How to be a Judo Fan

  Judo fan chart

 

 

I scarf down my croissanwich as I swipe my creds at the turnstile of my work building. I overhear the desk guy chatting about his Alma Matter’s football team. Michigan playing… (fades into background noise).

The glowing screen of the ticking numbers and the ever evolving spreadsheets start to hurt my eyes, so I decide to take a micro break. I get up and walk down the row of cubicles. I step to the water dispenser and there’s Sam. This is where the inevitable small talk commences. Sam says, “How about them jets?"

"I’m embarrassed to say, I haven’t been keeping up with the Jets, I mean, seriously, Im a Giants fan."

I return to my desk, I go to NFL.com and do some reading. I pull up the company wide messenger system and send Sam a message. “they are looking pretty awful with Testaverde on the sidelines. HA!” yeah, I’m that guy.

It’s Thursday now, Jesse wants to grab a drink after work. Alright. #Happyhour, #localbar, #nexttowork. The hours pass quickly. We chat about the new hot intern (yea sure Joe, if you were 20 years younger… you’re not fooling anyone.) The efficiency consultant, UGH! As glances to the floating rectangle becomes more and more frequent, the topic of conversation naturally progresses… “Who do you like for this game?”

I'm with my work boys. Amongst us, a die hard fan of whatever team playing. The glory of HIS team, affects him so much. HIs heated fandom is contagious, and although some of us HATE the Patriots, we can’t help being uplifted by the high of Sport.

We go home, watch sports center with a slight headache. We youtube the “SICK interference that lead to the INSANE 80 yard return.” and post the video clip on the Facebook wall of friends and family.


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In the same time, same space, same dimension, Anthony, doesn’t eat croissanwiches, goes drinking after work to watch the game, and watch sports center. Instead, he eats Healthy, goes to Judo practice and watches Top 10 Ippons from the most recent Grand Slam.

When he gets to the water dispenser, he doesn’t chat about whether or not Eli Manning is a bum. He chats about something else. Because he isn’t a football fan. He wishes he can chat about Judo and Zantaria’s indomitable will to win. But he is going to have to save that for Friday night at the dojo.

It isn’t easy being a Judo fan. The exposure through mainstream media is nil. Most people don’t talk about it. I would even go ahead and say, 80% of my dojo members don’t know who the current heavy hitters of World Judo are. So here is my attempt, easing the transition into being a true Judo fan.

1. Learn the Rules of Judo Cant watch judo and enjoy if you have no idea what is going on. Im not going to go into it all, but here is a recap. Every competition is in tournament style. Athletes separated by gender and weight. 5 Minute matches, 3 ways to win. Slam your opponent to their back. Submission (arm lock or choke), 25 second hold down.

2. Understanding the International Judo Federation (IJF) In football, we have the NFL. Baseball, MLB. Hockey, NHL. World soccer, I don’t know, who watches soccer? But in Judo, we have the IJF

www.IJF.org (take a look)

IJF site

The IJF is all things Judo. The biggest governing body.

Every year, the IJF has 4 grand slams, 4 grand prix, and 8 continental opens. They are also in charge of the Continental championships and the World Championships.   Every country hand selects their team. The individual athletes earn points to be on the World Ranking List. Which is used for Olympic Qualifications.

You can find the Rankings at www.Judobase.org

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Go head.  Play around with it.  Take a look at the best in your divison.  Throw their names into Youtube.

3.  Follow the Action!!

You can find the LIVE brackets here. www.Ippon.org

You can watch the live stream here www.ippon.tv

If you miss the action, you can always go to these links and watch what you missed.

https://www.youtube.com/user/judo

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8g3sG6C9xzvPxn-9up-L_g

Lets see what tournaments are coming up.

