This year’s National Judo Championships were very exciting.
For the first time ever we had a member of the World Judo Team who is 14 years old, Katelyn Bouyssou. She’s as cute as a button, but ohmigosh, what an ANIMAL on the mat. I’ve never seen a 14 year old more nice and pleasant with the potential to have so much harnessed viciousness. She is an absolute warrior and an impeccable young lady. I really tip my hat off to her parents. They done an exceptional job with her as will as the rest of their tribe. (I say tribe because Serge and his wife have a small football team they are putting together). J
This year the power of Brazilian Jiujitsu was on full display. A young lady by the name of Kim Carpenter from Jason Morris’ Judo Club was on fire at Nationals. She defeated the favorite, Jeanette Rodriguez, in the division and put on a, from what I’m told, “a brazilian jiujitsu for Judo clinic.”
As one of the pioneers, along with David Camarillo, of the entrance of Brazilian Jiujitsu into the North American sport judo marketplace, I can honestly say that I was happy to hear that individuals like her see and are able to illustrate the benefits of cross-training in Brazilian Jiujitsu.
Kim Carpenter, displayed oma platas, reverse triangles, sweeps and some superb movement for a blue belt. It was quite impressive from what I understand. Purple Belt, Taraje Williams-Murray called me and said, “You ain’t gonna believe this. I just saw this woman pull of a sick reverse triangle sweep.” I’m happy that Kim is competing and look forward to watching her in the future. I’m just waiting to join her fan club.
This past weekend was also one the illustrated the resolve of a champion. Travis Stevens, who I quite honestly thinks that breakfast is a bowl tacks and nails with milk poured over top, is one of the toughest and hard-nosed judo players that I’ve ever seen. This past weekend, he fought while being injured. Not hurt….Injured. He fought with an injury that would have sat most people down, but fought through the whole day and didn’t wince with pain or anguish while fighting….he just fought.
He gets my vote for the toughest man at the tournament. He pulled out victories over some of the best judoka that the United States has to offer and did so with being noticeably, not himself. I never want to don anyone with any titles that are too premature, but I can say that this dude has certainly go the “It Factor” to take his judo career to the highest level possible because he does understand one thing….TOUGHNESS IS A REQUIREMENT.
For those that don’t know Taraje competed at the 81kg weight class. He was thinking about retiring and then decided that he should test the waters and compete. I told him don’t do it. Arkadiy told him not to do it and to take a year off. I didn’t know what his angle was and he called me and asked me to help him prepare about 3 or 4 times and my reply was, “I AM NOT COACHING YOU ANYMORE let just be cool.”
Taraje and I have a great relationship, but the coaching dynamic put an enormous amount of strain and positive development on the relationship. It is definitely much easier being friends and mentoring him. I really didn’t know what weight class he was going to fight, but when I did get wind of what he was thinking about, I called Jimmy Pedro as soon as possible and told him, because of my professional relationship with him, I didn’t want any problems. He also asked me, “What is he trying to accomplish?” I answered him like I answered my wife, “I really don’t know.”
I can tell you that after the Olympic Games often times athletes have a hard time defining who they are. I know that I did. For my life I was defined by my athletic achievements and athletic experiences. It took a while for me to understand that, as BB King says, “The Thrill is GONE!” I ran a couple of marathons and half marathons for personal high but nothing is quite like throwing somebody through the mat, feeling someone’s arm pop or hearing someone say, “Uuuumph” after a hard throw. The same can be said about the feeling that your body goes through after running full speed into a middle linebacker. There are paroxysms of emotional orgasms which are abound after such collisions, but when that opiate is no longer available sometimes we have to find another means for alleviating the pain of the missing our relationship with pain. We’ve essentially developed a relationship with pain; sometimes being on the receiving end and others on the giving end, but a relationship nonetheless.
I can understand why Taraje competed. He missed that feeling that you have the following day, that is only afforded to the people who fought multiple matches. That pain in the shoulders, knees and ribs that lets you know that you actually earned the a—whipping that you are wearing.
Taraje wanted to know that he could do things by himself and he wanted to see if he still had the fire for competition. Clearly he does. I spoke with him during day while he was fighting and he was having a regular conversation with me as if he wasn’t even competing. Just laughing and enjoying himself. He joked last night that he may fight 90s for a challenge. I told him, “Wait a minute kemosabe.”
Whatever the case, I have no doubt that whatever he decides to do, he can do.
I was impressed with the way that he fought and how he handled himself. To read more about his day at the 2009 Nationals please visit http://www.taraje.com/?p=509
Taraje and I talked about his Morote Gari attempt against Travis Stevens where he got reversed. The ironic thing about the counter that Travis did is that it is something that we covered on the video. Taraje made a crucial mistake in thinking that he could perform Morote Gari the same way that he did as a 60kg player. What he found out was that, they don’t move quite as easily! LOL J
On the Morote Gari DVD, Taraje and I cover how we perform the technique from a lightweight standpoint and a heavyweight standpoint. Since I didn’t work with Taraje, this is something that we never covered or went over. Even if we did, there’s a possibly that we may have missed it. It is clearly evident though that the lightweight version that he performs, doesn’t work as well against the “big boys”. The lightweight version has to be done the way that he does it because with too much “air time” a lightweight can squirm out and get to their bellies. Heavyweights, due to anthropometric limitations, don’t have this luxury J
At any rate, Morote Gari is a great technique and just the threat of it can provide a whole new level of gamesmanship for any player. If you are interested in the 2 Disc DVD and 2 Disc Audio CD set of Morote Gari please visit http://www.MoroteGari.com
Currently reading “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell and loving it.
With the way that the sport of judo is today it is more important than EVER to be able to play a match independently. However, in the beginning of your career, this just isn’t possible. You need some help. But while you are getting help you still have to prepare yourself for the day where you can fight a match independently, without a coach in the chair.
For this reason it is more important than ever to be able to govern yourself accordingly when you are on the mat without the aid of a coach.
This can only be done with a thorough understanding of the game. Part of this understanding begins with a thorough understanding of the competition. This is why I believe that scouting the competition is one of the most important things that you can do.
Scouting provide you with an opportunity win…a chance to be successful. If you don’t prepare, you cannot expect to win.
Increase your preparation and thus increase your expectations. Get Judo Scouting Reports Today
>>> http://rhadi.com/judo_scouting/ <<<
Dr. Rhadi Ferguson
Rhadi Ferguson, PhD, CSCS
4-Time National Judo Champion
JUST “GOOGLE ME!!”
P.S. Be afraid, be very afraid. The Grind will be back soon.