So I was about 20-30 minutes into a hike here in Fukuoka and having a good conversation with myself when I heard some noise in the woods.
I stopped, looked and listened.
Then below me on the hillside I saw something moving. Was it a squirrel? Was it some sort of muskrat? No, I suddenly saw it and it was a wild boar.
He was pretty small and brown, but there was more noise and then I saw another run along the hillside below me. And then I looked down the trail in the direction I was heading and there was a big ugly one there staring at me.
For a second I felt spooked then I put my hands up in the air. He barked and ran off down the side of the hill.
So what they say works with bears and other wild animals works with wild boars and I didn’t even have to use my judo or jiu-jitsu^^
Perhaps that’s another form of jiu-jitsu.
First time I saw them in person. I’ve seen their marks and spots where they dig up the forest. And I even saw a skull of theirs once.
I see cages sometimes where they try to trap them so they might be a nuisance in Japan.
There’s a picture of one here. I think the big one I saw had tusks.
On Monday I did this competition again. This was the 2nd time. I had a tie and only got a half a point. So now I have 2.5 points.
This was taken from the other day when I did a judo competition at the Fukuoka Budokan. This competition is called “shodan shinsa” and it’s a test where if you get a certain number of wins you can qualify for a black belt.
It’s a bit anxiety producing and if you ever competed before you will know.
This was a draw.
Neither myself or opponent won so I only got a half of a point and was eliminated. If you lose or tie you get eliminated. To lose is zero points. In my first one I won two matches.
I almost got some submissions. An arm lock from reverse triangle in the beginning, but the ref called matte right when I was about to get it.
And another armbar, almost but not that time my technique might have needed an adjustment.
In judo they call matte pretty quick when you are on the ground.
This was a hot summer day from a few months ago. I rode my bike out to Nishijin in west Fukuoka and went to the beach. I like it out there.
I then decided to do some yoga.
Here we go.
Actually my posture doing this position in the thumbnail of the video here is not that good. My hand on the ground should be closer to my foot. Making the video was good for me because I could get some feedback and see how I looked.
This was actually the second time in the same day. Sometimes I do that. But I usually do yoga in the late morning.
I’ve practiced both BJJ and judo. I currently live and train in Fukuoka, Japan, but started in San Francisco, CA.
I made this video out near Meinohama beach. There is an area that I like going to and I rode around on my bike and talked. Later I added some footage of myself practicing judo and BJJ mostly in Japan, but there is some from CCSF.
What judo is mostly
First let’s start with the goal.
Ippon is the goal and that is either a throw where the opponent lands on his back, a pin or a submission.
Kodakan judo was a complete grappling program, but nowadays judo is mostly stand up grappling and throws. The rules to judo have changed over the years to partly suit the needs of television viewers.
Watching ground grappling was boring, but watching someone getting thrown is exciting. So they changed the rules to please the TV viewers – so my former sensei Mitchell Palacio said.
In a judo competition a person can win by ippon which is either a throw where the opponent lands on his back, a pin, or a submission.
If the fight goes to the mat and there is no submission within a certain amount of time they will stand them back up again.
What’s judo practice like?
It depends on the school. At CCSF in San Fran, practice starts with some running and light calisthenics, then forward rolls, ukemi: side and back falls, then maybe the teacher will teach techniques, uchikomi: drilling the throw without throwing, nagekomi: letting your partner throw you and then finally randori.
That was at CCSF.
I have been training at Fukuoka univ. and that’s higher level judo. Some stuff is similar to CCSF, but more intense and I didn’t see anyone teach a throwing technique.
Maybe cause all of them were black belts (except me) and it is assumed that you know all of them.
There practice looks something like this:
Warm up: stretching, falling, rolling, walking, running, walking on your hands, cartwheels, etc.
5 minute intense interval exercises: jumping, running in place, push ups, sit ups, burpees, side steps, mountain climbers, etc. (It gets the blood flowing!)
Uchikomi – drilling the throwing technique without the throw
Nagekomi – letting your partner throw you often 5 times and then switching
Different kinds of randori – free sparring sessions
Something where one person has to fight many people in a row without a break
Newaza – ground sparring where you try to pin or submit your partner
So far out of the 4 classes I have been to there hasn’t been much newaza. One day they practiced some pins from the turtle position and another did newaza sparring.
All of my judo practices have been 2 hours.
The place where I train now is called Sekiryukan and we don’t really do much of a warm up. You can on your own and then we do uchikomi or newaza sparring and then tachiwaza or standing randori.
What jiu-jitsu is mostly
First off you should know that jiu-jitsu or “BJJ” evolved from judo. However, it’s focus is newaza.
