28th October 2019

Week commencing 28.10.19

Remarkably, the Rugby World Cup finally ended today. Six weeks of almost military logistics and several years of preparation. It was almost thwarted by a natural disaster which would have closed down the UK completely, let alone seen it continue to host an international sporting event. Imagine if we had been hosting it, like we did four years ago, and we had endured a typhoon, in which nearly a hundred people died, many became ‘lost’ and thousands had their homes destroyed. How would we have coped? would we have continued with the competition? Crikey, look what happens when it snows here!

Anyway, it continued despite the typhoon and we almost had a northern hemisphere final,of two neighbouring UK countries! As it was England were given a masterclass in destruction, a strategic battering, a proper duffing up and hanging out to dry. England went into it as favourites, but by the end, the Boks were toying with us. We were almost unrecognisable from the team who last week beat the then favourites, New Zealand. However, thats the beauty of sport, when the unexpected occurs, with big change hingeing upon little twists both physically and psychologically. The Boks sowed a seed of uncertainty amongst our forwards early on and we never really recovered. As someone once said, “Its not the fight, its what you bring to the fight” and South Africa brought an intensity, passion and brutality that simply shocked us into delayed submission.

Shortly afterwards I came training, feeling slightly nonplussed but eager to get in the dojo and ‘give it some’, which is exactly what we did. Sensei Dave decided to focus upon one step sparring, offering a few excellent takedown responses. Specifically, in defending a mae geri, he suggested a step back on right foot from yoi (ready stance), by the defender, with a sweeping forearm block. Then, by jumping and switching feet, and using the arms, the defender uses their right foot sweep the attacker and finish.

Another response was to a side thrust kick, in which the defender uses soto uke to block, stepping back. Then by simply walking forward into front stance past the defender and simply straightening the stance, the take down takes care of itself. Assistance can come from the arms, or by grabbing the thick edge of the gi to put the final touch, before the ground finish. Finally, the old favourite of blocking a reverse roundhouse, thus appearing behind an opponent, then grasping both shoulders and ‘creasing’ the back of the knee to take down and finish. We all seemed to be ‘on point’ today and the focus and delivery allowed one or two of us to let out some frustration built up from witnessing the early morning sporting exertions in Japan. 

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