Thursday, 18 April 2013

Space, the final frontier

This was the first class back at DJC since the Easter break, although I had trained at Yoshin Ryu and Nova Forca in the interim.

Peter had us warm up with some assisted break falls from a kneeling position. Then we practised rear breakfalls by pushing each other backwards. The person doing the breakfall had to do so with their eyes closed, which makes certainly made it interesting.

The warm up progressed in to some light newaza and I made a conscious effort to practise my top game, which I definitely need to do. I was actually quite pleased that I was able to hold Oli’s legs down on one side and sort of cartwheel to the other side where I had him in Mune-gatame. He was quick to turn away from me and roll on to his stomach so got my hooks in and attempted to roll on to his side. I was actually looking to get something similar to a hell strange or bow and arrow choke after seeing this lovely technique on the E-Judo forum.

Unfortunately I was sure about all the parts of this choke which gave Oli the opportunity to escape.

I found another nice entry to a choke, this time a San-gaku-jime, by the same person so thought I’d share this as well. I was actually very close to getting this one to work at Nova Forca last week.

We paused briefly to go over a Juji-gatame from the top position when Uke has one leg trapped (half guard) and then back on to Newaza. With many of the seniors still out injured I was paired with one of our juniors who was about 14. I was reminded that I am not allowed to armlock or choke anyone under the age of 16 in Judo, but I had no intention of being that rough anyway. I ended rolling with 3 of the juniors, all of whom were around 14-15 years old. I made a real conscious effort not to use any strength instead relying on pure technique to sweep them and go from hold to hold. Occasionally, when an obvious opportunity presented itself to apply a choke or an armlock I simply got in to position to do so and then verbally told them, or in the case of applying a Juji-gatame I held their bent arm but did not extend it. I was impressed with all the juniors, especially the last Orange belt I rolled with who had this annoying habit of trapping my leg in half guard every time I swept him.

We probably spent around an hour doing Newaza, either randori or techniques, which was really good. The last half an hour of the class was spent standing or being thrown. With the same partner, which for me was the junior orange belt, we were told to do throw for throw Tai-otoshi’s. This junior had really good technique and did that springy thing with his outstretched leg which really made me fly through the air. Most of the seniors are not able to do this, usually due to not being as flexible as the youngsters and not wanting to put that amount of stress on the old knee joints but the juniors certainly showed me up with regards to good technique. We then changed it slightly so that Uke had stepped over our first tai-otoshi attempt and tori had to attack with Tai-otoshi again but this time a really low down version. This was a good exercise as it got you in to the habit of stringing techniques together in an attack rather than just trying one and stopping, then trying another and stopping again. I felt I was doing well as my young Uke was easily airborne, however when I changed partners and paired up with Ynez she pointed out that my Tai-otoshi had too much hip in it. Duncan agreed and said the reason was that I was to close; I needed more space between me and Ynez so that I had somewhere to throw her in to. I think with my previous Uke, who was very light, it didn’t matter as much as I was simply able to strong arm him to the ground but against someone as experienced as Ynez my poor technique soon showed up. Being too close to uke was something that Roman Stawisinski, the coach to Aneta Szczepanska, pointed out to me at the seminar I attended last month. On that occasion I was practising Uchi-mata, but the principle is the same. Whilst the rest of the class practised doing other combinations using Tai-otoshi, for example O-uchi-gari, Ko-uchi-gari, Tai-otoshi, I decided to stick with Tai-otoshi on its own and try to get it working better, which I did but it still wasn’t perfect.

We finished up with some light randori, which was the prefect end to a very good enjoyable session.


  1. Hi Stuart, congratulations for your blog it's very interesting. I got a question for you and it'd be very useful to read your comment.
    What do you think of the style of Judo used by fighters such as Flavio Canto or Ludwig Paischer. The style used by these guys is very focus on sutemi waza and transition to newaza. They almost never use hip entries or other traditional techniques. Their style is almost like BJJ. Have you ever faced someone with a style like that? It is correct to specialize in sutemi?
    Thank you very much.

  2. Falvio Canto and Ludwig Paischer are both very good at Newaza and therefore using sacrifice throws to get their opponents to the ground is simply fighting to their strengths. Of course Flavio is also a BJJ black belt so it’s no surprise that Newaza is his strength. As long as they make genuine attempts at the sacrifice throws and don’t start pulling guard just to engage their opponents on the ground I don’t have a problem with it.
    The BJJ’ers that I have done tachiwaza randori against play Judo when they do Judo. Normally randori is either Newaza or Tachiwaza, we rarely get to continue in to newaza following a throw, so there is little point in attempting a sacrifice throw just to engage newaza.
    I think people specialize in whatever their strengths are, be that Sumi-gaeshi & tomae-nage or harai-goshi & uchi-mata. The darker your belt colour gets the more important it is to get out of your comfort zone and learn other techniques, some of which may not suit your body shape. For example, due to my height, I would never attempt a seoi-nage in shiai but I’d have ago in randori where it doesn’t matter if it works or not.