Posts Tagged ‘ippon seoi nage’

It’s The Little Things – Pt 1

Friday, February 1st, 2013

When learning anything new, there can be times when you’ve got sensory overload — too much to remember: do this, do that, don’t do that, watch how I do it or he does it. When you’ve finally learned how to do a technique, a throw or arm bar or other technique, there are still things to learn: my opponent just did this and I couldn’t do my technique, or how do I make it work from this angle, etc.

When teaching judo, after the basic technique is learned, we work on the fine points, the details, the little things, which make the technique stronger, more efficient. I don’t propose that I’m an expert on anything, but if I can do a technique by applying small manoeuvres, then so can anyone.

Years ago we used to do a demonstration to our class to show how little space was required to turn yourself over from a ground hold.  Someone would grab a plain kitchen chair and another person would lie face down on the mats, with arms by the side, and the chair placed on top of, straddling, the judoka. The judoka would turn over while still under the chair.  It’s not fast and can be awkward trying to move your arms and shoulders while trapped, but a little at a time and, voila, you’re facing the ceiling. We proved that you don’t need much space to turn over (basically the width of your own body),  just patience and working a little at a time.  With some practice, this becomes smooth and easy — it makes a huge difference in being able to escape ground holds.

When learning throws, there are of course those gorillas out there who are so strong they manhandle their opponents; it’s less finesse and more brute strength. For everyone else (although a little finesse for the big guys makes for much better technique), we work on the little things: jutting the hips out past uke’s on hip throws, stepping in deeply between his legs for forward throws, gripping a certain way, pinky in the air for ippon seoi nage, looking over there during your throw.  All the little touches bring other factors into play during throws.

For hip throws, “jutting your hips past uke’s” gives far better leverage; you should be able to lift him just using your hips and bending your knees. Once the arms and grips come into play, he’s a goner.  “Stepping in deeply between uke’s legs” for forward throws actually places uke off-balance forward; he’s going to fall with far less effort on your part. “Changing grips” on the gi (or the arm, for non-gi throws) may give you better purchase, and may also allow your forearm or whole arm to be used. The “pinky in the air for ippon seoi nage” forces you to hold your throwing arm high, allowing for a stronger and wider turn of the arm. “Looking over there” during your throw forces your head to move, thereby moving your torso. The throw becomes far stronger when you use your core.

I’ve been studying judo for fifteen years and there’s lots more to learn.  It really is amazing how much of a difference the fine details, the little things, make in helping our techniques work.

Click here to go to It’s The Little Things – Pt 1 Addendum

Click here to go to It’s The Little Things – Pt 2

Click here to go to It’s The Little Things – Pt 2 Addendum

Click here to go to It’s The Little Things – Pt 3

ayjay

December 11, 2008

It’s The Little Things – Pt 4

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Recently a new student in our class has been learning the first group of throws in anticipation of testing for his first belt.  This fellow is not especially tall, but really muscular and strong. The throws which he favours involve big movements – o goshi, koshi guruma, etc. – and which do not involve the little movements of many of the others.

Just because yellow is the first belt level in judo does not mean that the throws are easy. Many of the yellow belt throws are complicated and some may be the last which a student manages to do well. De ashi harai, if done well, is performed when tori sweeps out uke’s leg in the fraction of a second before the foot hits the floor. The throws which require tori to step in closely to uke (o uchi gari and ko uchi gari, for instance) when performed statically involve arm movements and multiple small foot movements. Ippon seoi nage and o goshi must have tori’s body placement just so in order to execute the forward throw properly.

This new student has difficulty with the small foot movements (he compares them to ballet movements). To throw uke with o uchi gari, tori steps in between uke’s feet strongly with his right foot, while pulling himself into uke at the same time. He then brings his back foot up behind the front foot (tee-ing up) in order to become balanced forward. The front foot then reaps uke’s left leg to the right.

These minute foot movements were driving this student to distraction. His gut instinct was to move the front leg and leave the back leg where it was, resulting in a very wide-legged, off-balance stance. In order to sweep the leg, he was even more off-balance (not forward, but backward) and the throw was not strong. It mostly consisted of his pushing uke. Granted, uke hit the floor, but that wasn’t the throw we wanted.

During competitions, throws are not static. Even during class randori, once all the movements have been learned, variations of body position are taken into account and the throw may not be traditional. Even the “push” variation I mentioned above might garner a point.

