Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Shooting for a double (morotegari)

One of the mainstays of some forms of jujutsu and amateur wrestling, which was fairly recently removed from judo tournament play by an inane governing body is shooting-in for a double leg pick (morotegari in judo).  I personally think that morotegari is a very important thing to leave in play because judoka will encounter this thing if they want to play with jujutsu guys AND because it is one of the most-commonly seen attacks in American streets.
I can sort of see why this technique was de-emphasized (but not removed completely) in classical judo - it is so intuitive that it can easily become the only takedown anyone tries.  Judo can devolve into players taking turns attempting a tackle.  It is also incredibly easy to mis-apply or to execute poorly.
Following are a handful of helpful hints for making the most of morotegari
  • Drop before you shoot-in.  In an upright natural posture, your legs are positioned to hold you off the ground but not to make fast, powerful horizontal motions.  Take a hint from the best in the world at making sudden horizontal displacements (sprinters) - and drop into a crouch similar to a sprinter's start before you shoot-in.
  • Morotegari is not properly done as a pick-up.  You use your hands/arms to hold uke's legs in place, while you push uke over backward with your shoulder or chest.  Alternately, if you can hit them while they are floating then you can pull both legs out from under them and rotate them around your shoulder, but this is a much harder feat to pull off (HA! get it? Pullling Feat... Pulling feet! I'm funny! ;-)
  • Spearing is stupid and rightly-illegal in competition.  You do not hit/push their body with your head because this endangers your own neck.  Turn your head aside, as if listening to their hip or belly, and push with your upper chest or your shoulder.
  • Landing on your belly or your knees at uke's feet is not a good finish.  As uke begins to fall, tori needs to either disengage and run away, or scramble/roll upward into a controlling position.
  • Watch out for the side-step, the sprawl, the guillotine, and the bale throw.  These are the most common defenses, and you pretty much have to experience both sides of morotegari in randori a bunch to figure out how these defenses work and how to bypass them.

Photo courtesy of Mike Oliveri

Patrick Parker
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