The goal of jiu-jitsu is a submission. Unlike judo a pin or throw can’t end the match or win it.
What’s jiu-jitsu practice like?
It depends on the school. Some schools have an intensive workout and others not.
Many have a warm up like this:
Shrimps (sometimes in reverse)
Side shrimp (not that common and difficult)
Back fall with technical stand up
Then the teacher usually teaches some techniques and you get to practice them with a partner.
Then sometimes there is drilling where you start in a certain position try to escape and/or submit your partner.
Sometimes there is a king of the mountain where the winner stays and the loser goes. And others where one person stays regardless of if they win or lose.
Then there is sparring. You are free to spar with your classmates. The times are often 6 minute rounds although I have seen 2 minute rounds at CCSF and at another school when it is busy.
Sensei Palacio at CCSF has a sort of nagekomi version of jiu-jitsu where you let your partner do a few moves and then switch.
I think that is cool. You choose the technique. I haven’t seen this at any other school.
Jiu-jit$u is more profit driven
BJJ is more profit driven. It’s more of a money making scheme. It’s more entrepreneurial.
Judo on the other hand is not. In Japan it’s part of the school system. Many students will choose whether to do kendo or judo.
That’s part of the school system. I know judo and kendo are both part of many school systems and I had friends in Japan that both did kendo and judo in school.
So it’s kind of like wrestling in the USA which is also part of the school system. Not in all schools, but in many.
Here are some examples from here in Fukuoka, Japan where I am currently. I have been to 3 different places inquiring about judo.
Meidoukan. Charges 10,000 Yen ($100) a year plus an additional fee of 1,900 Yen a month I think. You can train 3 days a week.
Sekiryukan. Charges 3,500 Yen a month and you can train 3 days a week.
University of Fukuoka. Now I just walked into this place and it’s quite impressive. It has a huge bright yellow and red mat and so far they haven’t asked me for any money.
So you can see that it’s cheaper.
BJJ on the other hand is entrepreneurial.
I currently pay 10,800 Yen ($100) a month to train at Axis jiu-jitsu.
Tri-Force jiu-jitsu charges the same.
I went to another place called Carpe Diem and the guy said 20,000 Yen a month. And I thought the guy was trying to take advantage of the dumb new foreigner in town…
So I left.
I train at Axis jiu-jitsu now for 2 reasons. One it’s closer to my house and two the sensei invited me to train for free on my first day.
The other 2 schools in Fukuoka wanted me to pay right away.
I guess in the USA I got used to a free first class.
In San Francisco I used to train judo and jiu-jitsu a lot at City College which is almost free or is free now I think.
I also trained at Romelo Melo occasionally which was like $160 a month or $130 when I signed a contract for my first year.
I don’t like contracts though and after 14 months there I went to CCSF to learn some judo and jiu-jitsu.
Caeser Gracie was like $120 for a few months.
Evolve jiu-jitsu was like $130 I think, but I only went there for the free open mats on Friday.
Ralph Gracie was like $180 a month, but I only went to a few open mats in Berkeley and once in downtown SF.
So jiu-jitsu costs more money and it’s more entrepreneurial.
Jiu-jitsu is also more branded like: 10th planet, Gracie, Alliance, etc. In judo there are no brands.
Judo is judo.
Judo is usually more academic and less profit driven
You can probably train judo somewhere for free actually. Well, you might be able to depending on where you are. I did. City College in San Francisco is now free as far as I know. When I started there it was like $80 a semester.
Certainly there are places that will make you pay for judo probably like BJJ, but I haven’t been there. Where I currently train in Fukuoka, Japan costs about $30USD a month. On top of that I have been a guest at a couple of universities and a high school in Japan for free.
I also entered a competition for judo shodan for free.
Competitions in BJJ can cost quite a bit like maybe $100. The only BJJ competitions that I did where at City College and those were pretty cheap like maybe $25 if I remember correctly.
Are the mat’s the same?
Mats will vary from gym to gym, but in my experience I’d say that BJJ mats tend to be softer which may seem ironic. Both the surface of the mat and the cushion part of the mat tend to be softer in BJJ gyms.
And judo mats tend to be more firm, but sometimes have springs in the floor. Judo mats tend to also have rougher surface material on them too. One thing that I have noticed about the really soft mat where I currently train BJJ is that doing stand up techniques like throws and moving around is more difficult cause the floor is spongy like.
Are the gi’s the same?
At first glance it may look as if the gi’s are the same. They are similar, but judo gi’s have a longer skirt – the part of the jacket below the belt.
White is the traditional color and blue is also usually acceptable at least for competition.
