Friday, March 06, 2009

Trying something new

Since I consider myself to be in a constant-learning mode as to how to teach the kids' judo classes, I think I'm going to be trying something new with their ashiwaza starting this month.
It is just too darn difficult to teach a diverse group of kids to do footsweeps.  Let me rephrase that - they can do the footsweeps but they can't call their shots, as in telling them, "do osotogari," and having them actually do osotogari.  Half of them will be doing kouchi or ouchi or something, and I'm just plain tired of telling them, "No, do it with this leg, this way," when what they are doing is making the guy fall down anyway.
Here's what I think I'll try.  I am going to stop teaching these throws in the kids class:
  • osotogari
  • kosotogari
  • ouchigari
  • kouchigari
  • deashibarai
...and I will replace that set of throws with a motion program that goes something like this:
  • push uke
  • grab either of his ankles with the bottom of either of your feet however you can
  • push/pull the foot out from under him with your leg
  • push/pull uke into the hole with your arms
I think I can approximate those five throws with this one program, and let the kids develop whichever specific throws work for them in randori.  If this works like it seems it might, It could leave us with a lot of free time.  We might have to break out one or two of these throws:
  • kubinage (A.K.A. pancake)
  • taiotoshi as a response to when the above push-sweep-pull program doesn't work
  • legpick & sprawl or snapdown defense
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  1. Very interesting. Please let us know how this approach develops. Maybe a book one day!?

    As you probably know, Kawaishi introduced the colored belt system for kyu grades when he started teaching Judo to the Europeans, and -- more to the point -- a numerical system for codifying techniques. E.g.

    1st leg throw = O soto gari = Major outer reap
    2nd leg throw = De ashi barai
    5th hip throw = Harai goshi
    etc. etc.

    So even today descendants of his approach learn "the 1st leg throw" and its action before learning the Japanese name.

    It seems to me that your approach -- if I understand it correctly! -- has the advantage of building in some instruction via (English) description.

  2. That is exactly how I approach learning throws as an adult, so why limit it to kids? Abstract is much better as it groups things in the mind so the common principle is learned and multiple throws can be learned faster imho.

    Memorizing funny names and moves by rote is not at all helpful to me. Who cares about the label or the specifics if you can actually pull off and internalize the body dynamics? One can learn the specific names later. Learning the moves is more important.

  3. Anonymous dude, Good point. One actually that I have been mulling over in my teaching for a while. See this post from a vouple of years ago to sorta see the direction my thoughts have been running...

  4. I agree with your other post as well. I'd rather learn TEN throws, not 40 or 69 or 75 or 100. I don't know about wrestling (seems like they favor ura nage too much) but this idea is why I like certain templates, for example, "brush knee" from tai chi. That same basic dynamic is present in a great many throws. Only the grips and exact relative positions of the people are different. For example, soto makikomi and uchi makikomi - I could care less that judo wants to consider those moves two separate throws. They are almost the same movement, just adjusted somewhat. When does a variation stop being a variation? I think the classification should be as wide as possible, at least at first. Hair splitting can be done by advanced folks or academic types.

    Incidentally, I like how Tim Cartmell reclassifies throws based on the motion done to the opponent - arc, circle, or spiral. However, that doesn't necessarily help me as much as thinking "brush knee" in a very abstract way does.


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