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Now, all you need is a space to communicate your thoughts with a like-minded individual. How about the dojo!!!?

www.Kokushibudo.com

 

Judo is forever

Judo is a way of life. My father who started KBI as a branch of Kokushikan university 50 years ago is 75 years old. He is in excellent shape. He taught me that Judo is forever. Why? Let me tell you... The merits of the sport are apparent. Not only does it promote growth in physical aspects (strength, speed, etc), but it also helps the mind flourish. Jigoro Kano developed judo as an education system that encompasses all areas of life. Many sports has the sole mission to build the athlete to acquire a certain skill set and to excel within the realm of the sport itself. However, Judo helps you to become a better citizen of the world.

I believe humans are supposed to reach out and grab someone. To fight, grapple and play. Throw, trip and wrestle. The fight or flight is the most primitive of human responses and I believe Judo training caters to this human need. In the modern tech age, we spend most of our days staring into a glowing rectangle, hunched over our artificial communication centers. Couped up in our 9-5's. Even the food we eat is processed to a point where there aren't any remnants of what nature originally intended for us to consume.

In a world like this, no wonder people fall into the depths of dark psychological abyss. Although I know I am biased through the childhood indoctrination, I believe judo is the Panacea to this pandemic. Throw a gi on, reach out, Grab someone and fight them! But not JUST fight... BUT The way Jigoro kano meant for it to be... In congruence with an education system that develops the mind, body and soul.

Here is a thread about Judo and longevity. Enjoy.

Is judo harsh on the body?

ART

Totally unrelated to Judo, but I have really been into art lately. I live near the Metropolitan Museum of art and I have been going regularly. I must say, I don't love ALL of it. I only like the Romantic, Realist and Impressionist paintings. The statues, cultural pieces and such do not whisper one syllable to me.

So the other day, I was roaming my favorite wing. Slowly walking through the maze of Manet, Monet, Renoir and Courbet... Then I came across the Ballerinas. It was stunning. I got to thinking, What would happen if Edgar Degas were alive today and regularly came to my dojo to paint the Brawlers on the mat? With the way he captivates motion, it would certainly be a masterpiece. It probably wouldn't have the ethereal and statuesque qualities of a ballerina, but for sure magnificent. Now throw in some Techniques implied by Monet to portray light in an improvisational way. Quite awesome.

Speaking of art, this is my most recent work

Judo NYC

And yes, paintings are great... but my favorite form of art is still this...

Judo NYC

So I have been actively trying to grow Judo in NYC. I am an avid believer in the merits of Judo for everyone. I truly believe that Judo can improve the lives of the practitioners not only physically, but intellectually and emotionally. I achieved some success in World competition. I am not done just yet. But it is time for me to start giving back to the world. My first step to fulfilling this lifelong journey is to build awareness about the sport. Hence, I started this website.

Judo NYC

Please check it out and let me know what you think.

Thank you Tony!

When i was wrestling in High school, a really cool Westchester sports writer used to always cover the wrestling tourneys. 8 years later, he wrote one more about me. Here it is. Thanks Tony! http://www.thedailyscarsdale.com/sports/scarsdales-higashi-aims-2012-summer-olympics

Chess tactics and judo

It's been a while since I've written and Big things have happened!  Although a long due brag fest would be most appropriate, I am not going to do that.  That is because I want to write about Chess.  Yes, chess. I love the game.  I first learned to play at a young age.  My uncle taught me how and although I liked it, I didn't have the patience to give myself the sit time to accel in the game.  Also, my progress was impeded by my severe ADHD.  I believe movement is medicine and since then have over-come that disability.  However, that is another post...  Chess.  I decided to trade private lessons with my friend and fellow judoka Chris.  He is an amazing chess player and I thought I can benefit my psychological aspect of judo through learning chess theory and tactics.  Here is what I have learned so far.

Advancement of the pawns= Grip fighting. (have to be strategical, placement crucial)

Developing your knight= ie:Uchimata you can hit from all angles.

Bishop=Diagnal attacks

Rooks=Straight back and forth, side to side

Diligent and strategical hand placement during grip fighting, can lead to the development of the 'pieces' to attack efficiently from many angles.

