Wednesday, November 17, 2010


It's Happened.

I'm coming home. I havn't really been able to earn enough to survive working part-time here, and can't get anymore hours. Even if I was to get more hours it would seriously cut into my Judo time so it's not going to work!

I'v organised my ticket for the 11th Of December so I can get a last surge of hardcore training in and do my last 3 competitions this month so it all works out pretty well. My plan is basicly to get home work & traing my butt off plus Uni and hopefully have enough ready by semester to come back here for round 2 stint.

My last Shiaii went pretty well, it was the Osaka Open Weight & Age and I managed to get 3rd in my Division (Of 50 players) so that was pretty good. The competitor's were of varying quality, some were rather easy and some were gigantic or brilliant players so it was a real luck of the draw situation. My first fight was easy, and my next 4 were bloody difficult against pretty good players so I really enjoyed that, it was a good opportunity to see what was and wasn't working.

Also I scored a awesome trophy and another 40 point's towards my Nidan( I have managed to get 60 in just a month which is lucky) The trophy is pretty epic so it looks like I won until you ask. So don't ask.

Hugo didn't do bad either, he won his first two fights before being eliminated by a devastating Uchi-Mata (Inner-Thigh Throw) for Ippon.
Bad luck as there is no repecharge, but good job getting there!

Tomorrow Ivica will be coming back to prepare for the OJU & will be coming along to watch Hugo & I fight at the Kiwi International Cup in Saiko ( Or something like that) City Dome.

Conveniently I'll be getting back home just a week before my 21st and Christmass is 5 days after that. I won't be having a 21st party though I'm too broke and would rather just spend my first few weeks back getting my plans sorted out for the next year ecetera!

The two competition's after the Kiwi Cup are both Nidan competition's, for the first one it's a pool style so that will be fun and the second is a Batsugun so that can test my cardio I suppose, providing I don't lose my first or second fight haha.

My students are probably going to be a bit gutted I'm leaving, my company certainly is a bit pissed off, fair enough but if I can't afford to eat and travel to work I can't stick around. One of my kids classes gave me a really cute thank you card for teaching them, its all hand drawn, with pokemon and all the other thing's they like.
On the front it says SANQU!! I think this means thank you, these kids are 4-7 years old so don't expect anybetter! The rest of the card is in Japanese, so it isn't looking that great for me as an English teacer (but come on they are 5-7 ..or 10) years old.

There is even a four leaf clover in there!

In New Zealand by training Schedule is probably going to be Monday :UNI Tuesday : Judokwai Wednesday UNI Judo, Thursday:Judokwai (friday and saturday same pattern)

Hopefully I can get to Western a couple of times each week aswell.

So it's pretty important I get working part time or temping or anything as soon as possible so I can afford to travel around and also pay the fees to both clubs.. I don't think it's that expensive though.

Thats about all.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Interested in Training in Japan?

Some news here,

Anyone who happen's to be interested in Training in Japan, specificly Kyoto; please contact Sensei Rick Littlewood for more details,

Aside from that, everything is the same old... busy month coming for November with 4 Shiaii's so looking forward to kicking some ass and getting on the mat for the competitions.

In the last Month or so I have also become a mater chief cooking up curry, fried rice, donburi and other simple dishes most days which makes life about 60% cheaper and gives me something to do.
Ritsumeikan are at the All Japan Collegiate Games this weekend, hopefully we don't draw Tokai first round...should go quite well.

Ivica has popped back to NZ briefly to Win the nationals and fight at the OJU World Cup then I believe he's coming back, so that should be cool - hopefully he does well there.

Work is going allright, its pretty draining work but I get to train before work with the Riot Police and also train at Ritsumeikan 3 days a week plus Daishin Dojo after work in Osaka so getting in about 9 or 10 Judo sessions a week on top of working.

The main development in Kyoto recently is that it's bloody cold, its gone from the insane 40 degree's to around 10 degree's now which is a bit of a change in lifestyle. Mum's just put a package of warm gear in the mail for me which is brilliant. Tanoshimi.
It's going to get to ice cold snow weather in another month so will need some more gears.

