Archive for June, 2007

Iguazu Falls

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Here are photos of Jeff and Owen at Iguazu Falls, relaxing after the 2007 World Masters.

There's no judo in these photos, but there's a ton of judo in the people in the photos.

My favorite is the one with the huge thundering waterfall in the background, all noise and chaos, and in the foreground there's a man-made walkway, all straight lines and angles, and poised in the middle is Jeff. It's very, like, yin and yang, or something.

As usual, click on any of the thumbnails to go to the Flickr page.

click for Flickr page

Update on the World Masters

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Hot off the press — I just got this from Jeff:

Well, the judo was superlative.

Owen had three fights, one win and two losses. His pool was seven or eight.

I had two losses. The pool was twenty. The other kids had better days.

Beyond judo, we spent a few days in Sao Paulo. We also flew to Iguazu Falls overnight. Breathtaking.

Update: Thanks to Sandro for the URL for Judo Brasil, which posted the shiai results.

The following are links to PDF files.

Scant info on the World Masters

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Jeff and Owen went to Sao Paulo, Brazil, for the 2007 World Masters. As far as I know, nobody's heard from them.

I've been hoping some other judo blogger would be live-blogging the event, but Google hasn't turned up such a person. I did find a list of US players who placed. The only names I recognize are Teimoc, who played at Oishi many years ago, and Clyde Worthen, whom I know by name only.

I also found an interesting thread on the kata part of the tournament, but Jeff and Owen didn't participate in that part, as far as I know.

Lucca, 1996

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Here's one of my favorite matches, from November 16, 1996. Just watching the judo I would have thought the girl was Nina, but Nina was older by then, and was playing in that tournament as a green belt. Nina has confirmed that this was her sister Lucca.

I don't mean to spoil the outcome, but note that Michael Spinks lasted three times as long against Mike Tyson, in one of the quickest and most brutal knockouts in heavyweight championship history.

One thing I've loved about these old videos is seeing the pleasure on Sensei's face when he watches the kids from the sidelines. In this match he's refereeing, but he still gets a chuckle at the end when he throws in a "name that throw" pop quiz.

Another June wedding

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

Our dojo has another newlywed. Zuri and Reiko got married this morning at the Buddhist Cultural Center on Chrystie St. It was the first Buddhist wedding I'd ever attended. Will and his girlfriend were there as well.

I don't remember the full sequence of the ceremony (I'll review my videotape later), but there was a lot of bowing to elders, there was the exchange of rings, the priest made some pronouncements, and there was chanting. Good-luck gifts were presented to the couple by a procession of grandmotherly ladies. I thought that part was sweet.

After the ceremony tables were set up and a vegetarian meal was brought out from the kitchen. I especially liked the dumplings. The cake was excellent and there was lots to go around, but I limited myself to one small piece, because, you know, the weight thing.

Mazel tov, Zuri!

cutting the cake

food for the gods

Congratulations to Austin

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

On Friday night, Sensei presented Austin Young with his black belt. Austin's wife was there to share the moment.

I completely spaced on getting her name. I'll update this entry when I find it out.

Click below for the Flickr page with the full-sized photo:


My first week back

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

five sketches

This past week I took three classes at the new dojo, and they were great fun.

The brand-new mats are firmer, grippier, and springier than our old ones. Jumping on them is like running in well-cushioned running shoes; they add energy to your bounce.

Because of the extra firmness, my hands smarted from hitting the mat during rollouts, though not from randori. I probably just need to work on my rollouts.

I think the padded wall was a good investment. Not that we should be any less vigilant about people playing close to the edges, but it's nice to have a little insurance in case somebody does hit the wall.

I cheated during one randori and bounced off the wall to avoid falling, like a boxer bouncing off the ropes to avoid getting trapped. I got thrown a few seconds later anyway.

The plumbing improvements are appreciated. The showers feel luxurious — nicer, as someone commented, than some of us have at home. And it's convenient having our own restrooms instead of having to walk up to that shared one at Leonard St.

The place looks great. The bamboo floors are beautiful, and Sensei's sketches along the exposed brick add a unique charm. Along with all the shiny new stuff, it's nice having familiar artifacts from the old place, like Jeff's beloved scale and that hunk of wood we sit on to tie our shoes.

Most importantly — more important than the functional conveniences and the aesthetic touches — there was a great energy from the people there. Plenty of smiles, and plenty of enthusiastic judo. We were simply being our usual happy, judo-loving selves, perhaps a little more so. When one white belt got in a hard-won throw against a higher-ranking opponent, she got a round of applause.


Sunday, June 17th, 2007

Sankaku Sushi & Noodle

Jeff has a joke about the three biggest lies you'll be told by your opponent:

  • "Let's go easy; I'm coming back from an injury."
  • "Let's go easy; I'm out of shape."
  • And I forget the third, but I'm sure Jeff will remind me when he gets back from the Worlds.

Basically they're all reasons why you should go easy on him or her, while he or she proceeds to try to clobber you.

As I return from a conference in San Francisco, which was preceded by two weeks without judo while we moved the dojo, I'm running through my list of excuses. Sitting all week in an uncomfortable chair, hunched awkardly over my laptop, has been murder on my neck, shoulders, and knees… Having to use my laptop keyboard instead of the ergonomic one at home as been murder on my wrists, which means morote-seoinage will be difficult for a while… I meant to work on my wind by walking the steep streets of San Francisco, but never had time…

Somehow I doubt I'll get much sympathy for these excuses. But I thought of another excuse that I'm sure my randori partners will be happy to believe, and even help me with when we do newaza.

See, one reason I may play tentatively for a while is that no one has tried to choke me in three weeks. I have a theory that struggling against chokes makes my neck stronger and therefore makes me more confident about breakfalls. When my neck is weak I have to try harder to keep my head from flopping into the mat when I land. (Yeah, I'm that physically wimpy.) And anything that undermines my confidence in my breakfall makes me play tentatively and defensively.

So to my friends at Oishi: when I see you on the mat this week, please choke me. Strange as it may seem, you'd be helping me with my randori.

(By the way, I'm writing this at SFO. When I entered the airport, I saw the Sankaku sign above, and it got me thinking about chokes.)

First night

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

Keith Goldfeld sent in a bunch of great photos from the first evening class at the new dojo. Click below to see them all.

click to see all 29 photos

I would have loved to be there, but the photos you folks have been sending are the next best thing.

I tried to post these last night, but I was having trouble with the network at my hotel. I'm typing this now at Moscone Center, in a room full of other Apple nerds who are also catching up on stuff between sessions.

Update: Great stuff! Sonam Atuk sent me a few too:

click to see all 5 photos

Update: Still more! Bob Henry sent these:

click to see all 5 photos

First photos and video

Monday, June 11th, 2007

Many thanks to Dan Heinrich for four photos and a few seconds of video from the very first class at the new dojo, the daytime class on June 11.

Update: Thanks to Jean-Ezra Yeung for a fifth photo.

click for larger images