Posts Tagged ‘koshi guruma’

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

Three Judo Hip Throws

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

At class last night, we had two new men attend, one who has been with the jiu jitsu club for several months and to our class a few times, and the other who had been with the jiu jitsu club only two weeks.  The second young man had had no previous martial arts experience other than those two weeks, during which he learned o goshi (major hip).

Since Jackie had worked on o goshi, Dave demonstrated three judo hip techniques: o goshi, tsurikomi goshi and koshi guruma. In all three cases, the hips jut out past uke’s hips, but the arms are in different positions.

O goshi seems straightforward until you have to get your hip well past uke’s. This is not a natural position, but if done well, a much smaller tori can easily lift uke and hold uke on his or her back without throwing. (I managed to do this with a man who outweighed me by about 100 lbs. to prove to my son’s girlfriend that you didn’t have to be big in order to throw a much bigger person.)  Mike and I were working with Jackie. Stepping in to o goshi and then not doing the throw is difficult, since your arm is around uke’s back and your body gets twisted, but once the movement continues and the throw happens, providing your hip is past uke’s sufficiently, it’s a very powerful throw. We spent most of the time trying to get the hips out far enough. The rest of the time we worked on the finer points of kuzushi, holding uke during the throw, turning one’s own head, and thereby the torso, to the left, and controlling uke during the breakfall.

In order to make tsurikomi goshi easier to do, instead of the straight arm, we did a version in which we hold the lapel with the right hand and move the right forearm under uke’s left armpit. The kuzushi (breaking the balance) and foot placement, etc., are all the same as in o goshi. When grasping the lapel and then moving the forearm under the armpit, we emphasized keeping a strong wrist, such that the wrist is not bent in any way. The wrist and forearm are all on one plane, acting as a lever, and become much stronger than if the wrist were bent. You are also less inclined to get the types of injuries we see in judo, such as hyper-extending joints. (We found this technique is crucial in tai otoshi – tori uses the entire forearm in the throw versus merely the hand.)

For koshi guruma, we did a kneeling version, with the hip out even farther than the other two throws. It looks like a wrestler’s hip throw, with tori’s hips ending up almost 90 degrees to the side of uke’s. Tori wraps his right arm around uke’s shoulders, and when stepping in, steps with his right foot normally, and with the left, very deeply between uke’s feet. Tori then twists his hips well past uke’s, drops down on the right knee, while turning his head to the left. Uke goes flying over the hips and back of tori.

When I did this, I naturally ended in a kesa gatame (scarf hold) position afterward. Others stayed on their right knees and brought the other knees down, while maintaining control with the hands. Since this throw is low to the ground and you have uke wrapped up so tightly from the beginning, this throw lends itself very well to MMA. There are so many positions you can be in afterward. Once you have your arm wrapped around your opponent’s shoulders and are controlling his left arm, even if he stuffs the hip throw, you are in control of his upper body. You can change to a number of other throws in which you can get him to the ground.

We worked on three similar, yet different, judo hip throws. The arms were in different positions, as were our bodies: during o goshi we had our arms around our opponents’ waists; tsurikomi goshi involved  having our right elbows under uke’s left armpit; koshi guruma had us on our right knees with our right arms tightly wrapped around uke’s shoulders. All of the hip throws were very powerful and effective.

ayjay

February 7, 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