Friday, 9 March 2012

High Grips

My first lesson as a green belt last night so I was kind of looking forward to it more than usual. Of course it didn’t change anything as I am still the lowest graded senior but the darker colored belt certainly looks better tied around my waist than the brightly colored Orange and Yellow ones.

As part of our warm up we did three rounds of Newaza before Big Stuart took over the class for tonight. On the agenda were techniques against high grips. Now I have recently adopted a high grip myself as I am nearly always taller than my opponent however it’s useful to know how someone might use that grip against me.

We started with Yoko-tomoe-nage, a sacrifice throw that I was told people rarely attempt in Shiai due to the risks of your opponent falling on top of you and thus being able to secure a pin easily if the throw is not successful. However it’s probably quite a good technique to use against those opponents who are bent over at the waist and are being very defensive, like the guy who beat my recently in the competition I entered.
Next up was a knee assisted Ura-nage, a throw I have never attempted before, probably because it’s in the brown belt syllabus. Due to the heavy nature of the fall got the crash mat out and all took turns throwing everyone else. Considering this was my first attempt it seemed to go ok.

The last throw Stuart showed us was a left handed Uki-goshi. The reason we did this left handed is because Uke’s high grip has left a nice big space from which we can easily put our left arm around their waist. It worked best as a counter against a right handed Harai-goshi.

Following some cross grip throws which I cannot remember fully this late in the day we did something that I had never done before and that was to practice throws from our knees. This sounds odd but in reality I think it’s a great way of teaching senior beginners how to throw without the fear of being hurt. None of us at my club are under 30 so it’s also nice to practice repetitiously without putting undue pressure on our aging joints. The throws we practiced were Sumi-gaeshi, O-uchi-gari and Seoi-otoshi. On throwing Stewart with Seoi-otoshi I was actually able to get him airborne.

Big Stuart very rarely takes the senior class, although he does regularly teach the juniors, but I was very impressed with his teaching style and the content of this class and I look forward to more classes being taught by him.

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