Posts Tagged ‘throws’

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 3

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

When learning a new sport or martial art, your previous experience may help; at other times that experience may hinder you as you have to forget that muscle memory which you spent days, months, or years perfecting. Our class yesterday reinforced how difficult it was to learn a simple movement when another is imprinted on your brain: the little movement of sweeping the side of your foot against the floor in order to execute de ashi harai (advanced foot sweep) is harder than it looks.

De Ashi Harai was developed to take out the lead foot when someone walked forward. On its own it doesn’t look like much: tori doesn’t have to lift uke; tori is in little danger (unless uke knows the counter) as his back isn’t exposed and he is far enough way from uke that there is limited physical contact; uke’s breakfall is not spectacular. Put all the elements together, though, correctly and forcefully, and the throw is a shock to both parties because it happens so smoothly and quickly.

Last night we had four big guys working on this throw. After I explained the individual elements of the throw and then demonstrated the throw on Dave several times, the guys paired up and practiced. The most difficult part of this throw is the sweep. This is not just taking your foot and wiping out uke’s leg; this is coordinating your entire body such that your foot makes contact with his foot and you take him down. This involves sweeping along the floor with the side of your foot, and having a straight leg and a strong hip movement. In addition, with one hand on his lapel and the other on his sleeve, your arms make a turning motion as though you’re driving a bus, in order to torque him over. All of this must happen at once.

The sweeping motion can be difficult to do if your natural reaction is to lift the foot because you played a lot of soccer or hook his foot or calf with your foot or heel because your experience has taught you to take someone to the ground. If you normally would bend your knee doing these movements, having your leg straight and moving your hips in conjunction with that foot and leg would be difficult. These are some of the issues we encountered.

In order to practice the motion of sweeping the side of the foot against the floor and having the hips and straight leg involved in the movement, Dave suggested the guys take small punching pads and kick them across the mats to one another. If the movement is correct the pad whips across the floor smoothly. If done incorrectly, the pad bounces along the mat. In order to move smoothly along the mat, the foot must sweep along the mat, the leg must be straight and the hip coordinated with the leg. After doing this for a few minutes, their sweeps were far better. It’s the little things.

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

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

ayjay

April 18, 2009

Judo Throws for the Non-Judo Practitioner – Pt 2

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Last Friday, we split up our class: Mike and I were working with two white belts on their yellow belt throws, while Dave took Francisco aside to work on judo throws specifically for his tournament. In Part 1 of this series, I mentioned that Francisco will be entering the NAGA world championships in early April. He needed to work on judo throws to take his opponent down and be in his control when the judo throw was complete. This series covers judo throws for the non-judo practitioner – throws which can be learned relatively quickly and are specific to certain body positions which the opponents have when they begin.  Since I didn’t work with Francisco during this class, Dave will write about their working on tani otoshi valley drop, both a defensive version and an aggressive version. 

Dave Here:

We chose Tani Otoshi for a number of reasons.  It’s a great throw if set up correctly (I guess all of them are! :) ), can be used either as a counter or as an attack, and it ends with either tate shiho gatame (full mount) or kesa gatame (scarf hold).

The key to Tani Otoshi, particularly when used as a counter to a forward throw such as koshi guruma (or most any other forward throw), is a very strong and pre-emptive hip thrust coupled with a forward step with the left leg (assuming countering a right-handed throw), breaking uke’s balance to the rear quarter. 

Once you’ve done that, the left hand reaches up and grasps the back of the collar, the left leg stretches across and behind uke’s legs, blocking both of them, and you drop your weight to the ground, dragging uke with you and throwing him to the rear.  While in mid-fall, either turn, straddle, and come up to tate shiho gatame, or sit through into kesa gatame.

An attacking form of Tani Otoshi is similar except you’ll be initiating the movement.  Duck under uke’s right arm or attack at his right wrist to force his arm across his body, step strongly to his side while breaking his balance with a hip thrust and rearward pull of your right arm, grasp the back of his collar with your left hand and drop and throw to the rear.

Te Guruma could also be used in either of the above cases, but we felt that Tani Otoshi would be easier to pick up for a person new to throwing and be successful within a short time frame.

Back to Angi:

Other throws which are relatively straightforward and easily learned are Ko Uchi Gari – minor inner reaping, and Ko Soto Gari – minor outer reaping. In both cases, though, the opponent cannot be leaning forward dramatically as they tend to do at the beginning of the BJJ matches. These throws are better suited to situations in which the opponent is standing upright.

In the first case, you would be pushing him to his right back corner, hand high on the collar or lapel. If he is difficult to move backward, jolt him forward for a fraction of a second. As he straightens up to avoid a forward throw, pull him backward at the same time as you move between his legs with your right foot. Bring your left foot up behind your right to balance yourself. Take your right foot and reap his right ankle, while pulling him back. As he falls to the ground, follow him. You will be in an ideal position for a partial mount.

In the second case, ko soto gari, you will be positioning yourself to the outside of your opponent’s body, to his right side. Once again, jolt him forward slightly. As he compensates for this by straightening up, move to his outside, first with your left foot and then with your right to balance. Use your left foot to reap out his right ankle while, at the same time, pull his right sleeve back with your left hand and push with your right hand as you grip the lapel. He will fall to his right back corner. Follow him to the ground. Retain your grip on his right arm, and quickly move your right arm around his shoulders while you sit out into kesa gatame.

This completes our preliminary series on judo throws for the non-judo practitioner. I hope you found it useful. For detailed videos of judo throws, go to the Traditional Judo section of this website; videos of no-gi throws are in the Judo for MMA section of this site. 

Click here to go to Judo Throws for the Non-Judo Practitioner – Pt 1

ayjay

March 18, 2009