well as outstanding sportsmanship and control when necessary.  One stand out performance here was Jenn Williams who fought all the females in the competition despite being outweighed at times by 80lbs and won all her matches with Ippon.  She won matches both standing and on the ground.  She also displayed great control and sportsmanship by keeping all of her opponents safe and then even giving them advice on how to improve after the matches.

I wont go through the details on everyones promotion.  It might bore you too much.  I will say this everyone from Scranton MMA who was seeking promotion got promoted.  This is a great TEAM accomplishment.  Everyone worked hard in the weeks leading up to the tournament and it paid off big time.  I will mention some of the more noteable promotions.

Matt Leslie was awarded his Junior Brown Belt. 

Nick Shoemaker was promoted via Batsugan to Junior Brown Belt!

Dominic Dougherty was awarded his Senior Brown Belt.

All of our Yellow belts were promoted to Green belt.

Jeff Reese was promoted via Batsugan to Ikkyu or “1 step away from Black Belt”

Vito Picozzo was unamiously promoted to Shodan or the rank of Black Belt.

When you are at the Scranton MMA this week please take a minute to congratulate Vito on his new belt as well as our adult competitors who got promoted and especially our kids who serve as a great example to us on what the results of consistent training and hard work will do for us all.

July 12, 2011

Scranton MMA Judo Training Tips

During the last few Judo classes at Scranton MMA we have focused on teaching our students how they should be training. It is not enough to just teach techniques during our Judo class. The instructors at Scranton MMA feel it is just as important that we teach our students how to train. There are certain methods, strategies, attitudes and tactics that will help you get more out of your training. At the same time there are many things that can dramatically slow down your progress.

Some people will try to encourage the use of strength and overpowering of your opponent or partner throughout the entire Judo class. This makes sense to some people. They think that if they have the strength they should use it and practice using it over and over. At Scranton MMA we instead focus on technique during our practice sessions. First it is important to realize that strength is important. No one is ever upset if they are stronger than their opponent in a Judo tournament or in a self defense situation. However, you must realize that while you are on that mat it is far more beneficial to focus on your technique and prioritize the technical aspect above everything else. Strength should be primarily focused and trained off the mat not during valuable class time when you are surrounded by instructors and great training partners. This is the only time you have to get feedback from your instructors, try out your new techniques or perfect your favorite technique. Take advantage of it. Do not waste that valuable time trying to show off your strength or impress your instructors or training partners with your strength or win by over powering your partners during sparring. This strategy will backfire on you time and time again. Everyone has seen someone stronger. Everyone has seen someone better. Instead focus on improving your technique at all costs. Try to practice using as little strength as possible. Focus instead on timing, body position, angles of attack and all the technical aspects rather than relying on strength to be effective.

A lot of people will spend most of their training time working their favorite moves or submissions while neglecting to work out of a bad situation. At Scranton MMA we constantly focus on escapes, counters and strategies that will get you out of a bad situation. It is very important to be prepared for the worst situation that can occur in a Judo match, fight or self defense situation. If you never expose yourself to this type of training inside of the academy you will not be fully prepared for it when it happens outside of the academy. You constantly need to put yourself in a bad position or situation. You should always strive to improve your ability to work from a bad situation, to turn a negative to a positive or to just escape and get back to a neutral position. There is nothing wrong with purposefully putting yourself into a pin or allowing your partner to take a dominant grip and work from that position. This is the best way to make sure you will get plenty of practice working your escapes, counters and strategies that will save you if you are ever put in this situation when it matters most.

Another aspect that we have been teaching recently is the art of combinations. There are many mistakes that people will make when they start to work combinations and it is important that we stay on top of or ahead of these mistakes. The most common mistake people make when practicing combinations is that they basically just fake or feint the first attack. They do not apply the first technique with 100% commitment, intensity or confidence. This can be the last mistake you ever make in a Judo match. If you do not apply the first technique properly or if you expect it to fail you will not force your opponent to defend the attack. If you opponent does not defend you will not be creating an opportunity which you can capitalize on. It is very important that whenever you practice combinations that you apply the first technique 100% and that your partner escapes in the same manner your opponent would in a match. Only then are you properly preparing yourself for the action reaction series that will actually occur. If you just fake a move and expect a skilled opponent to react you are fooling yourself. It is very important that the training situation, pace and tempo matches what will occur in a Judo tournament. This takes a very dedicated team to pull off. BOTH partners need to be focused and willing to expend lots of energy both in the attacks and the defense in order for BOTH parties to benefit from the training.

These are just a few of the strategies we have been teaching during our recent Judo classes. We are very lucky to have some great students and coaches on the mat to allow us to implement these strategies. Training in this manner allows all of us to improve much more efficiently than if we did not have such a great team.

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