Fundamentals of Judo – Practicing combinations
I’m going to continue with my original concept of giving you tools to get better at Judo rather than giving you answers. As such tonight’s concept of ‘T-ing up’ won’t actually unlock any great throwing or kuzushi secrets but it will help you train more efficiently and will allow you to practice your techniques better.
So what I’m going to show is how to move your combination training from this:
YouTube - Ouchi Gari Combination attacks part 2
YouTube - Judo Combinations
One of the most common problems beginners encounter when they practice combinations be it renraku waza or renzoku waza is that after the intial attack they find themselves completely out of position to launch the second attack, when they do attempt it are totally off balance and end up producing a poor bodged throw. As always your sensei tells you its because you need more kuzushi, it usually isn’t.
Here is an example of a combination where tori tries to make up for really poor positioning as a result of the first throw:
YouTube - Ko-uchi-gari into O-soto-gari
Now as you’ll remember from last week’s thread control over yourself is critical followed by control over uke, which is dependent on control over yourself.
I introduced the concept of the triangle as an aide memoir for correct spacing between tori and uke and tori maintaining control over himself- tai sabaki.
This week you need to keep the concept of the triangle in mind and remember that controlling the space between tori and uke is central to good combination training.
The concept under discussion in this thread is ‘T-ing up’. This refers to tori ‘T-ing up’ in relation to uke, I’m sure this concept has many other names and descriptions, but the T is how it was best described to me and so the T is how I will continue to describe it.
Imagine that there is an invisible line running between uke’s toes and that it is bisected by another invisible line that runs between tori’s feet. These lines bisect each other in such a way that the line between uke’s feet forms the horizontal cross bar of a T shape and that the line between tori’s feet forms the vertical upright bar of the T.
Remember always to preserve appropriate space with the triangle:
The ‘Le perfectionnement d'uchi mata’ series has a few minutes on this and using my mighty GCSE in French and a bit of common sense I have attempted a scratch translation of it for you, with pictures.
YouTube - JUDO Le perfectionnement d'uchi mata 3
Katanishi starts explaining how they will be working on dealing with an ai yotsu situation – right hander on right hander- where both have the right foot advanced. They will learn how to achieve the ideal position for tori in relation to uke.
For the first minute and a half he is basically asking them when they're standing in ai-yotsu who has the superior grip and the superior positioning. They conclude that they both have the same opportunities and neither has the advantage.
Katanishi then explains how to position themselves so one does have superior opportunity he illustrates the positioning by forming a T shape with his hands at 1:38. ‘Il faut créer le position...direct... devant le partenaire’
He then gets them to form this T shape. He corrects tori at 2:00, saying he needs to be perpendicular to his uke and physically adjusts him until he's in the correct position at 2:05.
He then explains how tori now has superior kumikata and a superior position to attempt a throw.
He then gets them to practice 'T-ing up' on the move until about 2:53
The reason this T-ing up is important is that it allows tori to control the space between tori and uke, it positions tori in a stable position from which he can apply good tsurikomi, it places tori in a position from which ANY throw is possible because he is on balance has superior positioning and a superior gripping position in relation to uke.
You will notice that this position is pretty similar to how you begin practicing all your throws and how you perform uchikomi and it is so with good reason.
9 times out of 10 the reason beginner attempts at combination practice are a disaster is because they don’t understand any of this basic tai sabaki then you pile onto that not understanding the importance of space –the triangle – or how to effectively off balance uke – tsurikomi – and you have a layering of problems which hinder practice and will lead to permanently flawed technique.
So whenever you practice combinations it is vital to reposition yourself so that you’re stable, have superior positioning and a superior grip to uke BEFORE you attempt the second throw.
When practicing it is perfectly ok to attack with your first technique and then pause in the ‘T’ position before launching the second attack.
In these two videos Kuldin Evgeny explains how to T up from first a Kenkya yotsu situation and then an Ai yotsu situation. He uses the first couple of minutes of each to explain this concept then moves onto other stuff.
Ko soto gari into Tai otoshi using the T to reposition for effective combinations.
YouTube - kosoto gari tai otoshi
T-ing up Kenka yotsu
In this video showing Kou chi gari and O uchi gari combinations Evgeny shows a slightly more advanced application specific for these two throws, however, the core principle of what he is doing controlling space, positioning himself on balance etc... using the T concept hold sway:
YouTube - kouchi ouchi gari
Now its important to remember that this concept of ‘T-ing up’ is a training concept. It is therefore to ensure you maintain good tai sabaki whilst practicing combinations so that you can then practice the techniques. ‘T-ing up’ is not something you will see happen often, if at all, in competitions because which the challenges of a resisting opponent and your reaction depending upon their action/reaction it would be silly and ineffective to pause and T-up in between throws. However, as a training aide to ensure you have good tai sabaki and can effectively apply kuzushi as a result of good tsurikomi remembering to control yourself and uke using the ‘T-ing up’ concept is a very useful aide memoir.
Next weekend I’ll be moving back into University ready for the start of term so I doubt I’ll be able to post another instalment. If these threads are still useful and you would like more let me know and I will try and get one out either midweek or try and produce a double whammy in two weeks time. If however, I'm just whittering on then please tell me and I'll gladly shut up lol!
Awesome post! Probably a bit too complicated for me as a lowly kyu. These threads are awesome, keep it up.
