you place these messages
in a folder somewhere, we are
going to tackle some “heavy” stuff
in the next couple of weeks.
Pre- Competition Mistake
This is a crucial mistake and when
I mention it, at first you won’t
think it is that serious and then
when I explain, you are going to
say, “D@mn, that’s right!!”
So here it is, mistake number 2
“Not Going To The Tournament
Site, The Day Before To Check Out
The Competition Area and the mats!!”
First, of all lets deal with the mats.
How many times have you gone to a
tournament where they didn’t have
tatamis, but instead had wrestling
mats, or canvas pulled over foam
mats, or gym mats connected with
velcro and tape outlining the
Many!! That’s right, many!!
And guess what, all of these
surfaces play and extremely
important role in how you play.
***Canvas pulled over foam***
First of all this surface is
the worst, but a lot of tournaments,
especially local tournaments have
this. There are two things you have
to look at.
1)If the canvas is pulled tight or
2)If it is loose, with wrinkles in it.
Well, tight canvas makes for a very
fast and slippery surface. You really
have to slow the game down and you
can really hit some great foot
sweeps on this surface.
Now here’s what you have to be on
the lookout for…
This surface is not great for moves
where you have to create major
ground forces in order to complete
the move (i.e., pickups, uchimata,
etc.,.) You can do them, but its
hard. The surface is just super
slippery and you can lose your
Now, for the loose canvas…
Loose canvas, makes for a very
slow surface. I had to play on
this type of surface at the
Abu Dhabi Submission World
Championships in 2005. I was
asking for the canvas to be
pulled tight before the tournament
but the tournament directors did
not see it as a big deal. But that
is because they don’t understand
how the surface makes a difference.
The loose canvas can actually catch
your opponents foot and give them
a little bit of time to catch their
balance whereas a tight canvas will
make them seem like they are walking
On tight canvas surfaces, it is
extremly easy to push your opponent
around and make them look passive.
The surface doesn’t have enough
friction to allow them to “gather
themselves” to make a good attack
attempt. So just slide backwards
and out of bounds
This is a no-no at judo tournaments
but I have seen this before too.
On this surface you DO NOT WANT TO
TWIST AND TURN a great deal.
If your toe gets caught in the mat,
it will break and fracture severely.
On this surface you can really plant
very well (due to your foot sinking)
somewhat in the mat. It also slows
the match down (i.e. just like a
football game is slower if it is
played on grass than on astroturf).
On this surface, you can really
perform moves like morote gari, big
osoto garis and ouchis. Your big
driving throws work great here.
Pushing your opponent on such a
surface will make you VERY TIRED.
Because they can “dig in” on this
surface and really plant well.
On such a surface, it’s better
to work within the “confines” of
the surface, slow the match down
and look for the big move.
The dreaded Gym Mats connected
Okay, here’s what you have to
watch out for here. First,
don’t get your toes caught
in the cracks of the mat and
second. YOU CAN STUMBLE VERY
EASILY ON THESE MATS!!
Well, when the mats move during
the fight or fights, they buckle.
That means that natural folds
that are in these mats, which
allows them to be stored away
easily often time comes up
slightly and make a miniture
“tent” on the surface.
Like this (look below)
______ ______ _____/\_______
The spaces are the natural
creases in the mat. Sometimes
during movement of a fight,
the mat comes up like /\
this and it is very easily
to lose your footing.
Right now I bet you are going
over matches in your head
and saying, “You know what,
if I would have known that,
I would have never tried that
move!” Well, these are the
small things that the seasoned
competitors know and pay attention
to that makes all the difference
in the world!! I told you I would
give you the secret stuff.
I’m retired so. I’ll let you know.
I know you are thinking that
all tatamis surfaces are the
same, but let me tell you
this. You have tatamis on
a platform, like at the Olympics
and World Championships, and
then you have tatamis that are on
top of a rubberized, foam or spring
loaded surface, and then you have
tatami on top of concrete!!
Well, needless to say, you
probably already know which surface
you don’t want to fall on or get
your head smashed off the ground
on, so with that knowledge -
govern yourself accordingly.
Now on to the surface. You have
old tatamis and new tatamis. New
tatamis are usually slicker and
a lot more slippery than older
tatamis. Foot sweeps are very
good on new tatamis. On older
tatamis you can play your “game”.
So, with all that being said,
Please take the time to go out
to the tournament venue and
move around on the surface so
that you know what you can and
cannot do and what the strengths
and weaknesses of each surface are.
Oh, here’s another hint.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION HERE!!
Always bring a roll of toilet
paper with you to a tournament.
There’s no worse feeling than
having to use the restroom
and all of the toilet paper
is gone. I used to put an
extra roll in my gym bag or
a box of tissues, which works
I know it seems silly, but
if you’ve ever really “had
to go” and you looked over
at the toilet paper dispenser
and it was empty – then you
know what I’m telling you
is great information.
And if this has never happened
to you – DON’T LET IT HAPPEN!
I’m so serious! Well, until
next week, take it easy.
Next week, we will tackle
Pre- competition mistake
Take care and remember.
You’re only a koka away,
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