As we currently have two beginners in the senior’s class it means that we are going over ground already covered on numerous occasions. However I look at this in a positive way as it means I get to re-visit techniques like Kesa-gatame and Uki-goshi and each time I do I find little ways of improving my technique.
For example, Stewart showed the beginners and the rest of us Tai-otoshi which to be fair is a technique I’ve never really been comfortable with. To make it more interesting for the higher grades he showed us a couple of different gripping variations. The first was to plant the elbow of the collar hand under the armpit of uki. Both Oli and I found that we were able to generate a lot more power when performing the throw in this way and in fact Oli probably threw me harder than I have even been thrown when he first did it on me.
The second variation was to put the collar hand underneath uki’s left arm, thus gaining an underhook. I would assume this is the way one would perform Tai-otoshi without a gi.
We went on to Tani-otoshi which is in the blue belt syllabus and is a technique that I do favour in randori. To make it more interesting we used it as a counter to a failed Tai-otoshi.
Stewart then told us to pair up from some randori, with an emphasis on trying the techniques that we had just been shown. I squared up against Oli and to be honest our randori was probably closer to shiai. Neither of us managed to throw the other but I was pleased that I was able to negate Oli’s attempts at obtaining a dominant grip against me. Normally when we randori Oli and Big Stuart both dominate with grips and subsequently are then able to rag doll me around the tatami but the gripping drills that we do at Yoshin Ryu appear to be paying off.
Next up was Chris, one of the beginners, who assumed wrongly that I was going to bury him in to the mat. I told him to just try all the throws he had been taught and not once did I attempt to throw him. I didn’t make it too easy for him though and only took the fall if he got most of the components right, which he did on his last Tai-otoshi attempt.
My last randori was with Peter whom I managed to throw a couple of times with O-uchi-gari
We went on to some ground work afterwards and Kami-shiho-gatame and the various escapes were on the menu. I worked with both Chris and Andrew he seemed to have got the hang of this pretty well.
We finished up with Okuri-ashi-barai or the oomph throw as Graeme likes to call it. The reason why it’s called that becomes apparent as you hit the ground and all the air leaves your lungs.
We first practised this in the usual “strictly come dancing” way which makes it easier to get the timing right, and then practised it in a more alive way where you pull uki towards you in a circular motion and then sweep his legs as he steps in. I was paired with Andrew for this and was particularly pleased that I was able to not only time it right every time but was also able to cushion his fall buy holding on to him. He did struggle getting the timing right with this but I assured him that this is a particularly difficult throw to get the hang of as timing is everything.
Stewart mentioned to everyone, including me that they will look at grading us all by the end of term. I told him that there are several throws on the blue belt syllabus which I have not even tried before so hopefully this will be addressed in the coming weeks.