So, in judo you learn some throws and you do some randori and suddenly the idea comes to you that you ought to have some combos. But you can't just combine any two random techniques (even though the Kodokan book says that all imaginable combos are possible). Can you imagine doing a sotomakikomi-to-kataguruma-to-utsurigoshi combo? While that sequence might be possible (if infinite monkeys did infinite rounds of randori), I wouldn't want to waste the years of effort it would take to develop it.
There is structure to the way throws fit together into combos. It is this structure that I wanted to explore a little bit today.
Consider this - different throws happen at different ranges. Some throws are functional when you are just inside touching distance - as in a two sleeve ends grip. Other throws happen when you can get your hands on their lapels or when you are close enough to put a leg across their body. Still other throws are up close and personal with uke and tori smashed right up against each other. So, lets divide the gokyo into these three groups:
Long range (happen at first contact, conceivable with sleeve grips only)
- kosoto gari/gake
medium range (need elbow or body grips and/or leg across uke's body)
Close range (tight body contact – or have to turn in a long way - mostly koshiwaza & pickups)
Excluding counters and sacrifices, the gokyo mostly falls into these groups like this. Some folks might argue that a particular throw should be shifted up or down by 1 category, but I don't think any of these throws will easily shift 2 categories.
Now we can make some observations about the structure of combos...
- Combos generally progress from looser contact at longer range toward tighter contact at closer range. Or they might occur from one technique to another within the same range. Combos more rarely go from tighter to looser. So, you probably wouldn't spend your time on something like kataguruma-to-haraiTKashi-to-kouchigari.
- If your tokui is in the medium range set, then you'll likely want to get good at some of the long range techniques as setups. If your tokui is close range, then you probably need some functional techniques at both long and medium ranges. These create pathways toward your tokuiwaza. These are the combos that you probably want to spend your time on. Stuff like deashi-kosoto-hiza or kouchi-ouchi-kouchi-taiotoshi.
- If your tokui is in the long-range set, then you need to be able to stay at that long range when fighting people who want to get closer. You need to be able to use kuzushi and medium or close-range attacks to stop the other guy to give you time to step back out to longer range for your tokui.
This is one way that I construct combos - from longer range through medium range toward closer range. Do you guys do something similar?