And queen...  Newaza?  Absolutely NOT!

Forks, skewers and pins...  Multiple combinations and threats to force check mate....

Anyways, it may seem stupid but I like it!  so That's that, until next time.  It's time to eat.

National Championships

When I woke up Friday for competition, I felt the touch of the World Championship team in the palm of my hands.  The excitement was overwhelming.  The anticipation of victory rang in my chest and I could feel the weight of the medal haning from my neck.  I was prepared and confident.  However I let it all slip away on account of one minor mistake in the Semi-finals against Djamaldin Aliev.  I ended up with a bronze medal instead of gold and the missed oppurtunity to fight in the World trial against the number 1 seed.  When I get hold of my matches, I will post them for you all to see.  The Nationals were an amazing experience not only because of my competition, but my fellow New Yorkers that enganged in War fighting out of the NYAC and the ITC.  Watching the best in the country scrap it out for the title representing the elitist of the elite, I was able to collect ideas for my own personal gain.  For example, some of the final matches were so educational and interesting.  I learned many things I am dying to test out and incorporate into my repertoir of tricks up my sleeve.  Today is the Monday back from the 2009 Nationals.  It's time to get on board and start my training from rough draftship.  Thank you for your support.  Congratulations to my NYAC and ITC fighters.

Liberty Bell

This past weekend was the Liberty bell Judo tournament.  There were many elite athletes present and it was very intersting to watch.  It is a great warm up for the Nationals for the East Coast fighters.  I decided not to fight this year to preserve my body.  Plus, the idea of taking a back seat from the competitive mindset and being a spectator as a pure fan seemed appealing to me.  At the tournament, I scurried from mat to mat to either observe a match up that intrigued me or to cheer for a fellow comrad.  I was involved in so many of the fights throughout the day, that there wasn't a dull moment.  I was constantly stimulated and it was a very eventful day.  I have to go to work for now, so I'm cutting this post short.  Thanks for reading, I will write you guys soon.

Torazo

Torazo took 2nd at the Junior Nationals this past weekend in the 90kgs division.  He fought with so much heart and determination, I was very proud of him.  He lost his 1st match but then came back by winning 4 straight.  On his route to the finals, he earned his long deserved 'W' against his long time rival.  He has lost to him many times before but this was his day.  He dominated the match.  He controlled his opponent with better hand positioning.  He flowed in and out of moves and graced the mat like Sarah Hughs does ice.  He owned the moment by marionetting every aspect of motion in the contest area.  Every jerk served a purpose, every twist a set up, every pop with meaning.  As the match progressed in the direction of Torazo's will, I slowly began to see the overall picture.  Torazo was setting up his favorite move.  And in that EXACT moment I realized what he was doing, his nemesis was in the air, vertical, falling to his back from a perfectly executed Uchimata.   Some of my career defining moments of my own are the matches that I defeated my rivals for the first time.  It was very heartwarming for me to watch my student enjoy this experience.  Congratulations Torazo, you deserve it.

Although this isn't a picture of the match I am talking about, I thought I would share it with you.  I got this off of www.Usjudo.org

Garry and Torazo

Boy has it been a great week.  Friday put a nice cap on the weekday workouts, truly a Friday worthy Friday.  Early Judo session with my friend Anthony and Brian, lifted at the New York AC, played some basketball and yes, Judo again at night.  I was informed also that training partner and friend Garry St Leger took a bronze medal at the Pan American Championships.  Congratulations!  Besides for Garry, there were several other American fighters that medalled at the Pan Ams.  US is slowly but surely catching up to World Judo and I am proud to be on the ship moving knot by knot.  Anyways, I am very excited about this weekend.  My protoge/training partner/brother/friend Torazo Karagiannis is going to compete at the Junior Nationals in York PA.  It is his big year and I have a great feeling about his very own 2009.  His goal is the Junior World Championships.  I missed out twice on this oppurtunity.  I was a 2x alternate and it hurt so much.  I really want for Torazo to capture the moment where he holds the letters USA on his back in the Junior World Championship setting.  I am leaving for Pennsylvania now.  Good luck Torazo!

