Wednesday, April 27, 2011

OJU Championships Recap

This years OJU Champs was a huge competition in terms of Olympic Selection points for the World Ranking List. To put the OJU Champs into perspective - if i went to Miami world cup or Sau paulo world cup or any world cup around the world and placed 1st i would receive 100 points towards the world Ranking list (WRL.)
The winner of a continental championships (in this case the Oceania Champs) the winner receives 180 points towards the WRL- that's almost 2 world cup wins.

Last years OJU champs i had 3 tough fights - Chevalier from New Caledonia, Bronkhorst from New Zealand and Dikins from Australia. I won my first 2 fights but in the final I got foot swept for Ippon. I was pretty upset as I had trained so hard but came up short.

This year I trained even harder and the hard work paid off. I went to Melbourne in January and trained with Ivo Dos Santos ( and then went off to Budo "university in Japan and trained really hard. We then had a national training camp at the AIS before this years OJU Champs.

This year this comp was held in Tahiti. Tahiti is a great place if you have a lot of money as it is quite expensive but due to the fact that i was dieting to make weight i didn't spend much money on food, which was nice.
We arrived at our hotel on Wednesday at around midnight and my room mate (Steve brown 66kg) and I went ot he gym and do 20-25 minutes cardio on some exercise bikes to help turn the legs over and get the feeling of the plane out of ours legs.

The next day we had a composure Judo session in the morning which consisted of 1 hour of uchikomi, grip fighting and some Randori., The Judo session in the afternoon was optional and out of the 40+ athletes only 10 of us took the opportunity to train a second time. Most of the other athletes relaxed and hung out. Steve and i thought it would be a good idea to train again and keep yourself in 'Judo mode."

The hotel we stayed in was very nice but in saying that though this can sometimes be a bad thing. So often when you stay in a nice place, with a pool and sunshine, sun baking etc you start to think you are on holidays and forget that you are there for a reason and that's to win fights. Although it is great to relax and get your mind off Judo its still not a good idea to sun bake and 'have fun' and have the time of your life.

OIn the Friday we both woke up pretty light so we put our sweat gear on and headed to Judo. We did a lot of really short, sharp but intense throwing drills and Ne Waza transitions.
We then re-hydrated, watched a movie and just relaxed. That night we jumped in the sauna and i lost around 1.6kg there that night.

The night before a comp is always interesting as you are usually hungry, dehydrated and keen to fight. What happens is you tend on sleeping pretty badly and at times drift off to sleep before waking up again. There is a skill in trying not to be paranoid about not sleeping, just try to relax and not think about fighting or the comp day at all. 
I downloaded an app on my iphone that has some rain and thunderstorms on it, its a really good way to get some normal constant noise (besides the crashing of the waves 10 metres from your room - i know poor me :), or your room mate who may snore like a freight train.) 
Noise cancelling headphones are also a must because they block out everything.

Comp day I made weight on the dot and headed to  the comp venue.  Had some breakfast and tried to rehydrate as well as [possible. It is important when re hydrating not to drink too fast and a good guide is 200mil every 15 minutes- this may be hard to manage because all you want to do is drink 1 litre straight away but small increments is a lot better than 1 litre straight.

Warm up was easy as it was so hot in tahiti. due to seeding i had  abye first fight and drew a Young Judoka from French Polynesion (or Tahiti). He had a very strange style of judo and threw tony Lomo from the Solomon Islands pretty quickly with a left Uchimata.
He was a very strange fighter but I managed to throw him for a sumi gaeshi early for a yuko (but referees called Waza ari fpor me) and then in the next exchange he turned in for a left uchimata and i threw him with an ura naga, we both squirmed ands turned and we both landed on our sides. The referee called Waza ari and awarded it to my opponent. the refs then had a chat and changed the score an awarded it too me, so i won be 2 waza aris.

My next fight was the final against Dikins from Australia. We had to wait around for 1000 years because the tournament organisers decided to have a 3 hour break for some reason, so i slept and relaxed and waited to fight.
We were the 20 final to take place so a  long wait ahead. This was a great time to fully rehydrate, refuel and prepare for the final.
The final started and I had a very good plan coming into the fight. I was confident i would win and i did. throughout the match my opponent went for a te guruma pickup but i countered him for ippon.
I was pretty happy that i scored the 180 points for the WRL and this really does catapult me into a good position for seeding for tournaments as well as the fact that 2nd place is awarded on 108 points for the WRL and I don't think this is enough for Olympic selection. It is close but 80 points is a huge amount of points to make up for.

Now I rested over Easter - ate my face off, had fun catching up with my friends and uni work and now back in to hard training. If you have been following me on facebook (search and like Beyond Grappling) I have been doing a huge amount of Hill sprinting and hitting the gym hard. My weight is also really good and I'm so keen for our national champs in June.

Hope you are all enjoying my blog.
I am constantly receiving feedback, comments and questions regarding everything to do with Judo, please be patient with my replies as I am training full time as well as studying a Primary education at University (not to mention writing my next eBook....wanna know what it's on???)

Talk soon



  1. Awesome work Coach! *Cringe* hill sprints..


  2. Hey Matt - Congrats on your achievement at the OJU Championship! Thanks for sharing your experience. Also, what's the topic on your next eBook?