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Who's controlling who?


Photo courtesy of The US Army
I don't think this is really a set rule in judo, but in my book, it's not really a hold-down if uke is also holding tori in place. If tori can't get up and get away quickly and easily, it's not really a hold-down but more of a tangle. There are a couple of common implications of this pseudo-rule:
  • Leg entanglement ends a hold-down. If uke can get control of tori's leg then he can prevent tori from easily escaping. By playing newaza this way, we don't have to worry too much about leglocks because we're working on preventing or diffusing the positional pre-requisite for a leglock. If you're going to hold uke down, don't let him grab or entangle your leg. Thus, in judo, leglock is sort of assumed if you can get a leg entanglement.
  • The guard doesn't count as a hold even if the top man is pressing the bottom man's shoulders down. With legs around, the bottom man is preventing much of top man's control, while positioning for various counters and escapes of his own. It is difficult to free yourself from uke's legs while retaining good control over his torso.
  • What about holds in which uke is free to hug your head or torso? I say that those are still holds because it is usually trivial to use your body weight and leg strength to break uke's arm hold such that you can escape.
So, one way to improve your control of uke is to prevent him from controlling you. Try it. You might like playing it that way.
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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
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