Monday, July 21, 2008

Obtaining the Judo Black Belt

This past weekend I passed the test to be promoted to Black Belt (Shodan) in Judo. After having accumulated enough points in competition I, and one of my teammates, had to go through the motions in front of a state promotion committee. We first had to demonstrate the first 9 throws of the Nage no kata (a choreographed ritual that has a total of 15 throws). Then the committee asked us to perform various pins, chokes, armlocks and throws. Lots and lots of throws (obviously). Throws by themselves, throws with set ups, throws in combinations, counter throws, throws to your weak side (left, in my case). The whole test took about an hour and a half (I think). It was hot, I was sweating buckets, and bodies were flying through the air. Below are some pics from the session.

Me throwing with an Uki Otoshi, the first throw of my Nage no kata.

Me throwing with an Uki Goshi, the 4th throw of my Nage no kata.

The promotion committee is asking us to perform various pins, chokes and armlocks.

I can't remember what throw I was doing here. I think it is the miserable drop Sode Tsurikomi Goshi where I dropped my partner on his head. The Sode is one of my favorite throws, but I lost control mid-throw. Not all of my throws were picture perfect!

But this throw comes darn close! The Kata Guruma, one of my favorite throws. Right side or left side, the KG is coming for you!

In the end, I got this. Well... not really. I have to buy my own belt, so I guess I really only got permission to buy it and wear it! It's all good.

Well, I'm glad that this is done and over with. For the last couple of months we have been practicing and studying for this exam. Now that it is over I can go back to training hard and doing more randori!

Best of luck to you if you decide to start Judo, but don't do it for the belt. Do it for the throws!