Six month into a huge plateau, I have now come to terms with it. The first weeks were the hardest; frustration and doubt came creeping in and I was focusing on my failures. But after some time, I just accepted things as they are. I’ll spend longer at blue belt then expected, so what? Enjoy the journey.

Being willing to suck allowed me to explore aspects I had been overlooking so far. Since my knee is fine again, I’ve continued working on my judo and I’m finally seeing some results. I still get bashed by people who have actually trained judo but I get a lot less tired, and I landed a few throws of my own. Starting standing slowly becomes an option and as a result, I understand the frustration of someone pulling guard on you.

Evidently, this led me to work more on my guard passing. I’m still surprising myself with open guard passes: by “dancing” around my opponent, I create small openings and I’m now fast enough to exploit them. That said, passing someone who has a control on me is still as hard.

I also have a new found passion for leg attacks. Watching guys like Tonnon or Cummings at work and reading up on the subject made me realize that this is a whole other aspect of the game that is just not taught a lot, and yet it’s a very technical and effective game. Training at Florian’s place over the summer (he bought some pretty cool home mats), we decided that all submissions go and it has been lots of fun. To kick start my knowledge, I purchased Reilly Bodycomb’s No Kurtka instructionnal, so expect a review of it.

Being summer time, there’s only sporadic training available. Aside from the nogi with Florian, I went to an open mat in Wintzenheim with Carlie and Marie-Laure, and a training session in Dachstein where I met Stéphane for the second time — and he’s now a black belt, the first of our Strasbourg group.

Group photo before our training at Wintzenheim

There will be a lot of changes next season regarding dojos and trainings, but I’ll write about it when the dust settles once again . In the meantime I have to decide how much I want to compete in the upcoming year, after going a full year without.