Monday, April 20, 2009

Don't step forward

Photo courtesy of Amerigoland
A year or two ago, an instructor who has been doing judo for a long, long time gave my class a rule of thumb to watch for in judo randori and shiai. I was surprised because I'd never noticed this particular phenomenon before. What he said was:
  • Larger players don't like to move forward. They tend to hang back and pull because when they advance they are more easily loaded up on top of hip throws and shoulder throws.
  • Smaller players don't like to move backward because they get overwhelmed by the advancing larger guy.
As I said, I hadn't noticed, but I've watched for it since then and haven't really found enough evidence to support it as a rule or to refute it. I agree that I personally, as a larger-than-average player, like to hang back and wait, but that may just be me.
Have you guys noticed any patterns like this in randori or shiai?
Patrick Parker, is a Christian, husband, father, judo and aikido teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: or phone 601.248.7282
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  1. I have actully noticed that when a larger Judoka gets thrown in this way, he/she is more careful when moving.

  2. I haven't ever really noted that one way or the other, but I would call bs on smaller players not liking to move backwards. The lil' fellas (the good ones, at least) love to pull an advancing foe right over top of them. Thus the popularity of the drop seoi and other "get low" techniques with the wee folk.

  3. Inexperienced hard style fighters tend to hang back and attack go no sen or sen no sen. This makes a lot of sense as it reduces the exposure that comes from telegraphing moves, and it allows the fighter to pair up a response to the attack. Experienced fighters (and those knock out artists) however tend to be happy to advance aggressively and attack sen no sen or sen sen no sen. The forward pressure allows them to dictate their own timing and pace.

    I'm unsure to say how bigger or smaller guys would react. I am typically shorter than average, and I know bigger opponents who've made the mistakes of trying to blunder into me. If they're less experienced they're going to get hurt irrespective of how large they are.

    Traditional Taekwondo

  4. Donno, Chad, nost of the times that I've been hammered by a smaller seoinage artist they throw it advancing to a position between your feet. They are moving forward to throw those throws - not hanging back and pulling.

  5. Fair point... I suppose with seoi it is more of uke moving forward, not so much tori moving backwards... I still don't think that small guys mind moving backwards against bigger opponents.

  6. the larger guys often don't move at all IMLE. then it's difficult as a smaller guy to create some momentum to find kuzushi

  7. I also haven't really noticed this enough to confirm or deny. One thing that I do know is that little guys tend to stand less upright. They tend to keep their legs back a lot more, while big guys tend to stand a bit more straight. I think it has to do with leg speed; little guys have to worry about their opponents jumping right into them.

    Maybe the fact that little guys tend to sprawl more is a reason why they may not move backwards enough.


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