#13: My first Judo lesson!

Number 13 on my list was to take a martial arts class.

Although I’ve played rugby for 10 years, I’ve always thought that martial arts was of orders of magnitude more aggressive and harder. Part of this image has been constructed by people ‘casually’ mentioning that people have broken necks or even died from Judo competitions (incidentally, this is mostly from people being thrown and breaking their necks – eek). So taking a martial arts class was something that I never thought I would do.

Thankfully, to help encourage me along, one of my rugby friends – Emma – offered to take me along to a Judo class (the other option apparently involved a cage). Emma had ‘played’ judo for a number of years and a fully signed up member of the black-belt club; but she had taken some time off the mat and hadn’t practised for a while. She signed us up to a class taken by one of her former coaches.

We turned up, to what was a room under-the-stairs of Meadowbank Stadium. It was padded on the floor and on the walls.

First thing was to get warmed up. So running around the room to begin. Then we progressed to a lot more rolling and tumbling – starting with doing forward rolls up and down the hall; wheelbarrows; leapfrogs and more rolls. We then moved onto practising a particular type of throw – which I could just about get the first two steps of, but shifting my weight quick enough to get a foot sweep was definitely a challenge.

Then we split into pros and beginners. We learnt about arm locks, throws and a hold with the two other beginners.

Judo was deinitely fun and I want to have more time to be able to do something like this on a regular basis: it gave me a chance to switch off. We’ll see how the best of the year pans out!

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