This is what you must do:
Originally Posted by judoka_uk
- Keep writing these threads.
- Create an index of these threads and provide a link/links in your signature so they can all be easily found.
- Rake in the well-earned +reps and remember that the readers who aren’t +repping are probably off doing push-ups.
Sums it up nicely.
Originally Posted by Petter
I'm off doing pushups.
Actually a lowly kyu is exactly who this thread is aimed at. That's why its the fundamentals of Judo it sounds complicated because I've had to explain it over the internet using diagrams and verbal descriptions. However, if we were on the mat it would have taken all of a minute to explain and be very clear.
Originally Posted by keke
Its actually a pretty simple concept - keep on balance and ensure you're well positioned to attack uke.
keep up with the awesome posts please.
One point -- and please correct me if I'm wrong: Tori does not usually T-up with his lead foot straight (in something like hamni stance in aikido) as in the idealized diagram, but usually will setup with the foot turned. The pictures you posted make this clear. Part of this because tori keeps good posture by doing so -- head over hips over feet; shoulders, hips and feet in the same plane.
Perhaps you could discuss posture and maintaining posture as you move?
Ermm hadn't really considered the positioing of the lead foot much. When I was taught to 'T-up' no one ever made much of whether it should be straight or angled so I assume you just go with how the foot naturally ends up. I'm certainly not dogmatic about foot angle or direction, when I teach this concept.
Originally Posted by Res Judicata
With the drawings I made them in paint and the 2007 version of paint doesn't allow you to make fine angle adjustments only 90 degree + rotations, so I just put the foot facing straight forward.
I did originally try and produce some stepping pattern diagrams ala Ohlenkamp's book. However, without the fine angle adjustment and the fact it got very complicated and confusing very quick. To the extent I wasn't sure I understood my own diagrams, so I shelved them.
The only other thing of real note regarding the legs is that there should be a slight bend in the knee, because if your knees are locked your hips will be level or above uke's and you lose fluidity of movement.
The problem with this post is that not so many people are going to 'get it' as with the triangle and tsurikomi because it doesn't really look like much and doesn't have the 'wow' factor of those two. However, it is just as important. Judo is done on the move in randori and shiai so practicing your techniques on the move and combinations on the move is vital so learning this tai sabaki skill - 'T-ing up' is really important to correct practice.
I don't think I can really discuss posture and balance during the techniques its not really something there are any set answers to. If you observe the triangle, do proper tsurikomi, actually have a vague idea of the throw and a decent uke everything should fall into place. Then add in the awareness of squaring off with your partner and keeping your balance, posture and space you then do proper tsurikomi etc... etc... again. Just rinse and repeat until you run out of throws you can think of to string together.
One of the things that annoyed me as I put together this post is how easy it is to show someone on the mat and get them able to go away and do on their own within a few minutes. Yet on the internet it all kind of gets lost in the ether and becomes something more complex and more rigid than it really is.
Anyway feel free to ask more questions and if BKR, Coach Josh etc... want to chip in their input is of course welcome.
Please keep these posts coming. I'm doing my best to keep these principles in the back of my mind when I randori now and I really think it's making a difference (albiet a small one, so far!)
I love my judo club, but I don't think they'd be too offended if I suggested that (in general) they'd much rather have a good tear up, rather than teach some principles or technique.
This is difficult to explain in words without examples.
Originally Posted by Res Judicata
First off, the han mi posture exists in Judo. Daigo uses the term frequently in Throwing Techniques of Kodokan Judo. That book is the first time I have seen the term used in Judo, although I've been in and used the position. In Daigo's book, and in my practice, the lead foot can be in different orientations.
You have to remember that han mi and it's derivitives/variations are momentary positions-not something that is held-they are transitional postures used to move from one position to another.
In general, my understanding is that you point your toes in the direction you want to go. The knee and ankle joints are hinges, with not a lot of rotational movement. So most efficient movement is with toe and knee aligned in the direction you intend to move.
If I am going to do Kouchi or Ouchi Gari directly, then my lead foot is going to be pointing somewhere to uke rear hemisphere, same with my jiko ashi (support/driving leg), depending on the exact direction of the throw.
If I intend to do a forward throw, and am doing a front turning tai sabaki (uke is moving backwards or we are static-consider some of the tsukuri/triangle videos JudokaUK posted), my foot and knee will be facing generally forward, and I will pivot lightly on the front foot to turn.
This is not a hard and fast rule, though, because it all depends on relative movement and posture. I may pivot on my front foot, or, I may do more of a pure back turning tai sabaki, especially if uke is coming at me, in which case my lead leg is not a pivot point.
In fact, I don't ever really put much weight on the lead leg when doing a front turning tai sabaki full speed, as my hip is snapping around and my jiko ashi is driving around and back to basically replace my lead foot.
You guys have to realize that much of what we are dealing with is conceptual in nature. The concept of the triangle (sankaku) defines the "weakest" direction of uke posture, and is constantly moving around as uke and tori move about.
In any position, draw a line between uke insteps. The perpendicular to that line is the direction of weakness.
As someone else noted, the tip of the triangle changes, so tori has to change his position to align his body to throw in the direction of that direction of weakness. This is what the "T-up" business is all about, tori putting his body in a position to throw in that direction.
It gets too complicated for words at this point, so I'll stop.
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