Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Injury potential in Hirano's Kata

I just got back from Summer Seminar 2015 at Windsong Dojo in OKC, where I was honored to lead an exploration of Tokio Hirano's ideas that were groundbreaking in the 1950's in European Judo, and which are still amazingly innovative in American Judo.
Each class we worked on ...
  • ashi-sabaki drills (because Hirano was an amazingly agile guy with great footwork).
  • uchikomi of some of Hirano's tokuiwaza (like osotogari and seoinage and taiotoshi) using his interesting rhythmic practice methods.
  • Hirano's Nanatsu no kata (A.K.A. Hando no kata)
Here is a pretty good video of the type of things we worked on...

At the end of the 3rd day of the seminar, we'd not quite finished all of Nanatsu no kata - we had run out of time for several of the counters, most distinctive of which are uchimata sukashi, harai-utsurigoshi, and jumping around taiotoshi into yokoguruma.
If y'all want to explore this whole kata including those last few counter sacrifices, I'd like to give y'all some advice - to the degree possible, work slowly and carefully with a compliant partner and a crash pad and make sure everyone involved always knows what's coming.
The reason I say this is because the jump-around counter to taiotoshi is the only technique that I've ever been seriously injured practicing!  In college we were practicing this exact counter - jumping around taiotoshi into yokoguruma.  It's not too difficult when you go slow and step through it with a compliant partner, but as you get it moving more quickly with both uke and tori moving into their techniques at the same time, it becomes tricky.  Anyway, I moved into taiotoshi and my partner tripped and fell on my leg.  In his attempt to regain his balance, he pulled me down on top of him and we ended up with my leg entangled and trapped under him, with him trapped under me.  I was yelling and he couldn't get off of me because I was lying on top of him.
Broken ankle. No fun.  Put a major damper on my participation and enjoyment of judo for about a semester.

The technique I'm talking about is demonstrated here by Hirano sensei so smoothly that it looks easy. (starting at about 5:50)
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Patrick Parker
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