We had our regular class yesterday. The classes are usually small, but this was tiny – three seniors and a white belt who comes out regularly from the jiu jitsu club. Dave loves these classes because we do far more when there are fewer people: we can all work on the same thing and “study” techniques in greater depth.
Alex, our white belt, is gearing for yellow; however, there were a few throws he had not yet learned – sasae tsurikomi ashi, hiza guruma and o uchi gari. We went into detail on each throw, way more detail than we teach if there is a larger group.
While we were practicing sasae tsurikomi ashi (my doing uchi komi [practice throws] on Dave, Alex, on Chris), Dave suggested a different arm movement for the arm holding the lapel: basically I was to try to hoist him with that arm, pull his sleeve horizontally and then down with the other, while blocking his ankle. Also, I was to step more to the outside and beside his leg, less to the front. OK, I’ve done this throw many times over the last fifteen years, and watched and taped Dave do the throw many times as he worked for his black belt grading (and also videotaping for this website), but I’ve never done the throw like that. The throw has always felt feeble to me (i.e. my version).
This time, when I moved outside more – not too far since I am short – moved my right arm UP instead of horizontally and pulled on the other sleeve, the foot placement was incidental to the throw. The throw was so strong and easy. Chris and I just gaped at each other, saying, “We’ve done this throw how many years?” Why have I never done this arm movement like that before, or stepped out quite that way before? Who knew sasae could be so fluid and powerful?!
So after fifteen years doing throws, I learned a slightly different movement (a little thing) and, when I applied that movement, did a throw well and strongly. It was fun.
(A version of Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi for MMA is here.)
December 13, 2008