But, as we are still a judo club, and teach traditional judo (along with variations), students who wish to advance to other belt levels must know the traditional movements for throws and all other techniques.

We have many repetitions to do in order to get this student to learn the correct movements, which do not come naturally to him. When he performed the throw with the correct movements, the throw was strong and powerful. He was also balanced properly after the throw. Unfortunately doing a throw once doesn’t constitute learning it.  Any body movement which is to become muscle memory must be performed many, many times, and then still worked on and perfected.

One of the reasons judo is still an effective martial art is that there is always more to learn. There are variations of techniques which people have developed and are still developing – Judo is constantly evolving. Sometimes these variations are out of necessity because of body type or ability. Sometimes they come from having worked out with someone else and finding yourself in an unusual position and managing to weasel your way out by doing something new.

One of the reasons we love judo, and love teaching, is that we get to learn new stuff, too.

Click here to go to It’s The Little Things – Pt 3

ayjay

January 5, 2010

Stuffing an Ippon Seoi Nage Attempt

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Ippon Seoi Nage is the one arm shoulder throw, which when performed well, looks spectacular, and will give tori the ippon, meaning the full point to win a match.

There are ways in which to prevent the throw, though, and we practiced several exercises to stop the throw.

The first manoeuvre involves blocking tori’s (the giver of the throw) body as he turns in to do the throw. Extend your hand to block his torso. To ensure that your own arm doesn’t get jammed, move to the side as you block.

Second manoeuver: As tori presents his back to do the throw, literally jump out of the throw, moving over his back toward the side he has grasped your arm. He needs to be directly in front of you to accomplish the throw with his back to you, so you are moving out of the way, even though he has your arm.

The third manoeuvre:  As tori presents his back, move out of the way of the throw in the opposite direction, to the side he is not holding your arm. He will still have your other arm, but cannot throw you with ippon seoi nage as, again, he needs to be directly in front of you, with his back to you.

The fourth manoeuvre: As tori begins turning in to you, step strongly forward with your left leg, drop your weight a few inches and simultaneously thrust your left hip out to impact tori’s hip and stop his rotation.  This effectively blocks him from completing his rotation and will put him off balance to his rear, creating an excellent opportunity for follow-up counter throws.

These simple exercises may not always work to stuff the throw, but may give you an out to try something of your own.

ayjay,

May 3, 2010

Studying Judo for Shodan Grading – Pt 1

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

I debated writing about this mostly because I thought I wouldn’t go through with it, it wasn’t really important to me, etc., but I am studying/working toward my shodan grading in judo (first degree black belt) later on this year. I’ve had my brown belt for ten years and have always felt that I couldn’t do this for many reasons, not the least of which are that I’m not young and have only bigger men to throw.

For those of you who do not know what the grading entails, I’ll summarize: competency in all forty throws, eight of which will be asked for; competency in all groundholds, chokes and joint locks, three each will be asked for; performance of the first three sets of the kata, which involves nine throws from a stylized walk, both right and left side. In order for a person to be graded, he or she must have a partner to throw and do the techniques on. The grading is in front of a board of as many as five judges, with all the other competitors watching as they await their turn.

I have never really wanted or needed this, but Dave is determined that I should grade, especially after he did his nidan grading with Mike. Both of them came out of there stating that both Mike and I should go for our own gradings. So on Friday nights, about half way through the class, Mike and I pick an area on the mats and we walk through the kata, doing some of the throws, and in recent weeks, we have been working our way through the gokyo, the main forty throws of judo. Mike will be my uke (partner) for my grading and for Mike’s grading, Dave will be his uke.

Since we had been in The Mouse Room for two years and I had a badly sprained ankle for another two (in which I couldn’t do any throws at all), I have had at least four years out of the last six in which I haven’t been able to do anything substantial. Some of the throws are ugly: it’s very difficult to start a throw and then stop to correct your position or foot placement and far easier to just do the throw no matter what it looks like. The trouble is that I don’t want to injure myself by attempting a throw in which Mike is not sitting on my hip or back correctly (my sprained ankle resulted from an ippon seoi nage on Dave when I wasn’t warmed up and had had two months off). It takes forever to heal. There are throws which I am good at, mostly sacrifice throws, meaning that I throw myself to the ground to do the throw. There are others which are difficult for me, mostly leg techniques with my back to uke, requiring standing/pivoting on one foot and sweeping the other leg. I seem to have difficulty getting my foot deeply enough between his feet in order to sweep easily. When I do manage, the throws work quite well. I’m just not consistent yet.