Jiu-jitsu gi’s have a shorter skirt and the gi’s tend to have a lot of advertising on them with logos and what not.
In jiu-jitsu there are:
And probably more.
But in judo it’s only white and blue. Logos are not common like in BJJ, but some companies do put smaller logos on their gi’s like “Mizuno”.
And then in Japan the judoka’s often put their name on the back of the jacket.
Also another slight difference is what people wear under their gi’s. In judo most males do not wear anything under their gi, but in jiu-jitsu I would say many males wear t-shirts or rash guards under their gi’s.
What are the belts like?
In BJJ you have five belt colors: white, blue, purple, brown and black. Some schools also place stripes on belts to measure progress through the belts.
The belt colors are similar around the world.
In judo you have some variance of the belt colors depending on the school and country. Where I trained at City College in San Francisco we had: white, green, brown (w/ 3 degrees) and black.
I have also seen students from other academies and countries wearing yellow (which might be a youth belt) and blue belts which might be higher than green belts.
In Japan there’s usually only white and black belts. At the youth level there may be some schools that use brown and green.
There are also certain levels of black belts called degrees in BJJ and dans in judo. In judo a very high level black belt may receive a red belt at 9th or 10th dan, but these high ranks are rare.
How long does it take to get a black belt?
In BJJ most say it takes 10 years, but it really depends. I know brown and purple belts who have been practicing for 10 years. I even met a blue belt who said he had been practicing for 10 years.
If you are extremely gifted and you practice often It can take less time.
In judo it’s generally easier to get a black belt called a shodan. It depends on the school – always and you.
My teacher at CCSF said you can do it in 2. Judo is more academic so it seems like if you just apply yourself every semester and do the tests you can level up. But most took around 5 years there I think.
Here in Japan you have to do a competition called shodan shinsa. You have to win 4 times and do the kata.
Judo is more formal and there are more rules
As mentioned earlier it’s common to bow in judo when stepping on the mat or at the beginning or end of class. Traditionally you either sit on the mat kneeling or cross legged.
If you don’t your teacher might yell at you.
In jiu-jitsu I haven’t been to a school that told me to sit a certain way. It’s just generally more relaxed and less formal.
If you’re belt comes undone then you tie it back up and tuck your gi in. If your belt comes undone in BJJ it doesn’t really matter in fact many people will just take it off. And throw it to the side.
If you try that in judo you will probably get yelled at like I was once.
In judo there are certain ways of bowing and beginning randori, competitions and even uchikomi sometimes. You bow and step in with your left foot first and then your right and then “hajime!” begin.
When you finish you step out with your right foot first and then your left and then bow.
At the end of the class you bow out usually and hands at your side left foot back to your knee, right foot back to your knee while on your toes and then point your toes back and come to seiza – kneeling.
To get up you get off your butt, get on your toes and then step your right foot forward and then left and stand.
Should you bow or handshake?
In jiu-jitsu it’s common to shake hands with your classmates in some dojos and then again when you leave. And in all of the dojos that I have ever rolled in you always slap hands and then fist bump your partner before you spar.
In judo shaking hands is not common.
I remember when I first started judo after about a year of jiu-jitsu. I went to the class and tried shaking my teachers hand and he just kind of looked at me in a cold and indifferent manner and offered me a limp hand.
I don’t think he liked hand shakes.
In judo you bow and it’s called “rei”. You often bow in the beginning of class and at the end and at those times you sometimes kneel and “bow”. Sometimes you bow when you step on and off the mat.
You usually bow when you do randori with your partner too.
What’s the difference between judo newaza and BJJ?
Well, as far as Kodakan judo goes I’ll make some generalizations here based on my experience. Of course a judoka could train Kosen judo which is uncommon and that could affect their style or maybe they also train BJJ or wrestling.
A lot of the judokas are going to go for a pin if you “roll” (BJJ term) with them and when they pin you they might stop because they won in their mind. Their are a lot more pin positions in judo that aren’t commonly used in BJJ.
They tend to be top dominant and don’t play guard.
They might roll over and give you their back which doesn’t happen in BJJ.
They might be faster and more aggressive. Not sure why it seems that way, but maybe because there is a time limit in judo for newaza.
There are also shorter sparring rounds in judo which have been 2-3 minutes and in jiu-jitsu 5-6 minutes. Kosen judo competitions are 6 minutes long.
Kosen judo has a different rule set that allows for more newaza and some of the techniques currently forbidden in Kodokan judo.
It is more akin to old judo.
You can pull your opponent to the ground (kinda like pulling guard in BJJ)
You can do ashi garame which is not allowed in kodakan judo and in some BJJ competitions.
