Tag Archives: competition

Breaking through walls: Redux

I performed my ‘Breaking through walls’ speech a second time. This was unexpected but Camberley Speakers contacted me as they had a spare slot. I was a little reticent as it felt a little weird to do the same speech twice but they were very encouraging!

In fact, the encouragement from Toastmasters clubs is always pretty amazing.

So, what did I learn from doing it a second time?

I was much, much more relaxed. I had not ‘touched’ the speech since the day of the original performance and I did not even take my notes with me to the second meeting. It flowed very naturally and the audience seemed to key into the speech much more which in turn helped me out. It felt much more like a performance to me as opposed to just giving my speech.

Something obviously clicked: I won ‘Best Prepared Speaker’ on the night and was also in the right zone to win ‘Best Topics Speaker’ as well!

Martin Berry, President of Camberley Speakers, told me afterwards that he feels that it is always the second time he gives a speech that it feels the strongest. Any time after that it starts to become more of a recital.

I have yet to need to give the same speech more than twice but as I have my gaze fixed firmly on competing in the speaking arena in the near future, I am going to have to get used to the idea!

Is there a ‘sweet spot’ for you when performing?

First steps in the spirit of judo

I have blogged before about the Obi tournaments that we run every so often. These are held on the same days as internal club gradings so it is a good way of getting everyone there.

The emphasis is on FUN which matches up quite nicely with FUNdamentals as specified in the BJA Long Term Athlete Development plan (LTAD). Although some material I have refers to that with ‘Player’ (LTPD) instead, so it remains to be seen what the correct version is this week.

FUNdamentals รขโ‚ฌโ€œ (male 6-10, female 6-10 years) this stage should be structured and FUN with the emphasis on developing basic movement literacy and fundamental movement skills.

Some hold the view that this age is too young for any form of competition, be it events like ours or the ‘Mini Mon’ events which are held around the UK. My view is that it depends entirely on context. What is the event for and why are players at the event?

Players at the Obi events gain points win or lose (which go towards grading up their ‘Obi man’ figure). The crowd atmosphere is geared up to support both players. Those that may have had a bad run of luck will find themselves facing a Senior Dan grade in their final contest, where their luck tends to reverse, of course ๐Ÿ˜‰

Perhaps the most memorable thing of the last event was a girl who was unfortunately in tears at the beginning due to nerves and so on. But by the end of the day, having watched her friends and had a go herself, she was practically bouncing onto the mat for her third contest. A complete turnaround and that right there is a good example of the spirit of judo shining through.

It is also not just about the players. This time around I had several players from the club who were having a go at refereeing for the first time, so we managed to run a proper team. They certainly got to see that it was not as easy as it looks. This is a perfect sort of event to give it a go though: Friendly atmosphere, all fun.

Naturally, it is still important to get the results right, and one of the main things I had to drill in was correct application of the ‘Majority of 3’ ruling. A couple of times the other members of my team disagreed with my score, but the referee sided with me just because, well, I was the senior referee. I had to call a stop to point out that it doesn’t matter: If I am over-ruled 2 to 1, I am over-ruled, full stop.

Even better, at least one of those helping out wants to go on to do the proper course and subsequent exam.

The correct, supportive environment is a boon to any aspect of judo: Training, competing, officialdom and I’m sure many more.

Southern Kyu Grade Cup 2008: Silver!

So, the Southern Kyu and Dan Grade Cup 2008 has been and gone. This was hosted at K2, Crawley – a very impressive venue. It’s a shame I didn’t get to explore it all.

I was entered in the -90s Kyu category, although on arrival I was given the option of also entering the Masters. I just about qualify now I am 30! The disadvantage here is that the Masters was Kyu AND Dan! I entered anyway, as it was free, and I had the option of withdrawing later if I wanted to.

JP and family were in attendance, so I was not too lonely! He was particularly brave as they combined his category (-100) with the +100s – and there were some very big men there! Oh, and they were Dan grades too.

I had better luck with the category. I was one of four and a good mix of grades. 2nd Kyu, 3rd Kyu (me!), 4th Kyu and 8th Kyu.

So, on with the fights…

First was against the 2nd Kyu. Young (transitioned junior?). This was tough. Evenly managed and although I was constantly putting attacks in, primarily sacrifice oriented, I was not getting the scores I needed. His Newaza was very strong, and although several times I defended well eventually he passed my guard and caught me with a hold for Ippon.

After this I realised that my fitness was not all it should be. I was tiring quickly, hence my Judo became exceptionally defensive and I wasn’t creating movement, looking for dynamic opportunities and so on. Recent throws I have learned and loved such as Uchimata and Osoto Gari just were not featuring.

The second fight was against the 4th Kyu, also a younger guy. Exceptionally tough fight. Again, my stamina was rubbish, and although I was getting scores so was he! His gripping was excellent and several times he caught both my sleeves before I got any grip at all – very unnerving. This fight went the distance. With just 10 seconds left, the scores were level, and I managed a final score (Koka? Yuko? No idea). The buzzer went and I had won.

I was exhausted. Totally. I just about managed to bow, let alone celebrate the win. Did I mention I need to work on my stamina yet? ๐Ÿ˜‰

The full five-minute fights were in use, and I’ve never had a grading or competition which used that length. JP was kind enough to make sure the table gave me the full five-minute rest period. I needed it!

Final fight was against the 8th Kyu, who was also an old guy like me. I could tell from the grip this would be okay, but I was still tired and to be honest I didn’t care any more about trying to do elegant Judo. I just wanted to win. Two sacrifices for Wazari each. Win in 16 seconds. The tiredness also meant I just did not capitalise on any Newaza advantage on the first throw. Stamina is so key.

Now, as my second fight had not been won out-right, there was still the risk I would be knocked into Bronze if the 4th Kyu won his final fight (againt the 2nd Kyu). The 2nd Kyu won though (by a fantastic strangle), so Silver was mine.

As I was so tired, and happy with my achievement, I withdrew from the Masters. Part of me wishes I had gone through with it, but I still ache today, so I think I made the right decision.

A great day, and I know what I need to work on (Stamina!). It let me down so much. Most of the stuff I routinely use in training just didn’t factor as a result…. On the positive note, I kept up the attacks (even if not as varied as I would have liked) and defended well. I didn’t receive any penalties from the day.