Please note that the techniques summarised below may not necessarily be identical or capture all that was taught in class.
Nage-waza (throwing technique):
Kata guruma, the shoulder wheel throw, was demonstrated. This throw was developed and introduced by Jigoro Kano into the judo curriculum after he saw the technique in a wrestling manual– kata guruma is also known as the fireman’s carry. Although kata guruma is not applicable in current competition rules, learning the technique is important for well-roundedness as kata guruma has an important niche in judo pedagogy.
Like most “wheeling” techniques like hiza guruma (knee wheel), ashi guruma (leg wheel), and o guruma (big wheel), kata guruma depends on creating a more-or-less fixed pivot point around which the receiver of the technique (uke) rotates around. In the case of kata guruma, this pivot is the shoulder. The classical way of doing kata guruma is the first technique shown in the below video:
However, while kata guruma is classified as a hand technique (te waza), the variation of kata guruma demonstrated in class was more of a side sacrifice (yoko sutemi) variation like in the videos below:
Important tips to keep in mind:
- Close the gap. If there is distance between tori and uke, the unbalancing applied throughout the technique must first pull out the slack rather than having uke being immediately pulled off-balance as tori moves.
- Do not change levels by bending at the waist. Like most judo throws, bending at the knees to position oneself below uke‘s centre-of-gravity allows tori to push off the ground with her/his legs and engage their whole body to complete the throw, much like how weightlifters have an erect posture to best efficiently apply lifts.
- Similar to the second point, make sure one changes level sufficiently. If tori is not below uke‘s centre-of-gravity, the throw is much harder to complete and is hardly keeping with “maximum efficiency”. A good rule of thumb to change levels is to put one’s ear by uke‘s hip or belt.
- Like many side sacrifice techniques, falling along one’s side rather than one’s back and following through by shoulder bridging helps refine the technique.
Ne-waza (ground technique)
Ude-hishigi waki gatame, often shortened to waki gatame, is the armpit armlock. The first variation demonstrated was a counter as uke reaches across to frame the neck or pursue a kuzure kesa gatame (modified “scarf” hold) escape. Notice how in the below video, tori clamps around uke‘s elbow with his armpit, then pulls uke onto his stomach and pulls up at the wrist to apply the armlock.
The second variation of waki gatame shown was one where uke attacks a turtled tori head on, and tori clamps the arm and sits out to apply the armlock. Notice how tori clamps above uke‘s elbow to prevent uke from bending or pulling out the arm.