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    Returning Judoka

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    Quest50

    Posts : 13
    Join date : 2014-05-11

    Returning Judoka

    Post by Quest50 on Mon May 12, 2014 12:00 am

    Hello to all, This is my first post here.

    I am considering returning to Judo after an absence of nearly 30 years, am I crazy? I was an active competitor from a very young age right through my teens competing at National junior level, I have maintained a very high level of fitness over the years having been involved in cycling also at a high level.

    I would never give up Cycling but recently my daughter has started at my old club (Pinewood) which made me think of it & some of the guys I did judo with all those years ago are still there & encouraging me to come back. I would really love to give it a go without taking it too seriously.

    Although I have been away for so long the names of all the techniques I learnt & how to perform them are still firmly in my mind even if the muscle memory isn't, I don't think it would take long to get up to speed

    A question.... Although I have absolutely no worries about starting as a white belt again, if I was to come back I would wonder if It could be possible to achieve a Dan grade, & how long it would take?
    Is it possible to perhaps re grade at the level I was when I left (a Blue belt)? I obviously havn't got my old licence, & it wouldn't really worry me if I had to start from scratch its just a question in my head.
     Smile

    Anatol

    Posts : 186
    Join date : 2014-01-20

    Re: Returning Judoka

    Post by Anatol on Mon May 12, 2014 1:29 am

    Hi Quest50

    You can ceep your belt - ranking is not really important. If you have kept good fitness for shure thats a big advantage. If train twice a week constantly and you have talent and coordination, it will take about four years to go to black belt. Much more important - learn from the inner principle "good use of body and mind/spirit" the maximum efficiancy, which helps you in life general to go to (go back to) simplicity, naturalness und an open mind.

    Most important at the beginning: take care of your joints. They are not the same as in your teens. So go slowly, be constant, be gentle, go for learning, friends und Judo and not for pride, goal, success.

    I started a Judo comback four years ago after a break of 30 years and have lot of fun with friends on and off the tatami.


    .

    Quest50

    Posts : 13
    Join date : 2014-05-11

    Re: Returning Judoka

    Post by Quest50 on Mon May 12, 2014 4:02 am

    Anatol wrote:Hi Quest50

    You can ceep your belt - ranking is not really important. If you have kept good fitness for shure thats a big advantage. If train twice a week constantly and you have talent and coordination, it will take about four years to go to black belt. Much more important - learn from the inner principle "good use of body and mind/spirit" the maximum efficiancy, which helps you in life general to go to (go back to) simplicity, naturalness und an open mind.

    Most important at the beginning: take care of your joints. They are not the same as in your teens. So go slowly, be constant, be gentle, go for learning, friends und Judo and not for pride, goal, success.

    I started a Judo comback four years ago after a break of 30 years and have lot of fun with friends on and off the tatami.


    .

    Thank you Anatol, I really appreciate your post, I was taught judo all those years ago by, IMO, the best Sensei in Europe, the late, Mr Don Werner, Google it. I think you have hit the nail right on the head when you talk about going back for friends, judo & learning. this is exactly what I would like to gain from returning

    Raj Venugopal

    Posts : 120
    Join date : 2013-01-21

    Re: Returning Judoka

    Post by Raj Venugopal on Tue May 13, 2014 12:58 am

    I started at 37, now almost 42. Like you I'm fit and had experience in other combat sport. I can compete in seniors and masters but find watching the joints and shelving the ego when doing randori with the young guys is important. You will work twice as hard for half as much, but being an adult learner makes what you learn more lasting. I train regularly and do extra conditioning to stay competitive, i.e. running and weights. I was also motivated by having 3 kids in. I love fighting with my older two, and learning so I can help them is a strong factor in my involvement. If you are 30 years our and competed til your teens you're likely nearing 50, so you'll likely have something your younger club mates won't have... money to buy beers after shiai, your own bed at shiai, wash your gi after evey practice and buy a gi that fits properly! ; )

