Mental Imagery of Uchikomi:
You may be on the bus or on the couch but there is always time to do Judo with mental imagery. Simply close your eyes and practice a few Judo techniques in your mind. Try to picture yourself entering for a throw and throwing someone. Attempt to feel your whole body moving into position while you are sitting down. Once you are in the feel of mental imagery Uchikomi begin adding in some combinations or speed Uchikomi into the mix. This will really help you not only you getting in tune with your body but also gets you to think about each and every aspect of a throw. When I had my knee reconstruction back in 2007 I had 11 months off Judo completely. Every night in bed I would do 200 Uchikomi of Ippon Seoi Nage. Then when I came back onto the mat it was like I had never left. Id didn’t lose the feel of Judo at all.
If you have enough space in the lounge room or garage then move around and attack as if you had a partner with you. Concentrate on keeping your knees bent and back straight. Try to ‘feel’ your throws opposed to just doing them for the sake of it. Shadow Uchikomi is great because it gets you thinking and moving like a Judo player. I highly recommend my students do shadow Uchikomi as a warm up because they can never have an excuse for not having a partner. If you are good at shadow Uchikomi you sometimes don’t need a partner.
If you don’t have enough room to do some shadow Uchikomi then walk up and down the hallway attacking with Ashiwaza techniques such as De Ashi Barai, Okuri Ashi Harai, Harai Tsuri Komi Ashi, Ouchi gari and Ko uchi gari. Make sure when you are practicing these techniques that you are using your upper body simultaneously with your feet.
Many Judoka neglect the Ne Waza aspect of training at home. There is plenty of mobility and agility exercises and drills you can do at home that will greatly increase your awareness on the ground. Practicing hip escapes over and over again will not only strengthen the legs but also make you an extremely hard person to pin. The hallway is the perfect length to practice hip escapes and the small width of the hallway will really sharpen your technique.
Basic gymnastic drills will always benefit a Judoka. Forward and backward rolls, cartwheels, hand-stands and basic gymnastic movements assist in keeping you supple as well as increase your spatial awareness. If you don’t have enough room in your house then head out to the local park or tennis court and do some basic movements.
Here are just a few ideas of things you can do by yourself that will improve your Judo. Now you will never have an excuse about why you haven’t done Judo in a while.