Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ogoshi and tsurigoshi

Last week I posted an article about the difference between ukigoshi and ogoshi and I used a cool hipthrow picture that I found on Flickr.  The problem was, The throw shown was tsurigoshi - not ukigoshi or ogoshi.  I knew that at the time, but the picture was so cool that I wanted to use it anyway.
I said to myself, "I bet if anyone in the world comments that the picture was tsurigoshi instead of ogoshi, it'll be Sensei Chad Morrison at Akari dojo."  Don't know how I made that prediction, but sure enough, a day or two later, Chad sent me a note about my photo of tsurigoshi. ;-)
My initial response (inside my own mind) was that those two throws are really the same thing - that tsurigoshi and ogoshi are not really distinctly different techniques.  The grip-or-not thing is a false distinction.
But there really is a difference betwen these two techniques even if I tend to minimize it...
  • The fundamental difference is that ogoshi is a pushing action while tsurigoshi is a pulling action.
  • This basic push-pull difference leads to a secondary difference in hand placement.  Because ogoshi is about pushing uke over your hips, a higher hand placement on the back gives you greater leverage.
  • Because you can't easily push uke over your hip with a low hand position, if your hand ends up low on uke's back then you naturally have to take a grip and pull, or lift.  Thus the name, tsurigoshi (pulling/lifting hip).
Sure, you can do ogoshi with a low hand placement, but because of the sorry leverage, it's hard to keep this throw from covertly becoming tsurigoshi.  It's also rougher on tori's shoulder trying to do low-grip ogoshi - especially with a larger uke.

I probably ought to do a better job teaching the difference between these two throws, because it would probably fix some problems and confusion that some of my students have with the action of ogoshi and tsurigoshi...
If you have trouble distinguishing between these two throws, then here's something to try. Get a compliant uke and go slowly and lightly through a few minutes of trading throws, alternating between tsurigoshi and ogoshi, taking time to emphasize "ogoshi-high-push" and "tsurigoshi-low-pull."  I think the differences will become clearer and these throws will become more distinctive and useful for you. 

Patrick Parker

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