Friday, February 27, 2009

Judo Debrief - 2/27

Last night was a good workout. We worked on o uchi gari for most of the class. After that, we did a bit of ne waza randori, following by standing randori. I felt like I did fairly well in ne waza. I first went against one of the black belts, and both "matches" ended up pretty neutral. I'm pretty sure that he was simply countering my moves, but at least I didn't make any mistakes leading to a large opening for him. I then rolled against one of the brown belts and felt like I did quite well. I was able to counter his initial attempt to capture me in his guard and get a dominant position when he rolled over. In the past, I would try to go for a choke, and would spend too much time in a futile effort to get it. I've recently changed my tactics a bit to go for the arm bar instead. I hadn't been successful, though since I would try to force it using strength. Sensei said that once I have grabbed the wrist, I should roll my entire body instead. In other words, use leverage instead of strength. Now, I'm looking forward to trying it again.

I didn't do so well in standing randori. I seem to have fallen back into the habit of leaning forward. I went up against one of the white belts who is incredibly stiff and pretty strong, and I wasn't able to generate proper kuzushi. He was able to take me down twice, once pretty hard. I was able to recover the second time and get him into a pretty strong kesa getame, but it was still a bit rough. I then went against the brown belt. I'd say he got the better of me, but at least it wasn't as frustrating. I was able to block one of his throws, but took a second too long for the counter, so I ended up going down with him on top. Sensei said that I need to slide my leg and drop immediately after I block to successfully perform the counter. That's cool, since its something that I can work on in the future.

Overall, it was a pretty good workout. I'm a bit sore today, but its a good feeling. One thing that I have learned is that the counters can be pretty rough when they are not done successfully, since you are taking both your and your opponent's weight in the fall. It provides some incentive for getting it right in the future.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Judo Debrief - 2/24

Last night's judo class was very enlightening. I We did a lot of walking drills, where you walk across the mat with a partner and perform a technique every couple of steps. We focused on tai otoshi and de ashi barai. I was lucky in that I was practicing with one of the black belts, so I was able to get good feedback on my technique. I did all right with tai otoshi, although I still need to work on bending my knees more. I didn't do as well with the foot sweeps, since I was often too close to uke to perform an effective sweep. Sensei said that my biggest problem is that I'm still not very fluid in my movements. In other words, I'm not moving with my partner, but sort of "fighting" him. I tend to make small, choppy steps instead of smooth steps. That is something that I'm going to have to focus on in the future.

I went against two people during randori. The first match was against one of the newer guys. He's a bit bigger than me, and he's to the point where I need to use correct technique to throw him. I focused on blocking then countering and was somewhat successful, although he did dump me on one unsuccessful counter. I was able to perform a clean uchi mata from a failed tai otoshi. To be honest, it happened so quickly that I really don't remember the full set up. I didn't even think about it when it happened; I just did it. It was pretty cool.

I also went against the black belt in randori. It was very much cat and mouse, with me as the mouse. :-) He is very good at gripping, and seemed to always get me in an inferior position because of it. My highlight was when I successfully blocked an uchi mata and sort of countered it. The counter wasn't successful, in that I landed on my back with him on top of me, but it was encouraging. Of course, we got back up, then he planted me with the next throw. Heh.

Overall, it was a successful session. I really need to work on "feel", which is pretty hard to do, but something that I'm understanding a bit more with each session. I'm also getting better with my blocks and counters. Sensei mentioned that I'm still leaning forward a bit, and suggested that I lean back a bit more (IOW, put more weight on my back foot instead of the front foot.). It makes sense, and I can't wait to try it next session.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Big Step

Well, I finally did it. I cancelled my subscription to World of Warcraft. I'm sure its not a big deal to most people, but I've played it more than any other game. My guess is somewhere around 1000 hours. Yikes!

