Friday, 1 November 2013

One Handed Tai-otoshi - Yoshin Ryu

With DJC closed for the half term holidays I made my way to Yoshin Ryu for another randori session and this time I was accompanied by Jadon.

Last week I mentioned that there was a low turnout, for this club anyway. Well this week there were only seven of us present. 3 dan grades, 2 brown belts and 2 blue belts. This was most likely due to it being half term and Halloween. However as per last week this didn’t affect the quality of the coaching or the lesson.

Following the warm up, which lasted about 15-20 minutes, we practised the footwork entry for tai-otoshi. This was done with a partner walking up and down the mat. We first practised it walking backwards and then did it walking forward and also moving sideways.

Sensei Neil then had us add the arm movement but instead of taking the normal collar grip with our right hand, assuming you are doing a right handed Tai-otoshi, we instead planted our right hand in the crook of ukes left arm.

Here’s two time Olympian, Travis Stevens, doing the exact variation of Tai-otoshi that we practised.

We got plenty of practise in with this throw, doing it first statically and then on the move, both left and right sided. We also swapped partners a number of times so we got to practice on different shaped people.

We then had spell of about 5 minutes were Sensei Neil called out throws which we had to do on our partner. Last week the throws were all dan grade theory level with names I had never heard of but this week they were a lot more familiar. I like this drill as it gets you to think on your feet and use throws that you wouldn’t normally choose to do.

Before the newaza randori started, the crash mat was brought out for some Ura-nage practise. Despite my uke being 102kg I managed to get him airbourne enough. Next up was Kata-guruma, a throw I found a lot harder to perform on my considerably heavier uke. I remember struggling with this in my blue belt grading and unfortunately the throw is now part of the brown belt grading so there’s no escaping it for me.

3 rounds of Newaza randori followed, all 3 were against dan grades. The first two ended largely in a stalemate, with me on my back trying in vain to sweep or submit. On the plus side I was able to nullify their submission attempts and keep them in my guard. My last spar was against Sensei Neil who slowly set me up for virtually the same pass every time. Putting his left arm under my right leg and grabbing my collar he stacked me and slowly passed to my right where he kept hold of my right leg and pinned me. I tried a San-gaku-jime on a couple of occasions but never really had enough control to do this. One thing he did point out to me was that I need to attack more quickly when I’m on my back, before he gets settled. Attacking him first would put him on the defensive and make him weary of doing anything against me.

My first round of tachiwaza randori was against Jadon and we both executed a few successful throws on each other. I caught him with an O-uchi-gari and a tani-otoshi and he caught me with a nice uchi-mata feint to Sumi-gaeshi. The last two rounds of randori were largely uneventful but I did at least attempt a few throws which were duly blocked by my dan grade ukes.

So that’s two weeks running I’ve been to Yoshin Ryu, will I make it a hat trick next week???


I’ve been very keen on revisiting the club as I really enjoyed the training on my last visit.

Yoshin Ryu has the strongest general level of newaza out of any club I have trained at, so it’s a great opportunity for me to learn to adapt to the judo style of groundwork, and they don’t have any secret to it, they clearly just put the time in on the ground. Can’t have upstart BJJ folk think they know it all!

Standing wise I received some useful corrections to my Tai otoshi and Uchimata.

Something that stuck with me this training session is not only are the dan grades helpful, they are also very encouraging. As a full time professional outdoor instructor I feel I have quite a bit of knowledge on good coaching and instructing, and positive encouragement is very important. We all like to pretend we are big tough men or maybe I’m just a wuss, but when someone compliments me in training it makes me feel good. And that makes me want to train harder to improve even more, and that makes me a better judoka.

So kudos to Yoshin Ryu, I feel battered and exhausted. I left a lot of DNA on the mat and I am going to hurt tomorrow. But mentally I feel reinvigorated to do MORE!.

Harder, better, faster, stronger.

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