I dithered for a few minutes making a title for this thread. I mean, "D(a)o of Kumi Kata" seems a bit cryptic...
In the ongoing thread "The IJF Bans More something or the other" in this same section, judo grip fighting comes up, which partly inspired me here.
In any case, I was looking for videos to email to my students, to illustrate how the things I (attempt) to teach them really apply at all levels of Judo, and ran across Shohei Ono, the 2013 World Champion at -73 kg. Besides his penchant for slapping underclassmen, he does some damned nice judo that pretty clearly shows the necessity for mastering the fundamentals that I preach.
For now, I am going to post one video of Mr. Ono, which has 3 of his matches from the 2013 Judo World Championships. There are others, but it's Friday night and I want to go home and drink a beer. Sierra Nevada "Ruthless Rye" IPA to be exact. I'll get to them later.
Background info/terminology on gripping/posture in Judo.
1.) Judoka typically will be either lefty or righty, and gripping procedures vary according to relative grip/posture e.g.,
A. Basic grip/posture: Judoka typically adopt either right or left foot forward posture, and do judo primarily from that posture.
i.) Put Your Little Foot: Right foot forward posture is migi shizentai (right natural posture). The right hand goes on uke left lapel, and the left hand grips uke right sleeve. Lefties do the opposite (hidari shizentai). Other postures can be adopted, but these are the basic ones.
ii.) Righties spin primarily to the left (counterclockwise) to execute turning forward throws, while lefties turn right (clockwise). This is a primary link between grip and posture in throwing.
B.) Grip/posture Relationships: Two basic posture/grip relationships happen in Judo.
i.) Aiyotsu: Same side (harmonious) gripping/posture. Yotsu is an older form of symmetrical four handed gripping used for grappling in armor. Now it denotes right vs right or lefty vs lefty.
ii.) Kenka Yotsu: Opposed grips/posture, right vs left.
iii.) Right and left handed lapel grips and posture are "optimized" for right and left handed throwing, respectively. Throwing to the opposite side (forward turning throws) is possible and necessary, of course.
With those things in mind, I'll stop with the verbage and present the video.
It's all(most) all about control...
1.) First off, Mr. Ono is a "righty". As such, and being Japanese, his kumi kata revolves around, but as you saw in the video does not rely exclusively upon, controlling his opponents right sleeve. By control, I mean he keeps that sleeve off of his body and strives to keep uke hand/arm on his half of the space in various ways. Against another righty (such as Mr. Wang, his first match in the series), this allows Mr. Ono to control that side of his opponent body, and effectively stops opponent from being able to do his major turning throw(s) in his preferred direction.
Note how he maintains this migi shizentai posture zealously. He has good reason to do so, which I'll leave for now (feel free to add your own ideas!).
2.) Mr. Ono first match is with Mr. Wang of Korea. It is the toughest of his matches in this video, and I assume of the entire WC. It is so tough because Koreans are some if not the most fanatical judoka on the planet, and possibly the all-round toughest motherfuckers you do not want to encounter on the tatami (or battlefield...ROKs). Mr. Wang is highly skilled, knows what Mr. Ono wants, knows what Mr. Wang wants, and it's pretty much the same thing...right hand sleeve and lapel grip, controlling opponents right sleeve. Both are experts at it !
In such a situation, each judoka has (must) have contingencies for when he cannot control the sleeve of his opponent. Mr. Wang at 1:09 illustrates one, the one sided sleeve Uchi Mata. As he does not have control of Mr. Ono right sleeve, he does not control that side of his body. He controls what he can, the left sleeve, and goes with Uchi Mata. It's possible for it to work, however, in this case, it has little chance, but gets Mr. Wang a big attack to reset his non-combativity clock, with a bonus of slamming Mr. Ono face into the tatami (hey, a win by concussion is medical withdrawl works just fine!). At 1:30 Mr. Wang attempts a hidari (left) Seoi Otoshi, same sort of situation. Opposite side throws are another contingency for lack of sleeve control, or lack of primary sleeve control. Mr. Ono does the same.
At 2:08 Mr. Ono illustrates the opposite side throw tactic. He has left hand grip on Mr. Wang right lapel , but Mr. Wang is wisely keeping his elbow close to his body (in his half of the space). Mr. Ono attempts to enter for a left throw, possibly Uchi Mata, although in other matches he does a left Sode (sleeve) style seoi nage or hip throw successfully.
At around 2:39 Mr. Wang gets a sleeve and high collar grip (sometimes called "Korean Grip"). He is able to control movement and pace while Mr. Ono changes directions a bit and pushes away strongly with his left hand on Mr. Wang right lapel to control the distance...Mr. Wang want to be able to close the space and turn and throw. Mr. Ono maneuvers Mr. Wang out of bounds very skillfully and wisely.
Damn, it's getting late. The Belgian is just shark bait, but is a lefty. See if you can find the difference in how Mr. Ono handle him (kenka yotsu).
Mr. Legrand (same last name as one of my (RIP) judo sensei) is also a lefty, so it's kenka yotsu again. Again, watch how Mr. Ono adjusts his gripping to the situation. The basics I covered above the video apply, and both men seek to gain postural and grip advantage, however slight, so they can attack effectively.
More later, have at it !