We have been doing the kata walk-throughs for perhaps six sessions and the throws by themselves for three. Since I’m, as I said, not young, and shorter and lighter than Mike, Dave suggested that for kata guruma (shoulder wheel or more commonly known as fireman’s carry) I merely step into position to show that I know how to do the entry to the throw and then step out, and do the same for the other side. During last week’s practice, I wanted to try to lift Mike, but thought he would freak: it’s hard enough being thrown with that throw if the person is bigger than you – you’re being thrown head-first from the height of your partner’s shoulders, the taller tori is, the farther uke is being thrown. Yesterday, I told Mike that I’d like to try to lift him, and did – I actually held him on my shoulders for a couple of seconds. I didn’t do the throw as I wasn’t in a perfect position, but I lifted him onto my shoulders and held him there securely. Yay! So even if I don’t actually do the judo shodan grading, I now know that I can do the most difficult requirement in judo (at least from my perspective).

Click here to go to Studying Judo for Shodan Grading  – Pt 2

ayjay

April 11, 2009

Judo Throws for the Non-Judo Practitioner – Pt 1

Friday, March 13th, 2009

On occasion we have people attending our class from the jiu jitsu school, or whose backgrounds are in other disciplines, specifically to work on judo throws. They may or may not have had any exposure to judo throws before. We cater to their experience and skillsets, body type, and type of tournament they are entering and teach a few judo throws to add to their arsenal. 

Right now, we have a fellow training with us to help prepare for the NAGA world championships in New Jersey at the beginning of April, 2009.  His matches will begin from standing, so his main concern is taking someone to the ground with control and to land on the ground in control. We haven’t much time to work on the throws, so initially we are working on throws he is already familiar with and then will add perhaps another few to the mix which compliment his style.

Francisco has an extensive background in karate (3rd dan), although in recent years he has been doing BJJ. Since he is strong in karate, we are not concerned with outside leg techniques; he’s been doing these for almost fifteen years.

The start position for these matches is standing and, not unlike Greco-Roman wrestling matches, the competitors tend to bend from the waist, keeping their hips/legs away from each other while keeping their heads close together.  It seems that the most common strategy is for them to simply pull guard as soon as possible.

The opponents grasp one another’s gi collar or lapel and sleeve, sometimes both sleeves at the wrist. Since they are bent forward to begin with, we are working on throws that put the opponent off-balance even further, pulling him forward or attacking at awkward or unexpected angles.

Our philosophy is to win by throwing and acquiring a dominant top position, then maintaining that position while working toward a submission via choke or lock.  Check out the book Mixed Martial Arts Unleashed for an in-depth explanation as to why we feel this is best - we don’t have room in this article!

First off is seoi nage, which Francisco already knows. We are doing a variation on ippon seoi nage, one in which his back is exposed for as short a time as possible, but still allows him to control his opponent in the forward direction. He can do this from standing or dropping to his knees. He can either drop deeply between his opponent’s legs and throw forward, or move farther outside, such that he is on his knees well to the right of the opponent and then the throw is at an angle of about 90 degrees.  He still has a tight grip on the lapel or collar and the sleeve. As soon as he drops to his knees, he angles his right shoulder to the mat: this manoeuvre makes the throw very fast and powerful and also enables the opponent to roll without drilling his head into the floor.  Since he still has control of the lapel and sleeve, he can move quickly into a hold of some kind.  We’ve also added a number of simple entries to this throw for him that involve combinations and action/reaction sequences in order to make the throw more likely to succeed.

Francisco has also used tomoe nage with good success, so we are again doing a variation of tomoe nage, but having Francisco end up on top, in the superior position. Tomoe nage is the high circle throw, in which you drop to your back while placing your foot beside your opponent’s hip or in their stomach. In the movies, you see this done with a powerful leg extension, propelling the opponent up and a long way away from the thrower.  Since we want to stay attached and wind up on top, we’ve modified this so that the leg doesn’t really kick him or even straighten out; it is used to direct him up and over. The arms are more instrumental in the direction. In Francisco’s case, we are also working on hooking the opponent’s leg either with Francisco’s hand or free leg, so that as his opponent goes over, Francisco stays attached to him, rolls with him, and lands on top.

