We start nice and early at 7:00am on the track. The judo players split in to 2 groups. 1 group goes for a run across the campus mainly sprints and this lasts for about 30 minutes, the other group stay at the track and again do sprints of around 60 meters but they also do some co-ordination and agility exercises mixed in. The intensity is moderate and some of the drills are quite funny. The coaches also join in the running but do their own thing. This is the big thing about the way the judo players train, its all student led with the coaches just being there, they hardly say a word they just watch. They never have to really get involved as everyone knows what their role is and what’s involved.
We finish on the track at about 8.00am then its back to the dorms for a shower and to relax ready for the afternoon 4:45pm randori. We pop into Tsukuba town for some shopping and find the gift shop on campus to buy some mementos and change some money.
There were no head coaches (Mr Okada or Mr Masuchi) at the randori session so it was headed up by Mr Kanamaru, world champion from Birmingham 1999 (remember the classic final with Vitali Makarov). The attitude of the players was a bit more light hearted and they were having a tiny bit of fun, however the randori remained as intense as it always is. Again the menu is put on the board and they just get on with it. We had to spend about 20 minutes strapping Seb’s little toe up so he could randori, he has a big bruise now on his foot from where he caught his little toe in the gap in the mat, he has managed to soldier on and did very well in randori last night. Max nearly got arm locked by the U78 Kg girl in newaza, it was very funny to see him under pressure but he managed to pull his arm out at just the right moment.
Tomorrow we are in the dojo at 9.00am for our own technical session, we have to understand how to overcome the Japanese lapel grip as this seems to be killing all of our players, once they have sleeve / collar they dominate and chose their throw, if you can stop the lapel grip their judo changes and they have to try something different.