You can’t do any leg submissions.
You can win by ippon: pin, submission, or clean throw.
This test for judo is called “shodan” shinsa. Shodan is the first level of the black belt in judo. I did this test in Fukuoka, Japan yesterday.
In America and at least where I started judo at CCSF there is a different ranking system for belts.
And brown belts have 3 degrees. And then of course black belts have varying degrees going upwards of maybe 9 or so degrees.
But in Japan there is only:
There are no colored belts between white and black.
To get a black belt or even the next level of black belt you have to do a test. And this test varies for adults and children. For adults you have to compete and fight against others who are also competing for a black belt.
It’s a single elimination competition which means if you lose once you’re out. And you have to accumulate enough points and your first time that is 4.5 points which means you have to win like 4 or 5 times in a row.
If you don’t you can try again at the next competition.
I get a lot anxiety and anticipation and all the fears like: getting hurt, this isn’t that important, why should I do this, I am going to lose, I’m not good enough – all those fears that other people get.
But amongst all those negative thoughts and feelings – actually most of the time it’s a feeling – kind of like public speaking or a performance if you have ever done that.
But I try to inject into my mind some positive thoughts too like:
“You’ll probably win or learn something” which was true.
But when the fight starts the feelings are gone and you are in the moment.
I did win two and I did learn something about the rules and about how I can work on my tani otoshi counter.
Getting a black belt isn’t the ultimate goal. The goal is to learn and have fun doing so. Although I am not sure it’s always fun, but 99% of the time it makes me feel better.
Like the competition it would have been easier to just say no I don’t need to do this because I have done that before with jiu-jitsu competitions, but I knew that if I did it I would feel better.
It’s just about pushing through those fears and discomfort.
I am also happy that I got a couple of throws because I am better on the ground and have about 4 times the amount of experience and hours doing BJJ than I do judo tachi waza (throws).
There is another competition like this in November and I will probably do it because I started it so now I feel like I have to finish it.
Occasionally some people will win 4 or 5 matches in a row and get the black belt, but my friends tell me more often than not it can take 2-3 times.
I know one that said it took 7 times as a teen, another 4 times and another who actually won 6 in a row on his first time for shodan, but then said for yon dan (4th degree) it took him 3 or 4 times.
Judo is actually called “the gentle way”
Yep, but it doesn’t look or feel gentle most the time. But what is meant by that I think is finding the opening for a move or submission or where the opponent is off balance for a throw. Like in the pic above in the thumbnail to this video.
I threw that guy with an osoto gari.
He was stronger, probably weighed more, more aggressive and a bit spastic, but I found the path of the least resistance and threw him there and that’s judo – finding and seeing the openings and then capitalizing on them.
Lucky me. In a previous post I got to see a kosen judo competitiion here in Fukuoka, Japan. This is a rare style of judo that emphasizes newaza (ground techniques) so it’s similar to BJJ or is it that BJJ was inspired from kosen judo?
Here’s a picture from then.
You can see me above in the back right and to my left is Tsukamoto-san and second in the back left is Amamiya-san. Those two I train with often at Sekiryukan in Hakata. They are 3rd and 4th degree black belts.
Last Saturday I went with a couple of my dojo members from Sekiryukan to Kyushu university to practice Kosen judo from about 9:30 to 12:30.
Here are a few clips from the lesson.
And then after I went to a beach in Meinohama, Fukuoka. I went for a swim and it was nice. I also saw a lot of feral cats.
*Update. I originally wrote this a few months ago. I am happy to say I don’t live in a sharehouse anymore.
I hate sharehouses. It’s 4:30 and I can’t sleep. Starting around sometime around maybe 2am until after 3am I hear the manager banging shit around and making noise.
First I’ll tell you the good.
It’s in a good location – Otemon. It’s near Ohori park and in between that subway station and Akasaka.
Compared to another sharehouse I stayed in it’s in better condition. This is not a Japanese house it’s in a small cement apartment building, but the interior walls aren’t cement.
Everyone staying in this sharehouse at this time is either Taiwanese or Chinese. Most everyone I met staying here was o.k except for one annoying guy who always cooked onions and slammed his door.
Although I wonder why everyone here is Taiwanese or Chinese.
Oh yeah, there are 2 apartments in this building for the sharehouses. I live in one, with another Taiwanese girl and Taiwanese guy and then another person came later.
Now I am going to give this place some criticism.
I probably wouldn’t have had the “manager” – hehe (I hate managers by their very nature), not complained about water on the floor and later leaving the trash can lid open.
Noise (floor noise)
A NO SEX rule
You have to pay for parties
A little pricey considering
There’s a business in it
Now I am only staying here because I didn’t really have another option without a permanent visa.