It's halloween in a week or so and the Japanese people are going all out to show just how connected to the rest of the world they are, I think they make more of an effort around here than the Americans do. All week my students (4-10 year olds) have been arriving to class in their costumes (usually a witch, pumpkin, vampire or something totally irrelevant like a top hat and tie, or cowboy hat and suit jacket?! wtf lol) it's pretty cute Tuesday evening kindergarten class had a little halloween party and they walked around the room from parent to parent saying trick or treat and getting a bit of candy. I joined in and got some too. Have to teach by example.

Hugo has changed from Ritsumeikan University to training at Kyoto Uni which is Newaza orientated, he seems to be enjoying it so far which is good.
I'm based out of Rits and the Kidotai with a weekly forray to training at Daishin with Matsuura Sensei in Tsuruhashi, its perfect as it's on my way home from work. Might be visiting Doshisha Uni in the evenings soon as its on my way home from work on Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday, but will have to check the times with Matsuura Sensei as I finish pretty late as I start late after morning training.

I have one pair of socks now, dont really know what happend to the rest of them. This house kinda seems to eat clothes.. things just dont come out of the laundry system or oneday arent in your closet. It happens to everyone I'm not sure whats up with that. Just another mystery. That said I have the same problem back home but blamed it on my dog generally.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Oji-San Invasion

As many of you may know, lastweek the NZL Masters Judo team competed representing NZ at the Asian Judo masters games here in Japan.

Not satisfied with their very impressive results (Rick Sensei Gold, Pat Toner Gold, Robert Levy Silver Open weight & Bronze weight division plus another bronze from Khan) they have come to Kyoto for a week of intensive girl watching, sight seeing, shopping and of course Judo.

The guys are staying here at the fightclub house, liking it so far - no one is adverse to showering with a gas heated hose that intermittently is not heated for days on end, sleeping on the floor with a 2 MM thick mattress or holes in the floor. Infact they seem to actually like the place which is great- located 2 minutes from the Karasuma Subway line (a main artery line through Kyoto) 5 Minutes walk from a shopping mall, 3 Dojo's within 15 minutes and a gym also within 15 minutes.

It's been good having the guys here so far, Robert has been a great help in terms of knowledge regarding nutrition, training, circuits, gym work the list goes on. I have to have a notebook handy to get all the info, especially nutritional.

I met the team at Kyoto Station yesterday afternoon and it was straight into it, home to drop off the bags, a hasty tour of the manor and then we were back on the lines heading to Osaka to train with Matsuura Sensei's club Daishin Dojo also known as "Kiwi Club" (Matsuura was first national coach of NZ and the Dojo is Sister club to many Judo Clubs in NZ). The training there was good, lots of randori's I wasn't fighting that great but towards the end was sharpening up.

I had a great training yesterday morning at the Kidotai.. literally my best training session there ever, period. Something must of clicked, I was using a new throw I devised, new gripping and new combo's and it caught them off guard. I managed to stalemate Sano San and throw Machia San a few times both guys normally deal me hiding's so to stalemate one and get another was feeling great.

I just received my final scholarship payment, which is's not neccessarily the end of the road right now though. I have a job interview tomorow for a part time job so depending on the outcome of said interview I will decide what the next move is. If I get the job I will be earning more than I would fulltime in NZ doing only 10 hours a week plus my Judo so I cant see how it could go wrong. If I dont make the cut then its a few more weeks of training here and back home to prepare financially for Uni and continue my training there as intensely as possible.

So either result I'm going to be happy.
I really would like to see my family but if I did get the job it wouldnt be long before I could afford to fly for a visit, month or 2. I'm not sure how long I would stay if I get the job anyway.. It's something I'm going to need to play by ear and work out myself.

Did a circuit this morning at the gym under Robs supervision, it's best to do leading up towards a competition working on explosive power to peak perfectly for the fights. So right now looking at doing it twice a week, and 2 days of fullbody workout working on mass until 83/84 Kilo's then going on to power. Ivica will be working mostly off the circuit soon as he is leading up to the NZ Nationals and then the OJU WORLD CUP in Samoa 2 Weeks after so explosive power, peak performance and conditioning are really essential.