While the game was still fun, it had that "been there, done that" feel to it. You can only "kill 1o orcs" or "bring me 10 wolf parts" so many times before it gets boring. I'm a bit sad that I didn't finish the xpac, but I couldn't get past the sameness of it all. All that said, I'm looking forward to Blizzard's net gen super secret MMO. :-)

On the bright side, I should have a lot more time to play other things. I have a TON of minis that need to be painted. I have a TON of boardgames that are collecting dust waiting to be played. I have a TON of books that I really want to read. I'm really excited about making progress on these things once again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rome and Her Enemies

The Battle at the Crossroads DBA event is coming up this weekend, and I was shopping for some new Dark Ages figures. I ran across some nicely painted Roman Legionnaires and Auxiliaries which I picked up for a good price. I figured that they need worthy opponents, and there was a bunch of Germanic tribesmen for sale, so I bid on them. Sadly, they went for way more than I wanted to spend. Rats! But wait, here some some Gauls and some Carthaginians. Ah, cool, two birds with one stone! I won that set of auctions. Yipee!

When the figures arrived, I realized that I had some holes yet to fill. You can't have Carthaginians without any elephants! Luckily, I had an old DBA Later Carthaginian army bag. I pulled the two elephants out of there and painted them up. Voila! Hannibal will be pleased.

Hmmm, there was still a hole, though. Two of them, in fact. First, the Gauls need chariots, and I don't have any of them lying around. Second, there are two types of warband in DBx, one with three figures on a 20mm deep base and one with four figures on a 15mm deep base. Double rats! Looks like I need some chariots and a whole bunch more barbarians.

A trip to the local gaming store moved me in the right direction. I picked up the Corvus Belli Gallic DBA box. Now I have three chariots primed and ready to paint as well as 24 more warriors (28 if you count the command stand).

While all of this was going on, I realized that I had incorrectly based my Roman auxilia. Of course, I needed to paint a couple more guys to fill in the missing spots. Oh, and the original Romans that I bought finally arrived from Thailand. There's another batch of guys that need to be based. And while I'm at it, I might as well finish off the command and cavalry stands that I have half done. Whew.

Of course, none of this contributes to any of my Dark Ages armies. And the final blow is that I won't even be able to go to the event this weekend. Doh!

Command and Colors Ancients

As part of my renewed interest in all things Roman, I pulled out my copy of Command and Colors Ancients last week. I really like the whole series (except for Memoir, the WW2 title), but I think that C&CA is my favorite. It does a good job of capturing the feel of ancient combat (or at least a feel that jives with my reading and other games I've played). Its also the most refined version of the C&C card-driven orders system. Unlike the other games, you always have something to do. The key is selecting the correct order from your limited set of options. Do you strike now with what you have? Or do you wait to try to set up a multiple turn combination.

Anyways, I read through the rules and played through two games from the Rome and the Barbarians expansion. The first game was one of the first in the book, and pitted a Roman scouting force (mix of medium cavalry and foot skirmishers) vs a group of Gallic auxilia and a couple of warrior units. IIRC, the fight wasn't really that close. The Roman skirmishers were able to inflict a few casualties and the cavalry was there to finish the job before the Gallic warriors could really engage. I believe that the scenario was a learning scenario, since the game ended after only 4 banners were captured.

The second game was much more interesting. It involved a Gallic ambush of a Roman camp along a river. (I can't remember the name of the scenario right now. Doh!) Anyways, the Gauls charged the Roman positions with a line command and took serious casualties. The Romans were able to bring their heavy infantry up to the front and knocked out several of the units, giving the Romans an early lead. After several more turns, the Romans had cleaned up most of the initial assault and were only a banner or two away from victory. The Gauls decided to delay with the remainder of the center and attack aggressively on the flanks. They were able to grind up the light troops on the Roman right flank and capture the Roman camp, resulting in a handful of banners. The Romans kept pressing in the middle, but the Gauls were able to withdraw with minimal casualties. It came down to the last banner, with the Gauls getting lucky and killing a Roman unit for the win. It was a really cool scenario.

I'm looking forward to playing more Command and Colors scenarios in the future. I think its a really cool, playable system.