I don’t really like to complain and this is, but I think they should change some things.
They do go out and smoke on the porch so they say, but sometimes I think they smoke in their room – the manager and the owner, but they leave the doors open and the smoke comes in the apartment.
And I hate cigarette smoke. It’s not all the time, but still cigarette smoke is annoying.
It’s not noisy all the time, but the floor makes noise and the walls are cheap thin wooden walls and the sound travels through them. The room I stayed in 2F room 103 which was the smallest is right next to the entrance and kitchen and the room where the landlord operates their business.
103 sucks because of the noise, no air con, no screens, and it’s not worth 50,000.
A “no sex” rule
This is the stupidest rule yet. And I knew it ahead of time. Like WTF?! Why do you have this rule in place? The manager said to “go to a hotel.”
Dude, I am paying you money to stay here and this is my home now and my room and it’s not your business what I do in my room.
Maybe if I was being noisy having sex in the room it would matter and I could understand if someone didn’t like it.
Maybe it’s a cultural thing like he said, but I lived in China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan and this is the first time I heard about a “no sex” rule in any hostel, hotel or anything like that.
You have to pay to party
They have parties sometimes on the 5F sharehouse apartment for new guests and whatever. But he told me I didn’t have to pay since I was a new guest but next time I would.
That was weird and I said that.
I kind of see it like a “managerial” tactic to manipulate and that is why I hate managers. Like other people will pay to attend your party but if you don’t pay to attend someone else’s party then you feel kind of quilty or the other people might think you are not cool or something.
Like I understand if you have a party to bring something maybe like I brought a little wine and sake when I had my party.
But just seems like the dude is trying to make money off of you too.
First off I don’t like managers or being managed.
I am an independent person and if you meddle with my affairs try to tell me what to do or control me then chances are that I won’t like you.
He seemed kind of alright and positive at first. But I was just waiting for some shit to come up. Like I said the money for the party thing, the no sex rule (is that his rule or the landlord’s).
He speaks Japanese, Chinese and English so that’s cool.
Come towards the end of my month here he was like do you want to stay and like someone else wants the room too – which I doubt since there is another free room.
He told me when I moved in that he would make the price for the room cheaper then when I brought that up he had nothing to say about it except that the price of the room was going to go up when they get an air conditioner.
So I guess that was a little lie.
The dudes young like 28 so yeah.
He’s a little hyper about stuff too like l forget my clothes in the shower room sometimes cause there is no door to the shower room really and just a high shelf to put your stuff on.
And then I got some water on the floor (not that much) and he came and asked me to clean it up. That is what actually annoyed me and prompted me to write this.
There is a rule that everyone takes turns cleaning the common areas too which is understandable. And when it was my turn I know I did a way more thorough job than those before me because I cleaned a lot of mold of the walls in the bathroom, cleaned the toilet, vacuumed, and basically did a lot more cleaning than others did.
It also seems slightly weird to me that everyone else that lives here including the manager is Taiwanese or Chinese. That seems slightly selective.
It’s not that cheap
I pay 50,000 for that little room 103. Like I said the location is good, but the room is small and it’s a little noisy.
I know that I can get a room – a studio in the same area for like 35,000 no problem ( I pay 30,000 now for my own studio) but I need a visa.
There’s another business in it
On the 2nd floor there is a uber eats business that landlord is starting in one of the empty rooms right next to mine.
It’s not too big of a deal, but between like 10am and 2-3pm some days of the week this guy is like making and selling food in the kitchen. And he walks really hard too. You can really hear him trudge along the floor.
That’s my review.
I am still here at the moment, but I just don’t like this whole sharehouse thing. This is the second one I stayed in. It’s not for me. So if you have a visa I would just go and look for a place on your own. I can’t see what the advantage is of staying in a sharehouse.
The idea is that there is something therapeutic in the atmosphere and it’s a safe place to go and get yourself together. There are other places like Santa Barbara and Ohai, California come to mind, usually populated by upper middle class people with more time and money than they know what to do with in which a culture of healing also retains…
The concept in all of these environments seems to be that one needs to complete his healing before one is ready to do his work. This form of thinking… is a form of resistance.
What are we trying to heal anyway?
The athlete knows the day will never come when he wakes up pain free. He has to play hurt. Remember the part of us we think needs healing is not the part we create from. That part is far deeper and stronger…
The part where we create from can’t be touched by anything our parents did or society did.”
Taken from THE WAR OF ART – Steven Pressfield
I heard about this book many, many years ago first from Seth Godin in the book Linchpin and just finally got the audiobook. It’s good.