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A typical session

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Training at our 10th anniversary session

A typical session usually goes something like this:

  • Mats put out so that everyone has something soft on which to fall over. You should not step onto the mat until the most senior student on the mat has bowed to you to give you permission.
  • Warm-up exercises run by senior students
    These are to help you get your blood flowing and to stretch your muscles so that you don't injure yourself by pulling one.
  • Line up
    As etiquette, students will line up around the edge of the mat facing the instructor, the senior students on the left of the instructor with novices on the right. On command, students must then kneel down and bow while in this seated position. Watch the senior students to see how they do this.
  • Falling practice
    Novices will be taught by one of the instructors the basics of falling over in such a way as not to be hurt by the landing. Grades will go through more advanced falling so they can practice more elaborate throws and nastier falls.
  • First techniques
    All the class will gather round so that the instructor can demonstrate the first techniques to learn and practice. Usually, subsequent techniques will build on these initial ones. Students will then practice in pairs, alternating so that both partners get to practice the technique on the other. During this time, the instructor will observe the students and offer advice. Senior students may then be shown more advanced variants on the technique to practice at the same time.
  • Demonstrations
    After the instructor has taught several techniques, he or she will ask everyone to form a circle and then get several pairs of students to demonstrate what they've just learnt. There will be no ritual mocking or humiliation at this point.
  • Split groups
    The instructor will then usually divide the class into groups of similar skill levels to practice appropriate techniques. Senior students will look after some these groups while the instructor looks after another.
  • Real-life
    Towards the end of the session, the instructor will usually organise several vs or circles so that students can try to use under pressure the techniques they have learnt.
  • Cooling down
    The instructor will run the students through a series of cooling down exercises to prevent stiff muscles or cramps setting in the next day.
  • Line up (again)
    In the same order as before, all the students will kneel down on command. The instructor will then make any important club announcements and the students will then bow again while kneeling. However, on command, students will then have to jump up into the yoi position with a great shout (a ki-ai).
  • Putting away the mats
    Well somebody has to.
  • Showers
  • Pub

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