Sunday, September 21, 2008

Interesting testimonial

Yesterday one of my judo guys - a new white belt that's only been to about 3 classes - told me he'd been talking to a guy at home that had done some judo before. The guy asked him, "Show me what you've been learning." The student demurred but upon the insistence of the old-head judo guy, he said, "Well, we've been working on deashibarai."
"That's the advanced leg sweep, right?" Said the old-head.
"Well, show me how you do it."
(student does deashibarai)
"Whoa! that was cool. I've never seen it like that. Show me how to do that!"
I like it when my white belts and yellow belts surprise their friends who have been doing this stuff for longer. (But don't take this to mean that I want you to start way-laying passers-by to validate your martial arts practice.)


  1. So you have your lower belts start with the gokyo then?

    Looking at the Canon of Judo, etc. I get the feeling that the different levels of the gokyo are supposed to teach certain skills that build on each other. But I haven't seen anything written that explains that progression. Do you have any insight?

    Also, what do you think of starting each person with a throw that suits them or that they're interested in instead of the gokyo?

  2. Yep, we start out with the gokyo - though not quite in the order presented in kano's book or the canon.

    There is a rationality to the progression of techniques in the gokyo, though it is very hard for me to explain concisely without laying hands on you.

    we teach easier-to-fall-for techniques earlier, while the student is learning to fall safely. For that reason i'd be hesitant to change to a routine where we teach the student what we think fits them or what they are interested in first.

    to some degree, if you let the student pick the techniques or if you let competition performance dictate the progression of technique then you end up with a bunch of folks that do nothing but leg picks and osotogari and makikomi.

    I'll see what I can d oto get into this topic more in some upcoming posts. Until then, I'd recommend you get a couple of Karl Geis' judo dvds and watch them a few times. you can get them at the following link...

    i highly recommend the following titles as a first start to watching karl's videos:
    Basic elements of Ashiwaza vol 1&2
    Kuzushi vol #1 and 2

  3. Pat,
    Thanks for that.

    I have Steve Cunningham's videos on the first two sections of the gokyo. Rather than explain the gokyo in terms of ukemi as most people do, he says the sections are different due to their different uses of power. I didn't quite get his distinction the first time I watched them. He was saying the second section adds a rotational power to the throws that the first section doesn't have. The problem for me is that when you add entry variations to the first section, you use some of the same power that is developed in the second section. So it's hard for me to distinguish.

    BTW, those Cunningham videos are awesome. He takes a very soft approach to judo.

    As to selecting throws, I don't get a chance in our kind of randori to practice timing a lot for techniques I'm not comfortable with. For example, the only foot sweep-ish type throw I can make work is yoko-gake. Again, our randori is very shiai based.

    Finally, I was listening to Rhadi last night and he said that players with long legs go for most of the ashi-waza while we short players tend to use waist and shoulder throws. Maybe that's why I have such trouble pulling off the gokyo first section?

  4. Rhadi is a great guy to be listening to about judo, and he is right in his generalization that longer legged folks tend to prefer sweeps over hipthrows and pickups - but that is not anywhere near universal.

    Karl Geis (for instance) is widely acknowledged as the greatest master of footsweeps in the world and he is not an especially tall guy. In fact, if I were looking at a white belt built like Karl, I'd bet he would turn out to be a hip throw guy.

    I'm not sure if the deciding factor is some personal ability in the individual judoka or if it just depends on who your teacher is as to what your tokuiwaza ends up being.

    I just need to get a chance to play with you for a while and I bet I could turn you into a footsweeping monster! That is, if you didn't break me first with some sort of full bodyweight flying yokogake ;-) Maybe you need to take an extended vacation and come play with me in Magnolia...

    or fly me to Taiwan...


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