Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The great morotegari debate

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
Morotegari (the double-leg pick) is a second-rate, second-class judo move - not even a technique - just a move - at least that is some folks' opinion. Crude wrestling. Ugly judo! There are definitely two sides to this debate, both with some reasoning behind them. I thought I'd suggest a few points on each side.
One side says that morotegari is not good judo, because...
  • ...with both hands on uke's legs, it is hard to control uke's upper body during the fall (control being one of the key components of the ippon - the instant victory by perfect technique).
  • ...the lack of control may make morotegari unsafe.
  • Morotegari tends to lead to newaza (ground grappling) and a war of attrition instead of promoting ippon judo.
  • It's too easy to grab legs - it doesn't take much skill - so it makes for poor physical education - sort of like buttflopping (ahem... pulling guard) in BJJ.
  • It's a brute-force technique, lacking the elegance of the rest of the judo syllabus.
The other side says that morotegari is a valid technique because...
  • ...it keeps the participants honest. Knowing that morotegari can happen at any time makes everybody play more careful judo.
  • ...knowing how to defend against leg picks is important in the context of self-defense.
  • ...it promotes skill in hamarejudo (separated judo) as Tomiki called it, or 'no-hands judo' as some other proponents are calling it now.
  • ...it tends to completely scramble uke's defenses (even moreso than most judo techniques), leaving him wide open to newaza attacks.
  • ...to throw it for ippon or to specialize in morotegari in contest requires great strength and stamina, thus making it great for physical education.
So, what do you say? Are you pro- or anti-? Are your reasons among the ones I listed or do you have other reasons you do or don't like it? Want to try to refute one of the points above? Leave me a comment.
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282
Suggested great books on aikido, judo, and strategy.
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