This afternoon after a Protein & Complex Carbs rich lunch it's Ritsumeikan Judo training which is allways body wasting and then Enshin Dojo training a couple of hours later at night. Will probably finish that around 10 and be in bed by 1130 since I have to be up at 730AM for training with Riot Cops Judo Team to start the day off. Though after that my next thing will be my Job interview in the afternoon then training at Daishin Dojo which is nearby so that works out really well.
Josepha from Daishin who has given me the lead at the company has been awesome and is lending me a Blazer Jacket for the interview, plus I have the inside interview tips so should go well.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Times a Changin

So much has happend in the last couple of weeks that its hard to provide an update that makes any sense if I'm just gonna take the easy way out and stick to basics.

The last couple of weeks of this Month has been some real high's and low's for my exile from NZ to Kyoto. One low point was getting rather sick (viral or bacterial infection on my lymph nodes) which meant 5 days with no training, expensive medicine... unfortunately it got worse; I had to have a blood test.

Now what most people don't know is that I'm freaked out by needles, not knitting needles but injection needles - Syringe is the medical jargon I believe (I'm no doctor) while this was a very unpleasant activity for me, my good friend & landlord Aoki San found it quite amusing - especially when the Nurse got the wrong vein and had to go again. Poor little Obasan (Baba for short (old lady)) nurse could see and hear that I was not enjoying this one bit and got nervous and missed. This had the effect of causing further stress on myself, my vision is swimming, im hyper ventalating... why is my blood coming out black? is this bad? why is everybody laughing (including the old men in the waiting room)these things and more were running through my head.

Finally it was over and the big brave boy got a sticky plaster (no lollypops in the land of Samurai!)

I have to say I'm very gratefull to Aoki San for taking time from his busy schedule as Boss of Total Home Architecture Corp to take me to the Doc a couple of times - its not easy to get medical care if your a gaijin alien and harder still if you dont speak Japanese.

So I'm on this great cocktail of drugs that would make any pensioner proud, taking 12 pills a day at different times plus 3 Doctor prescribed vitamin drinks.. so I'm getting better but have been told to avoid Newaza for a week as it could cause my Neck Lymph Nodes too much stress... will have to try and keep my Shiaii this Sunday to standing fighting then, I'll do what I can.

Well as I before mentioned.. the price of Doctor Visits and Medicine was no small blow to my limited wallet; Budget Cuts that would make the Government cringe had to be made. First off, whats all this Lunch business about then - well whatever all that fuss is about it has to stop. Secondly how much are you spending on breakfast? "300 Yen" 'WHAT! make that 100 Yen! 2 slices of toast quick smart Mr Reynolds.' So by following this formulae of budget cutting popularised by TV's 'Money Man' I cut corners or more correctly whole blocks out of my budget. Things have picked up again and resolved themselves back to a nice balance, but I did have a lean week or two. Currently eating nice, large nutritous breakfast's again but I did learn a couple of good tricks that I'm going to keep in effect.

Good things going on this Month would include the 3 Competition's I have happening starting from this Sunday and going through next week including my Shodan Shiaii which is really exiting for me right now. Trainings going completely Ace aswell right now - foccussing on Kumi Kata (tactical grips) to dominate and controll my fights and keeping preasure on my opponents at all time. basicaly keeping them on the back foot physically and mentally from the get go.

I have a very strong lead for a part-time job in a English Teaching company, the pay is great to say the least so this could be the timely miracle I have been hanging out for...fingers and toes crossed. I'v been seeing my (fighting, not fashion)style turn a few corner's recently so I'm hoping to see where that end's up.

Got an unexpected phone call from Bill Vincent from New Zealand a couple of days ago who was hanging out with my old man Greg suprisingly, got to say hi to both of them and got told to take a few days off to recover (which Mum also ordered) was nice to get a call so that was cool.
While I'm at it I should nominate my Aunty Trish for a nobel prize for being such a big help during last months turmoil - without her help I would definatly be back in New Zealand right now not training here at this level.

