Monday, June 01, 2009

Slow-motion otoshi and guruma

To get a good handle on the meaning of otoshi and guruma in aikido and judo, you need to watch some slo-mo video.  Check out this guy...
Things to notice:
  • As the guy's feet separate his center drops.  As the feet come together, the center rises.
  • As his moving foot strikes the ground, his shoulders are both facing the striking foot and he is leaning slightly over that striking foot.
  • As he gets ready to pick up his back foot each time, his shoulders rotate and his back tightens to straighten him up a bit.
This dropping forward motion that is occurring during a footstrike is called otoshi.  The twisting and straightening motion that is happening just after a footstrike or just before the other foot takes off, is called guruma.
  • otoshi is dropping into a footstrike.
  • guruma is turning and rising out of a footstrike.
There's certainly more to otoshi-guruma than this, or I wouldn't be able to get a month's worth of posts out of it, but this is one of the most important fundamental lessons.  Watch the video again and count his footsteps, saying to yourself, "otoshi, guruma, otoshi, guruma..."  See as you walk down the street naturally, aren't you leaning and turning into each footfall a bit (otoshi), and twisting and rising out of each footfall (guruma).
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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