Thursday, April 09, 2009

Suwariwaza in amateur wrestling

Contrary to some folks' opinions, suwari does not suck! In fact, probably the most commonly used technique in BJJ matches (and pretty darn common in judo and amateur wrestling) is a suwariwaza technique - the shoot into the single leg pick!
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I can imagine all the aikido purists as well as all the hardcore BJJ guys out there grimacing in horror. Well, as a very basic example, check out the following video...

What? You don't think that counts as suwariwaza? It happens on the knees, there is movement on the knees (shikko or kyoshi) and an expression of principle. It just does not start with both parties in seiza drinking tea.
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  1. I agree about ground work as suwari waza. Hussey Sensei has really been opening my eyes to the suwari/ne waza combination.

  2. Sooo... I am only a beginner Aikidoka, and I don't know suwari other than what I have seen when I got to Judo class early and the Aiki guys were doing some questionable stuff on their knees... That said, that leg pick (and pretty much any leg pick that springs to mind) doesn't strike me as very Aiki-like. There is no following there...

  3. Ha, questionable indeed, Chad. But that leg pick is very aiki. Think about it as a weird version of gedanate (in judo called sukuinage)

    He is following in that he first tugs the arm to provoke a reaction (like in ichikata and gokata in aikido) and then, when uke pulls back he follows that motion into the leg.

    I don't remember if it's in this vid or the next one in the series(I can't watch the vids at work) but he demonstrates driving upward to your feet as uke bounces around trying to get his leg back. (That's following) Then he finishes (definitely in the next vid) with a footsweep/clothesline combo that is essentially iriminage in aikido.

    I have been trying to figure out how to respond to your question a couple of months ago about how aikido principle is shown on the ground, and have floundered. I think this recent set of suwari videos might be a direction of attack for me on that question. Stay tuned.

  4. If you are using good body dynamics, you are doing Aiki. Ne waza is Aiki too. Judo done correctly is Aiki too.

    Patrick I have been thinking about this alot too. (3d aiki on my blog) I am retooling training in my school to start from maai and finish on the ground if that is where the energy goes. Finding aiki and ju in all situations in all ranges is the goal!

  5. Okay... Maybe I am just carrying my thinking about "following" too far... I'm with you through when tori grabs the leg. And if tori hops up, rising with him does indeed seem aiki-like, as does finishing with a clothesline/sweep. Here is where I need some firming up of my understanding... What about the down cycle of the hop? Uke will be putting some serious straight-down pressure on that leg, but you wouldn't want to follow that anymore, non? And if uke doesn't hop, but tries to twist instead, following from that position would be troublesome, as uke would necessarily be the axis around which tori needed to rotate... Of course, tori can just crank the hip and drag uke down... Fine technique, but is it aiki?

    Mr. Strange: regarding the statement that judo done correctly is aiki, too, I am not so sure that I agree... Judo done like aiki is aiki, and that can certainly be doing judo correctly... A sub-set of doing it correctly. From my understanding, the aikidoka responds to uke's aggression until uke completely screws himself… or maybe until it is very easy for tori to give him a little nudge into total-screwedness. The judoka seems to have more of a green light to be a more active nudger. Working uke a bit to get a dominant grip (one that diminishes his strength units or amplifies mine) is still correct judo. Pushing/pulling/feinting/etc to get a reaction to use is still correct judo. It isn't necessarily effortless judo, but effortless is rarely achievable, even for the best. Now, once again, I allow for the possibility that I don't have the best understanding of Aiki... But as of now, I respectfully disagree...

  6. Pushing/pulling/feinting/etc to get a reaction to use is still correct judo?

    Is it correct, or is it what people do? These things can be both incorrect and correct in both aiki and ju (same thing)

    Effortless is rarely achievable, even for the best. This is true in both Judo and Aikido. In Aikido it becomes more achievable because the game gears towards it...IE you attack, I do technique. When 2 people are doing technique it becomes just as difficult to reach the results of effortlessness.

    As far as the statement you disagree with - it is not my original. Charles Clark 8th dan said online Judo and Aikido are basically the same. Matl Sensei 8th dan said "Aikdio is perfect Judo" to me last week. Tomiki sensei believed the differences was in the range, but beyond that Aikido completed Judo - and vice versa. From my understanding he saw Aikido as ranged Judo.

    So feel free to disagree. I suggest thinking outside the box and looking at everything that is the maximum efficiency with minimum effort.

  7. "I have been trying to figure out how to respond to your question a couple of months ago about how aikido principle is shown on the ground, and have floundered."

    How about this?

  8. The character "ai" if you look it up, means to join or fit. "Harmony" is maybe a second order definition.


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