Also we have Ivica Pavlinic staying here with us now for a bit, which is great; he's enjoying the training and is a real help to have here. It's really good to have new faces here and more people to train, talk and hangout with; which reminds me we have the New Zealand Master's team (which is going to be the strongest yet) coming to stay for a week late this Month. Hopefully they enjoy out Fightclub style accomodation that we have to offer. This building definatly resembles the fight club manpad in more ways than one.

I should have alot of actually interesting news to post next time as opposed to this rather lame rant, so hang in there.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Up & up

Things have considerably improved steadily this month since my last posts high.
Have two competitions this month, both in a week and a half so I'm stoked about that.
Watched my crew from Rits Uni fight at the Kansai Uni games on the weekend, we did pretty well winning through our pool until we got caught against Tenri Uni in some sort of final (unsure if it was final or semi) Tenri took us out by winning all the 5 fights (it was a team fight competition) a couple they won easily but there was a couple we came close to getting them in. Kimura San's Seoi Nage (shoulder throw) came close to taking out his opponent multiple times but just wasnt Quiiiiiiiiiiite there, but bloody close. Another one of our guys (known as Tomo-nage San) dominated his fight by using drop techiniques like Tomo-Nage & other sacrafice throws to get his opponent to the ground where he dominated, getting a few small points by pins and coming very close to getting a good armbar and a choke. Unfortunately he got caught by a sneaky throw towards the end of the fight.

Tenri's a tough tough Uni team, so while the guys where obviously a bit gutted they did a pretty good job, especially considering they didn't put in their best team because of injuries they still put on their best effort. Tenri is really high level for Judo, having a much bigger pool of players and the National Coach of Japan Shinoharra coaching them I believe.

We have been day tripping on Osaka most Mondays recently to train at Daishin Dojo under Matsuura Sensei, who has been kind enough to enter us in the competitions and on Saturday night after the competion invited us over for a true feast of a BBQ, no one could finish what was on the table by a long shot. Lamb chops, Steaks, Chicken, Salad, red wine, champagne, white wine, beer, Sake, fish, sausages, giant sea snails (mmmmm!!!!) the list goes on. It was really good of Matsuura Sensei and His Wife to host us - plus his daughter Seiiko and her Samoan Fiance osefa (sorry I dont have the correct spelling for your name so I'm just winging it.) osefa's pretty keen to come train with us at Rits in the next week or so which will be good fun.

Hugo has spent the last 3 weeks or so off the mat due to a wrist injury when he crashed his bike of all things, haha. But its improving lately and he has just started coming along to do a bit of Uchi- Komi and light randori with kiddies and scrawny teenagers :P

Training has been on form for me lately, enjoying it immensley and everthing is back to normal times so I'm keeping occupied and got good focuss. Kasuga Sensei gave me a awesome bag full of Japanese cookie, including some so hard you will feel the pain at the back of your head when you bite them. Not to be attempted without a bit of tea to soften them.

Iv had a big swollen lump of fluid on my shin lately which really sucks! Its not stopping my training at all but when I go on my runs I can feel it bobbing around! gross!!! Also when someone happens to kick be in that spot it hurts like hell. Of course with my infinite ingenuity I have taken to rolling up a sock and taping if ontop of the lump for some protection (I tape it very heavily so you can't see the sock at all, before anyone says otherwise) and now I have a similar lump on my armpit, albeit much smaller (totally unrelated) might have a flu coming on according to google. Hope not.

It's officially Autumn now, so of course Autumn fashion is in! Big coats, leggings for ladies, scarves, long sleeves. Despite the fact that the temperature is still usually above 34 degrees, never mind that.

Decided to get some more protein powder since I'm weight training through a programme right now for more relative strength for Judo and explosiveness. I'm not actually sure if its the right stuff but it says Judo on the front and the lady at the shop said its recovery, and it was relatively cheap, ichiban Yasui.

We have Ivica Pavlinic from NZ arriving tomorow evening to stay and train here alongside us, should be good fun to have another face around the place.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lame Month


Well, finally doing another update haha.

