Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hizaguruma and sasae tsurikomiashi

Another pair of techniques that cause beginners much confusion is hizaguruma and sasae tsurikomiashi but once it's explained and you have a chance to practice each of these things slowly and carefully a few times, this mix-up is easy to resolve.  Hiza and sasae are different in several ways:
  • Action - Hiza is a guruma and sasae is usually an otoshi.  This means that the primary action of hiza involves rotating uke around his long-axis, like rolling a log.  Sasae is usually done as an otoshi, or a cartwheeling action.
  • Target - The difference between these two techniques is not a simple matter of targeting the knee vs. the ankle.  In hiza you target the knee of the rear leg.  In sasae you target the ankle of the front foot.  It is possible to sorta get these throws to work the other way around, but you're pretty much asking for trouble if you don't do them this way.
  • Timing - Hiza happens early, as the rear leg is just starting to move forward.  Sasae happens late, as the front foot is just about to strike the ground.
So, the way I'd recommend getting these differences internalized is to practice slowly with a compliant partner, emphasizing as you practice, "hiza-early-back knee-logroll" and "sasae-late-front foot-cartwheel."

Here's one of the most beautiful sasae I've ever seen.  You have absolutely GOT TO WATCH the slo-mo replays in the second half of this clip!

And here is a compilation of a couple of lovely hizaguruma.

Patrick Parker
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