    GregW

    Posts : 103
    Join date : 2013-01-22
    Location : Norman, Oklahoma

    Re: Returning Judoka

    Post by GregW on Tue May 13, 2014 3:17 am

    I did much the same.  I was in judo as a teen.  I came back at the age of 51.  Start slow and be careful to avoid injury.  In the United States, the USJA and USJF don't keep records for mudansha ranks, only yudansha.  (I don't know if USA Judo does or not.)  However, once you start back, your instructor can validate you and submit you for the rank you once held.  I was an ikkyu when I stopped practicing.  My progress coming back was delayed by an injury, but about a year in, I tested and validated my rank.  From there, it only took me a couple of years to reach shodan.  I hope to test for nidan next year.  If I can stay healthy and can continue to meet my goals, I figure I should be able to make yondan by the time I'm 66.  That's about as far as I can probably hope to aspire, unless I live long enough to be doing judo into my 80s!

    Oh yes, I should also wish you a hearty "Welcome back!"
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    Stacey

    Posts : 553
    Join date : 2013-01-17
    Location : your worst nightmares

    Re: Returning Judoka

    Post by Stacey on Tue May 13, 2014 6:31 am

    Talk with the sensei. You probably can start at your old rank, though there can be a junior/senior translation issue.

    Are you male or female? As a male, if you were at your maximum height/width (shoulders, etc) when you quit, you'll find the translation pretty easy. The big problem will be not giving in to the habits of youthful competition. You don't have to keep up with the kids, you don't have to kill yourself to get one more set in, you don't have to compete with anybody except yourself. Just as you probably have some rusty technique to brush off, you also have the training habits of youth that you don't want to dust off, or you may not be able to function at work the next day.

    If you're female, then the birth of a child/children results in a change in your pelvic girdle. You'll find that your hips work a bit differently, especially as you turn in, and your COG is a bit lower (a great advantage). You have the mindset stuff mentioned above, too, but chances are you quit at your current height and with no other major changes other than your pelvic girdle.

    Also, if you've not been through any major injuries and are relatively healthy, then your transition will be a lot smoother. Still, remember that judo is a lot different than cycling - make sure you have an easy day or two at work after your first few workouts as you are going to be stiff and sort. Keep those NSAIDs handy, and take prophylactic doses before bed after a workout. Be nice to your body and it will be nice to you.

    If you've had major injuries in cycling or outside of judo, you're going to have to work with your body to figure out how to translate techniques into what your body can and cannot do. You'll also need to gain judo confidence in the relevant limbs/back/area.

    All in all though, there's no reason to stay out of judo if you get cleared by your doctor first (and that should be axiomatic if you're both fit and healthy). Joining for the exercise, for the companionship, and because it's something you can do with your daughter - good stuff. Further, it's much more fun to go to judo when it sucks outside than it is to bike, or stick your bike in a trainer and get your workout in.

    Raj Venugopal

    Posts : 120
    Join date : 2013-01-21

    Re: Returning Judoka

    Post by Raj Venugopal on Tue May 13, 2014 11:09 pm

    Stacey... plus... you get to choke people.

    Quest50

    Posts : 13
    Join date : 2014-05-11

    Re: Returning Judoka

    Post by Quest50 on Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:03 pm

    Just as a follow up to this post (I know its been a while) Last week I stepped onto the tatami for the very first time in 34 years, Very Happy  As Iv said I was taught well all those years ago & it all came flooding back! I had to be reminded of a few techniques, but there still there in my head if not my body just yet. Although a bit apprehensive at first, I did feel a sense of emotion as I realised that right ware I was standing doing uchikomi & randori was the very same spot in the dojo pretty much to the inch I had done the some 34 years earlier, I was standing in the ghost of myself a strange feeling indeed!. Tonight I return for my second session & i'm really looking forward to it.
    At 50 years old I don't think I want to compete again but if I were to return long term, a goal for me would be to gain my Dan grade I think that would give me focus to continue & would give me a great sense of personal satisfaction. Would you agree? Any further comments appreciated, thanks
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    Davaro

    Posts : 224
    Join date : 2013-01-04
    Location : South Africa

    Re: Returning Judoka

    Post by Davaro on Thu Jun 05, 2014 1:11 am

    Depending on where you are, you may need to gain shiai points in order to grade shodan.

    However, don't let that stop you if it is the case.

    Masters Judo is great fun and I have found that in the advanced ages divisions, the guys are perhaps not as serious and would mostly not try to hurt or bury you.

