This week, I had the rare opportunity to train with a former world competitor Judoka (please see correction below). And, she was my height! I learned so much, not that my teachers aren’t great, it’s just that she was able to explain things from a short woman’s perspective. (See Georgette’s Post) Her name is Suzanna Gardner and you can find her at CrossFit Elevate on Facebook or their website http://crossfitelevate.com/ .
Let me start with my non-existent Judo skills. I did train in standup for several years, and I did learn a few throws and take-downs. But, it was not Judo. I have trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for two years, but it is not Judo. My instructor encourages me to attend the Judo classes, because honestly my take-downs and throws suck. There is no other word that describes how bad I am at this art form. I always have this sense that I’m missing something. I ask questions and try to understand. I’m talking about asking questions and discussing things in class to a point where the other students want to choke me out just to get me to shut up. I know I’m getting the Judo foot work mixed up with the Karate foot work. *It’s very similar* I also get my left and right sides mixed up. *I’m ambidextrous* For example, when I’m doing a technique, my arms will be doing it left-handed and my feet will try to be doing the same technique right-footed or vice a versa. It’s a very frustrating problem to have in an art that requires such precision. Another problem I have is the size disparity. All of my Judo training partners are huge compared to me.
The visiting Judoka seemed to magically make all those problems go away. For one, she was my size. I know with good technique, size doesn’t matter so much. However, when you are learning, having a partner your size makes it easier to grasp the basic concepts of the moves. About technique, she trained for fifteen years, so she could easily spot the little things that I was doing wrong and correct them. On huge size disparities, she was able to give little tips here and there to capitalize on being the smaller fighter. Her attitude was amazing too. She was like this little bundle of radiant sunshine, mixed with a fierce love for the art. The combination makes her a great teacher. Her passion for the sport and her desire to share her knowledge definitely had a positive effect on me as a student. I was honored that she would take time out of her busy schedule to help me.
*Correction from Suzanna – p.s I am not a world Champ….(I wish I was) I’ve comp at the world several times and was top 10. Bronze medal on Asia Championship in China/Asian Games in Thailand got 4th… hope to see you soon*
– Still pretty impressive in my book – Thanks Suzanna, you are truly an inspiration!