This month since getting back from training camp has been relatively stink, training hard but had a mishap a few days ago which has caused a fair deal of stress for me and my family, fortunately things look like its going to work out - thank god I decided to get travel insurance at the last moment.

The Kidotai arent training too hard right now as this friday they have the All Japan Police Games so are preparing for that via light light light training, which is understandable. Ritsumeikan have been out of Kyoto but on thursday are back to normal schedule which is good news. so last week and this week have been only about 8 judo sessions for the week which isnt really what I'm after but enough not to complain, hopefully can push at 10-12 next week if everythings back on schedule again.

Went to Daishin Dojo in Osaka to see Matsuura Sensei and enter into the Shodan Shiaii offially, which is exiting so I have that very soon, plus another 3 competitions over the next couple of months so thats at least something to be a bit more positive about. There was a big photo on the wall at Daishin Dojo of my uncle Chris and Aunty Loretta with Matsuura Sensei and his wife when they signed the Osaka Kiwi Club Judo Exchange programme up - so that was really unexpected but quite cool, funnily I dont think Chris is aware that I'm over here at all. Also Matsuura Sensei knows of my father as he had a name board made up through Pops.

Little bit hopesick this last couple of weeks but thats just because a few things have gone wrong, I'm sure when things pick up for me I'll be sweet as again.
Mum went along to Auckland Uni Open day on my behalf to investigate the bachelor in physical education - Looking forward to starting that up eventually, Uni students get awesome holidays which I can use to train over here for 3-4 month stints plus short days so I can try and get double trainings in back in Auckland plus time in gym.

Actually on a lighter note so I dont come accross too negative and mopey; Some of my techniques are coming along alot better now thanks to a few pointers Kasuga Sensei gave me at training camp so getting better execution, and my Newaza has bounced up a notch with some new tricks up my sleeze but mostly a more solid general game and clean basics.

: )

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Training Camp

Havn't done an update in a good halth month as Iv been off the radar.

I went to a training Camp with the guys from Ritsumeikan Uni Judo team on Kyushu Island in the Kagoshima prefecture, at Kanoya University - which is incidentaly the National University for sport and Fitness.

So needless to say they have awesome facilities and take Judo very seriously.
Overall I would say the camp was like being a Spartan for a week, we lived in a guest dorm building for visiting athlete teams, in tatami bunk rooms.

The average day would follow this formulae;

#Wake up 0600- Go for run
#0700 - Eat Breakfast together in the cafeteria (Usually a bowl of rice, a salad, and a suprise)
#0730 - Rush back to the Dorms: spend the next hour chugging down water, taping fingers, organising your gear, quick nap
#0830 - Leave for Judo: We walk to the Judo Dojo on Campuss which is a huge building surrounded by a boat easily 5 stories in height, designed to look like an imposing Samurai Castle. Once there, change into Judo Gi in our own Dojo set aside for us to warm up in each day (Huge area)
#0900 - Begin first training: First we do 5 minutes jog around the mat (which is 4 Competition Mats, in Olympic colours - Blue and Yellow) Then go through the warmups; generally being basic stretches, some situps and dips.
Now the training begins in earnest, we pair off and do Uchikomi Drills (Perfmorming a technique to the point of throwing over and over again) we would literally go through 100's of these. It's excellent. Now ...lets all throw each other as many times as possible in 10 minutes in sets of 10 each - By the way no Minor techniques today only big painfull throws (ouch).

----2 minutes break to cover up any new cuts, and skull some water ( remember its 39 degrees here)----

No messing around, straight into Randori (sparring) now, Standup only. Either 20 Rounds in which everyone has to work their ass off with no rest. Or, divide in 3 groups, 2 groups allways on and 1 off so we go through 30 but do 20 having 1 off every 3. This is better for techinique wheras 20 in a row is good for being a hardass and becoming a beast.

A while later its over, finally.

Not actually, now power uchikomi in groups of 3 - try your hardest to throw someone while someone else stands behind them trying to keep them up. 8 sets of 10 each generally.