Tawara gaeshi and sumi gaeshi can be executed the same way: as your opponent goes over your head, hook his leg with either your own leg or your arm (or hand), so that you remain attached and go over as well. You will end up on top of him and can immediately go into a groundhold.

There is also yoko tomoe nage, side high circle throw: You use your outside leg, (assuming you are holding one of your opponent’s arms, the outside leg would be the leg further away from him) planting your foot sideways onto his stomach. At the same time, you drop to your back, twisting such that you are about ninety degrees to his body. You can throw your opponent to one side of your body or the other depending on how much he is fighting the throw and/or how deeply you manage to get under him – either way allows you to end up on top.

Another throw which lends itself well to this starting technique of heads close together is a variation of o soto gari, sort of a combination o soto gari and koshi guruma - o soto gari’s leg movement and koshi guruma’s arm placement. If you’re doing a right-sided version, give your opponent a slight jolt to his right, causing him to try to straighten up, then go in at an angle while wrapping your right arm around his shoulders and your left hand tightly grasping his right sleeve. Sweep out his far leg with your right leg and go down to the ground with him.  He’s already in a groundhold when he lands.

 We have also worked on sasae tsurikomi ashi, propping drawing ankle throw: you grasp your opponent’s lapel with your right hand in order to lift his torso, while simultaneously blocking his right ankle and pulling the right sleeve horizontally to the left. As he falls, move your right arm around his shoulders and go to the ground with him. Change the grip on his sleeve as well. You will be in a groundhold (kesa gatame) right away.

Although Francisco has had experience with a few judo throws, non-judo practitioners can pick up these variations of judo throws and handily use them when needed. For videos of judo throws with gi, go to the Traditional Judo section of this website; videos of no-gi judo throws may be found in the Judo for MMA section of this site.

Click here to go to Judo Throws for the Non-Judo Practitioner - Pt 2

ayjay

March 13, 2009

Studying for/Working on Nidan Grading – Part 2

Monday, January 12th, 2009

This past Sunday was the last full training session that Dave and Mike will have before the nidan grading next Sunday.  Mike’s injury is better, but not perfect. Both guys seem to be thinking too much about their techniques, kata, and so on. 

Now that we’ve gone through all the requirements multiple times, such that some techniques are becoming muscle memory, we concentrated on small changes to make throws or breakfalls better. 

After walking through the kata once and then doing the full kata, incorporating the throws, we discussed what seemed to be problem areas. We set up our improvised crash mats again to work on the those throws and resulting breakfalls - ura nage, uchi mataharai goshisumi gaeshi, and kata guruma. Ura nage is the throw in which Mike was injured, so we wanted to ensure that there were no lingering problems. Dave also felt that he should be landing differently as he threw Mike, but we practiced many times and ended up doing the throw exactly the way we’d started. With uchi mata and harai goshi, Dave could do one side well. The other side had a crooked leg in both techniques, causing the uchi mata to look like hane goshi, while the harai goshi just didn’t work well. In both cases, hip placement was at issue and with minor changes moving in, the problems were corrected. With sumi gaeshi, Dave felt that he was falling to his side when this is a back sacrifice throw, so he threw himself a few times falling straight back and then threw Mike to ensure that he would retain that position with the uke.  With kata guruma (as with tsurikomi goshi, and ippon seoi nage) we worked on Mike’s maintaining a super-straight body which would make the throw and breakfall look better.

We videotaped one run-through of the kata and then watched the tape to determine if there were anything we had missed.  It looks better each time we tape. There are still minor problems, but since we don’t have our own dojo and cannot work on this every day, it’s going well.

After walking through the kata again, we went through ground techniques to give Mike a break. Basic judo throws and the shinmeisho no waza were next. There are three more partial sessions for the nidan grading training and then the weekend. JudoOntario is offering a technical seminar for grading participants on Saturday afternoon, which I think the guys will attend. The actual grading is on Sunday in a club about an hour from here. The last time Dave attended the gradings there (as uke for Chris’s shodan grading) there were four mat areas set up in order to do four gradings at once, two judges per grading. I’d love to be there to tape the grading for posterity, but there are no visitors.

Click here to go to Studying for/Working on Nidan Grading – Part 1

Click here to go to Studying for/Working on Nidan Grading – Part 3

ayjay

January 13, 2009