Thursday, April 12, 2012

Developing a Plan

Judo is a lot of fun.  My club has a good group of guys and we have developed a great sense of comradery.  Currently my schedule and life circumstances have placed some pretty significant limits on the time I can spend training in the art.  I recently came across Malcom Gladwell’s theory (as presented in the book Outliers) that it takes 10000 hours of deliberate practice to master a particular field.  I believe he suggests that corresponds to about 20 hours a week for 10 years.  My schedule allows for about one tenth of that so it is clear to me that I will never Master Judo by this definition.
It is also clear to me that in order to get the most out of my training time I have to develop individual goals and a plan of attack to achieve them.   I’ve been somewhat inspired by Dan McLaughlin who, having minimal experience as a golfer, quit his day job and set out through deliberate practice to become a PGA tour golfer.   I believe that Judoka’s who excel in competition usually have a few throws that they have truly mastered and know a wide variety of setups to exploit those throws. I think it is safe to assume that although I enjoy competitions, I will not be making it to the Olympics in this lifetime and so at this juncture I think I must make a decision as to whether to focus on sport or on the art.
There are 67 throwing techniques described in Kodokan Judo.  My current goal is to eventually become competent in all of them and fluid in a few.   Of the few I become fluid in I want to explore a few different combinations to set them up and focus on the timing.  While this won’t make me a master of the art by any means I believe I will be able to say that I am competent in the art.
Today I want to start by simply identifying which of the 67 different throws I have had some exposure to.

Ippon Seoinage
O Goshi
Osoto Gari
Seoi Nage
Uchi Mata
Kouchi Gari
Ouchi Gari
Deashi Harai
Uki Goshi
Kata Guruma
Tsurikomi Goshi
Ashi Guruma
O Guruma
Tai Otoshi
Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi
Harai Goshi
Hiza Guruma
Hane Goshi
Harai Tsurikomi Ashi
Tani Otoshi
Sumi Gaeshi
Tomoe Nage
Soto Makikomi

Next I want to rank my proficiency at the throws so that I can decide which are my weakest and thus need the most work. My theory is that repetition is the strongest component of building competence. I want to start logging the number of reps I do of each throws to see how I improve.  I also have new 44 throws to work on.  If I can work on 2 new throws per month I can cover the remainder in a two year period.  We will see how long I can stick with this, but it won’t happen at all without a plan.

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