Now into pairs, more Uchikomi - this time speed Uchikomi - Major Throws only. Do as many as you can with all your power and speed in 30 seconds, 2 seconds break to change grip then again, and again. 2 groups of 6 sets each. This one is awesome.

Now we go through a circuit, 2 times each. Including things like dips, clapping pushups, situps, chinups on gis, jumping, squats and a whole range of other body killers.
Sometimes to be cruel we just do 120 Dip Pushups ( no shit i counted) 150 situps, then squat jumps accross the whole dojo and back twice - I couldnt walk up or down stairs without SERIOUS pain for days, it still hurts)

Now lets go to the ropes and climb to the top and back down twice each

Ok good work everyone - Bow off. Class over

Is now about 1200 so we all get changed.

#1200 - Waddle over to the Cafeteria and have lunch together, identical to breakfast really maybe a small change in one dish.

#1230 - Get home, Put Judogi in washing machine, organise general laundry, have a protein shake, drink no less than 2 litres of Water, Jump into bed and sleep a bit - next training is at 4 so I can have about 2 hours comfortable real sleep. I set an alarm for each hour though and drink a bit of water though.

#1530 - Head over to training number 2 - We all grab a fresh gi, retape about mangled fingers and torn muscles etc and head over, this time at a slower pace so we leave a bit earlier than in the morning haha.
This training is 100% Newaza (Groundfighting Orientated) the guys here are known around the way for being exceptional groundfighters, verrry technical and well drilled. Warmups are the usual - Dips, situps etc. Then lay on our stomachs and drag ourselves using our arms accross the mats, then go backwards on your back using your feet, then sideways bouncing like a salmon ( I hate this the most ) the Eby movement and a range of others.

Now we do Newaza Drills - Your partner (Uke) starts with a looping hold on your arm and you on your side- he tries to pin you, strangle you or armbar you, and you try to escape and defend. He has about 30 seconds. We do this about 10 times with different partners each time. Once I got lucky an reversed the guy into a pin from a defending, which was a cocky move. I was feeling cool until I got owned by him in 10 seconds next time haha.

----2 minutes break for water and tissues to wipe away tears---

Back on the mat, now 30 minutes of Randori Newaza; It goes until someone submits, then you change partners immediatly. At first each fight lasted 1 or 2 minutes at most for me before i tapped, towards the end of the camp I adjusted my style and wised up a bit - on the last training I had one fight go for 30 minutes with no clear winner - we just kept going back and fowards. Countering and reversing each others positions.

-----2 Minutes break------

another 30 Minutes or maybe 1 hour of Newaza Randori, same style.
Afterwhich we go through more drills, and the Sensei or guest will show us something - main focuss of the camp was Shimei Waza (Strangles and chokes) Usually in the bridge between in standing and ground (for example opponent fails a throw and is on his stomach - now strangle him) Simple in theory and well drilled in NZ - but I really learn alot of new things and ways to go about it.

#1900 - Finished training - Now go to dinner together, we eat dinner and watch Baseball usually, then we head to home and organise laundry - organise for the next day and drink alot of water. Generally I'm in bed at 2130 but dont sleep til 2300 as some people like to play around and bully the Kohai (juniors) for a few hours. Understandable.

--End of day ---- Repeat X6

We got the Camp by Ferry from Osaka Port (Ichiban Yasui - Cheapest way) Ferry took 17 hours but has a games room, beds and restaurant so wasnt all bad. One way the guys entertain themselves is bullying the Kohai, whats accepted as normal here would result in legal actions in NZ.

Its Ok to punch your Junior in the face, Kick him in the Head, Slap him, nipple gripple and twist(This seemed to be popular) get him to make your bed, carry your heavy judo bags to training and back after, walk 3 KM at 2300 to the nearest Shop to pick up some groceries for you, Put deep heat/tiger balm on him in painfull areas, have him wash your back in the Public Baths (no joke) and a whole range of other things.

As I'm here to learn the best of japanese Judo and bring it to NZ, I hope to bring the best of this - aside from obvious parts back to NZ.

So coming soon - Diary Entry #32: A day in the life of a Japanese Judo Kohai.