Friday, August 09, 2019

Thoughts on control in judo

Things I'm thinking these days about control.

  • Judo is control.  We used to say the criteria for ippon is "hard, fast, and in-control" but hard and fast are really poor criteria because speed is almost completely controlled by gravity and force is an endogenous opiate that you don't want to get hooked on. So, control is the central idea in judo.
  • I like to translate the term, gatame, as "control" instead of "hold," and however you translate it, the concept of gatame does NOT include pain or crushing or punishment.
  • Control is not the same thing as coercion.  There may be times and jobs where coercion is appropriate - but that is not synonymous with control.
  • Learn to use your feet like hands (as if picking up a sock with your toes) and pull with the hamstrings instead of pushing with the hip.  This will give you more power and fine control especially in small ashiwaza.
  • I want to be an uke-whisperer instead of an uke-breaker.  If we are to become uke-whisperers we have to figure out how to avoid doing things that threaten uke and provoke an automatic fear-based resistance.  Re-read all the uke-centric kata posts and continue along that line of thought.
  • If control is not the same as coercion and if it is to be non-threatening to uke, we need to figure out what kind of control is winsome.  What does winsome control feel like to uke? How do we figure out how to embody winsome as a control strategy?

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Patrick Parker
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