Martin's workout

I went to Martin's to train today. We had a ridiculous workout. Throughout the circuit, my heart was banging like a heavyset metronome on it's highest setting, my head was spinning and every muscle on me ached. Usually I would quit way before that at my mental break threshold, however Martin pushed and encouraged me to keep on going. Truly a great trainer. We did...

Warm up, light sprints, rope circuit, then...

 {sprint 35 seconds, upright rows, over head press} 3 sets

{sprint 35 seconds, hammers 25reps} 3 sets

{sprint 35 seeconds, jack knives, trunk twists}3 sets

Afterwards, I had a small window of time not accounted for in my day's schedule. I was in manhattan by 11 and I didn't have to be at Brooklyn college until 2. I decided to go for a drive. I cruised down the bqe and into Brooklyn. I stopped by prospect park for the first time. I've always wanted to check it out ever since my NYC comfort zone expanded into this borough in 2008. I sat by prospect lake and hung out with the ducks while the big lake layout in front of me brightly rippling with the breeze and sunshine. I can't wait until practice tonight. I'm improving, and there is nothing else that feels better than that. Brooklyn college 2-3, judo my dojo 5-630. Judo Nyac 730-9. Not too shabby. Time for my meal. I'm going to throw down this chicken wrap.

I dream and dream

The 2009 Ny Open just happened yesterday and I can't say I am not disappointed with the outcome.  I worked hard and smart, but I fell short once again.  I would like to thank everyone who came to watch my match.  I feel like I let you guys all down, but have faith.  I am dreaming about the upcoming US National Championships in April.  It is back to the drawing board for me on this post-defeat Monday.  I drew many lessons from my loss on Saturday against Scott Edwards (Canada) although the match was very short.  4 things... Seoi nage-block the hip-shoulder roll.  Kata guruma, lapel elbow clinched tight to avoid being countered.  Confidence in attacking on the ground.  High C-knee blocks sprawl-to reverse lift.

Lying on the mat after the referee raised his hand to signal ippon for my opponent was a devastating blow to my Judo ego and self.  I will allow this match to fuel my quest to the top of the Nation.

Jimmy Pedro clinic, Ny open

Usually blog entries chronologically parallel the events in the writer's life, but today will be an exception.  I am going to go back to Saturday to write about an experience very much worth mentioning.  So saturday.  Jimmy Pedro, 2x Olympic bronze medalist and World Champion came down to NyC to do a Judo clinic.  It was a privilege to attend.  He is one of the greatest Judo fighters born and bred in the United states.  Yet, he is modest and a champ off the mat as well.  He is a charismatic family man and is a role model to all his students and many of the judo fans out there.  Anyways, He reviewed grip strategies, techniques and Judo tactics.  He had a QandA session as well and I got to ask him a few questions so that was great.  Although I am not new to his clinics, I definitely learned many things.  I am going to incorporate the sode he taught into my arsenal of throws.  The grip fighting tactics against tall left handed fighters will deem beneficial as well.

The Ny open is 4 days away.  I am so excited.  I can't wait to see the faces of the fighters, to be immersed in the crazy of the competitive Judo atmosphere and to pour my training onto the mat.  I put in countless hours in the NYAC gym.  Running and lifting on my days I am supposed to.  When the weights on the barbell seems heavy in that gym, I've pictured that Gym floor covered in tatami's on March 8th, 2009.  T-4days.