    Mostly, just enjoy the comeback and try not to go too hard too soon.


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    Raj Venugopal

    Posts : 120
    Join date : 2013-01-21

    Re: Returning Judoka

    Post by Raj Venugopal on Thu Jun 05, 2014 1:44 am

    When I was 8 or 9 my parents asked if I wanted to join judo. I remember telling them I wanted to do TKD, and judo was for wimps. They wouldn't let me do TKD, so I did another manly sport... competitive swimming. Over five years ago, at the tender age of 37 I stepped on the same judo mats and into the same club location for the first time, with the same instructor, wishing like hell I could go back to that time and give judo a shot. I'd be some 34 years into it now (if I stuck with it). You can't relive the past, but the future is wide open. As I posted elsewhere, I just earned my shodan, still compete in senior mens -73 as well as masters, and am enjoying it tremendously. And so are my kids, which means more to me than anything. Good luck with your judo. It is a tremendous thing to go back and pick up what you left off, and in an older body. I guess as long as the spirit is resilient, anything is possible.

    GregW

    Posts : 103
    Join date : 2013-01-22
    Location : Norman, Oklahoma

    Re: Returning Judoka

    Post by GregW on Thu Jun 05, 2014 8:41 am

    Stacey's comments brought to mind some of the transitions I had to go through when I came back. When I did judo as a teenager, I was the same height as I am now (6'1") but I only weighed about 115-120 lbs. I was really skinny and I had hardly any upper body strength. My strategy in shiai was always to stick to tachi waza, because I knew I was "dead meat" if I ended up on the ground. I developed a really good drop-knee morote seoinage back in the day and that was my tokui waza.

    Coming back at age 51, I weighed 240--fat and slow. I burned off about 30 pounds in the two months. Then I had a pretty serious judo injury--torn ACL and a cracked tibia plateau. That sidelined me for six months, but I kept lifting weights, working out everything but my leg. When I came back from the injury, I was under 200 pounds. It took a few months for my leg to strengthen and my timing to come back. So be careful of injuries when you resume judo as an older person!

    I've had to change my judo game significantly from my teen years to present. I'm much stronger, so I have a better ground game. Because I'm not as fast, I've worked on timing of my ashi waza. I've got a really good harai tsurikomi ashi, which I could never do when I was younger. Almost any ashi waza works really well for me now. It's interesting to see how my judo evolved and became more effective, even though I couldn't fight the same way as when I was younger.

    Quest50

    Posts : 13
    Join date : 2014-05-11

    Re: Returning Judoka

    Post by Quest50 on Sat Jun 07, 2014 9:27 pm

    Hi & again thanks for your comments, I completely agree with Stacy & Greg. I never really appreciated it at the time but when I was a junior I really was part of an elite group of junior judoka our club was & still is one the most sucsesfull clubs in the UK in junior judo, we used to win everything in compitition & most of us made the national junior team at one time or another. We were good, but it was just normal & our ability was allways played down in the club.
    We were fit those training sessions were hard 3-4 hours Sunday morning, 3 hours Tuesday, 2 hours Thursday. National training every month! & of course the tourniments. Technique wasnt so important in tachi-waza, upper body strength wasnt there at that age, the plan was get them on the ground & kill them from there our newaza was really brillient that was junior stuff, & a trademark of our club.
    I have realised now that the turnovers we learnt then & moving to a hold down from a guarded position is getting me into trouble now due to armlocks/strangles & my newaza isnt very good in comparison. The proper execution of the techniques in tachi-waza seem to have become much more important. Of course my joints are definately not the same these days I have to adapt my judo accordingly. I am a bit rusty, but its still there. Im enjoying the learning & getting to know a great bunch of guys & girls im training with. I have one advantage I am very very fit for my age even the young guys are no whare near me there. The training in terms ov CV is easy compared with my main sport, cycling. Yes my old training habits are still there. though I cant train 3 times a week, I just dont have time. I will whare my old grade belt as agreed with the new Sensai next time, Im proud of that. & I do want to work towards Shodan, but i think one of the proudest moments will be when I whare my club badge for the first time in 34 years, It hasnt changed in design. Then it meant more to us than any Union Flag, Area or county squad badge sewn onto our Gi!

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