Please note that the techniques summarised below may not necessarily be identical or capture all that was taught in class.
Nage-waza (throwing technique):
Kodokan video on seoi-nage (shoulder throw), specifically ippon seoi nage (one hand shoulder throw). There were several ideas explored in this class, first of which is ayumi ashi (natural walking). Ayumi ashi is one of two ways of walking in judo, the other way being tsugi ashi (sequential walking or shuffling), and refers to walking by swinging one foot in front (or behind) of another. In particular, natural walking is used in the pre-arranged demonstration called nage-no-kata, wherein uke (receiver) steps in with an overhead strike towards tori (giver) while demonstrating seoi nage together. However, what was emphasized was not what was happening to the hands, but rather tori demonstrating seoi nage as uke‘s right leg swings forward (assuming both tori and uke are right-handed). Thus, attacking as uke‘s right leg swings forward is one step towards shifting drilling of seoi nage from a static position (uchikomi) to a more realistic moving drill (nagekomi). It is also important because kuzushi (unbalancing) is best applied to bring uke forward as his/her leg itself swings forward.
A related concept explored in class was tai sabaki (body movement). As “Best Judo” puts it (available partially online, in the UofT library or Toronto Public Library), tai sabaki is about moving one’s body into a position without compromising balance. For example, entering into the shoulder throw should not leave one falling backwards into their partner, counter to the desired direction of the throw. Thus, tori should be naturally walking with uke, and then tori executes mae-mawari sabaki (front-turn movement) to turn 180 degrees to throw uke as uke‘s leg swings forward (N.B. the description is better than the diagram in “Best Judo”). If this is performed correctly, tori should “fit” into uke and be able to load uke up (conceptually called tsukuri, part of the kuzushi-tsukuri-kake paradigm). What this means more simply is that when tori has turned to face opposite uke, tori‘s hips should be slightly blocking uke‘s legs. Incorrect body movement will result tori‘s hips either not blocking uke‘s legs enough, allowing uke to slip off the shoulder throw, or tori‘s hips shooting too far through thus allowing uke to slip off the far side.
The point of these terms is not to confuse with foreign Japanese words, as they can be easily communicated in English. For example, natural walking is much more intuitive than ayumi ashi, and many judoka perform these concepts without ever being taught. Rather, the point of this summary is to provide food-for-thought towards performing a shoulder throw without tripping over one’s feet. There are other refinements that can improve shoulder throws, but the main emphasis of Saturday’s class is timing forward unbalancing during natural walking, and correct body positioning.
Ne-waza (ground technique):
These are picture and text instructionals. Pins are often under appreciated, and many details exist to add to the positional dominance of a pin or allow transition to a strangulation or armlock technique. However, what was emphasized in class was a pin-flow from hon kesa, to kuzure kesa, to mune gatame.
- Hon kesa gatame (basic “scarf” hold)
- Kuzure kesa gatame (broken or modified “scarf” hold)
- Mune gatame (chest hold, a name not recognised by the Kodokan, which will refer to it as a modified side hold or yoko shiho gatame)