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Learn the Crucial Techniques for Judo Throwing

Mar 17, 2008
Throwing is one of the crucial aspects of judo technique. Below are some advice on these techniques

1. Where to hold

If you hold your opponent's right sleeve with your left hand and his left lapel with your right hand, your techniques will be limited to only the right side. If you hold him by both sleeves, you can readily apply either right or left techniques such as hiza-guruma or de-ashiharai, but this is not true in a number of other techniques such as hane-goshi, harai-goshi, or seoi-nage (hip and hand throws).

If you hold his jacket on both the right and left sides of his chest, you are well set to apply waist techniques but not seoi-rtage (shoulder throw) or de-ashi-harai and o-soto-gari, which are foot and leg throws.

Therefore the techniques are largely restricted by the choice of where you grip and how you stand. If your opponent has enough time to defend himself from your attack, he will be able to anticipate the kind of technique you will use. You should always change the place that you grasp according to the changing positions of your opponent and yourself.

2. How to grasp

When you hold your opponent by his jacket, you should do so as gently as you would hold an egg in your hand. Always keep the forearms relaxed. If you stiffen your forearms, you are prevented not only from changing your grasp quickly but also from reading your opponent's motions. You must remember that the feel in the gripping hand is just as much an indicator of your opponent's motions as are your eyes. It is only at the moment when you apply your technique or break his posture that you must grasp tightly.

Besides these two factors there is another-perhaps the most important one. Unless your arms are kept relaxed, you cannot make good use of the force of the waist and abdominal region, which is the foundation of judo. The force of both arms is only one part of the force of the whole body ; it plays its part in the harmony of the whole. Therefore, if strength is always concentrated in the arms, the over-all force of the body becomes weak.

3. How to advance or retreat

To apply throwing techniques effectively, you must first get your opponent off-balance. This technique is called kuzushi. It can be used most effectively when your opponent is advancing or retreating. All you have to do is advance or retreat farther than he pulls or pushes. This is done by making use of a special way of walking called tsugi-ashi (special footwork) , which we shall now explain.

There are two ways to walk. One is the normal way, by advancing the right and left legs alternately. In the other way of walking, a shuffle step, you first advance your right foot and then draw up the other foot until it rests about ten inches behind the right foot and is pointed outward at an angle. This is tsugi-ashi. In boxing too, as you know, both competitors advance or retreat in this fashion.

Which is better in judo? Of course it is tsugi-ashi, for it enables you to move faster than in the normal way. Furthermore, if you walk using the normal step, your posture is more vulnerable, since the time that you use to place your weight on one foot is longer than in tsugi-ashi.

Next you must keep in mind the correct angled-foot pattern that enables you to make the best use of the force of the waist and abdominal region. Then you must make the maximum use of the action of both your big toes through practice. If you can put your strength in them, you will be able to make your base larger - up to the length of the big toe. When you put your knee on the mat, your big toe must be placed upright. This, too, will enable you to make better use of the force of the waist and abdominal region.

With these three principles in mind, you will be well on your way to effective throwing in judo.
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