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Posts Tagged ‘Mata Leon’

Fine tuning the Mata Leon. If you want to get a good mata leon choke, make sure your choke arm is deep and the elbow of your arm lines up with your opponents chin and underneath. The choke arm makes a v shape. Once you have that, grab your bicep. With the free hand, monkey grip the back of the opponent’s head. Before, I did the Mata Leon by placing the back of my hand on the opponent’s head. That was bad technique. When the opponent is being choked, they will reach, grab, for the hands in desperation. If the hand, on the neck is cupped, then they have nothing to grab. Squeeze. Beware the opponent, may get off a punch but will soon be knocked out.

Changing topic a bit, I also learned a new throw, Kouchi gari, another tool for the arsenal. I also learned how to escape the classical judo pin. The classical judo pin was a side mount, one wrapped arm under the elbow and wrapped head with the legs scissor kicked in front. Ironically, with a 30 second pin, I had won third place in the Midwest Regional Judo Tournament in Chicago in the late 70s. I was amazed how easy it was to escape the classic judo pin.

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˝In the East it is said, when the student is ready, the teacher will present himself.” 1950s documentary video about the Japanese judo master Masahiko Kimora. Before I found Valente, I had two odd experiences with two judo clubs.

I wanted to return to my hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, so I choose a college there and moved back after graduating high school. I had the hope of returning to my old dojo under Norm Miller. Unfortuntely, it had moved locations or was out of business. So, in the Fall of 1989, I found a club two blocks from the university from the yellow pages. It was only twenty dollars a month and at the Ymca on the 15th floor. I arrived on time and met a heavy weight
black belt by the name of Ken. He was obsessed with trying out for the Olympic team. I told him I was a student of Norm Miller. I clearly asked if he knew of him or his where abouts. He completely ignored my question. Ken’s behavior was strange. A few minutes later, the rest of the group arrived, five guys and Ken. They changed in another room when they came out, all of them were wearing black belts. I thought to myself this can’t be real. I asked where are the other students, Ken, looked at me and said your it, your the only student. Ken showed a throw and then said lets practice. They lined up then one of the black belt said white belts get to throw once while black get 10. Ken didn’t throw me, but all the others did. I hadn’t practiced a fall slap in many years and I was just thrown 50 times. I injuried myself when my knees hit each other as I hit the mat. It was one of those injuries you don’t realize right away. It was not fun. From there, we went into randori. One black belt was eager to go at me. Even though I didn’t do judo in a while, I had wrestled in a tough conference in high school so I was prepared for the ground attack. He didn’t throw me so well. We went to the floor. I escaped. He threw me. Some how he hit me with a loose elbow to my nose. Blood started slowly dripping. We stopped. The black belt ran to the bathroom for tissue. I plugged my nose and we started sparring again. I was very disappointed by that club. My knee was throbbing. I decided that it was to risky to purse my judo training with that group. I focused on my studies and gave up martial arts until 1998.

In 1998, I went through a bad divorce, no kids, and had a smoking habit. I needed to get my face out of my hands and get moving. I knew if I played a sport, it would motivate me to quit smoking. I found a judo course at Miami Dade Community College Northh Campus. It was a reasonable cost. I didn’t think that I would compete again, but maybe I could become a judo referee. Jack, a mid sixty year old, sensei, was some sort of judo guru that was training the police there. The North Campus has a law enforcement school. Part of the class was in a classroom. He would write the Japanses words for the throws. He had some good floor drills. Face of a clock warmup, pinning moves. One day he explained what happens medically to an elbow that is broken from an arm look, and what happens when a person is killed from a choke hold. I thought it to be gruesome. I guess police should know.

Jack had some remembeable sayings. His catch phase, ” You want to be a bad ass like me, you have to do what I say?” He drove a fast corevette convertible and wore reflective sun glasses. Another one, ” When you grab someone, its like taking out the garbage.” I didn’t like that one either. What that does is dehumanize your opponent. He was someone that I would consider dangerous, even at his age.

Things were going well until he realized I was training to kick someone’s ass. He did not like that. He was correct. It is a violation of the judo code. So, that’s when he made it so unbareable, anyone would leave on their own. He beat me up for six weeks. The day before I threw in the white towel, he put me in the mata leon. As he choked me, i paniked. Take it easy, he whispered in my ear. I think he debated in his mind about knoçking me out to test my dedication like they would do to you at the Kodokan. He said something like that. Miami Dade Community College ain’t kodakan. Kodakan is the best judo school in the world, located in Tokyo, Japan. The Japanese did not like foreign students. As a test, they would test a foreigners worthiness by knocking the prospective student out with a chokehold. To purposefully use a choke hold to cause a non struggling person to unconsciousness ,without sparring, is like a simulation of an execution without dying. Then, they would do it the next day. If you kept coming back, you would past their test and they would teach you. I didn’t like the idea. I decided Jack was insane. I wasn’t coming back. I gave up my grudge too. Instead of judo, I played lacrosse, mid field, with the Miami Makos, for the next five years and I completely quit smoking.

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