Judo, camaraderie and recovery spa

Judo today at 10am.  Me and a bunch of elite judo guys from the NYC area decided to get together for a workout.  It was about 5-8 of us throughout the entire ordeal.  We started off drilling light and exchanged tricks and ideas.  We studied different entries and gripping sequences and the first hour flew by.  We then went to grip fighting and started doing more aggresive moving uchikomi.  After that, it was all a blur of battered shins, jammed fingers, banging heads and of course throwing and being thrown.  Some of us worked out until about 2pm.  Yes it was on and off, rehydrating and chit-chatting here and there.  After we were all spent, we sat around on the mats talking and joking.  It was great.  There is something about the bond you make with your fellow comrades of the mat.  It is almost as if we are soldiers fighting in the same battles for a common cause.  It is because we all have the mutual effort and pain, we are able to respect eachother and make that friendly relationship.  To my Nyc judokas in my brotherhood, thank you for being on this journey with me. So after the training session, me and anthony went to eat healthy and to a spa to unwind the tensions of our muscles and to mollify the stress of our never-ending War against bad Judo.  For all who is interested, www.nyspacastle.com  That is where we went.  If you live in the NYC area, I highly recommend it.  Yes, it's pricy, but hey it beats a night out on the town.  You spend less without compromising the biochemistry of your body with drugs and alcohol.  What is better?  I don't know, you tell me!

Wednesday madness

Today was a beautiful day.  I was Feeling productive and powerful, flowing through the streets of New York City... I couldn't ask for more.    Today was a wednesday.  My usual routine.  Workout, work, Judo Judo.  The first Judo at my father's school, and the second judo practice at the NYAC. The New York Open is approaching fast.  John who runs tournament told the AC Judo athletes today that 2/3's of the competitors are from overseas.  It's going to be a tough one.  The NY Open is the only tournament I have not medalled at in the United States that I have competed in.  THIS IS MY YEAR!  The Tournament is March 8th at the New York Athletic club so if you can make it, you would Catch World class Judo at its finest.

One of my favorite quotes I want to share with you...  "The Youth is Wasted on the Young." I don't know who said it, but I believe it to be so true.  When you're an old man like me, you realize that those days when your ignorance made you believe youth would never end has Long been gone.  And when you're knowledgable enough to do damage, you start to miss your well-lubricated and flexible joints.  Its too late... The young and stupid have the Knees and shoulders YOU need to succeed.  And yes I am old beacuse my joints ache.  But on a serious note, Embrace your youth!  Get strong, be heatlhy.  You are younger today than you will be tomorrow.  Even if youre 50 (Blake, Big Bill).  So there a piece of my Old man wisdom.  Have a great night.

Monday funday, Delicious candy realization

Hi all.  Today was a great day for me.  One day closer to achieving my goals, one day a better man!  I ate perfectly square meals timed 3 hours apart.  Protein shake for breakfast, brunch, post workout shake, lunch, protein bar, and then dinner.  I got my heavy lift in and it felt great.  Although the amount on the barbells and dumbells have decreased in the recent months due to side effect of weight loss, I felt envigorated during my Iron time.   Went to teach at brooklyn college after my lift and then To judo.  I had a pop in my steps as my Ipod sang tunes through my earbuds.  I was nearing the Dojo and I couldn't wait to get there.  I drilled with my guys and fought hard. Diet!~~ Today I walked by some advertisement of my favorite sweets.  I immediately repeated to myself, "Poison poison!"  (Martin Rooney's magic phrase.  Thanks!)  And at that moment I came to stunning realization. I looked back on the many times I felt powerless encountered by my demon.  Each and every one of those times when I teetered on my decision whether or not to have the candy, the words 'I deserve it'  entered my mind... Then I ate.   Oh yes, I consumed.  On those occasions I have single handedly broken my psychological threshold Of Will Power.  It is like when you wake up in the morning for class and have a itch in your throat or the smallest sniffle, and say to yourself, 'I'm sick'...  Then BOOM! it's OVER!  You will get full blown influenza and you will NOT go to class.    So yes, that is my self-discovery snapple fact of the day.  Don't let that little voice enter your mind.  If you do, it's over.  If any of you guys have little tricks of your own I would love to know.  Thanks for reading!