3/23/2011 6:00pm, #1
Tsugi ashi – fundamental Judo movement.
Often in posts I have spoken about fundamental movement skills, up until now I have made the significant oversight of not doing any explorations of those fundamental movement skills.
So here in I will cover one of the most fundamental and versatile movement skills- tsugi ashi.
So what is Tsugi ashi?
Tsugi ashi refers to a stepping pattern in Judo where one foot replaces the other before that foot can move. So that the trailing foot moves to the front foot then the front foot advances or the front foot retreats to the trailing foot then the trailing foot retreats.
The basic movement looks like this
Broken down we see that tori starts in a sort of T-ed up position
Tori then moves his trailing foot to his front foot
And advances with his front foot
The whole movement looks like this:
Throughout the movement tori keeps his hips central and his head roughly above his hips.
The same process is repeated when retreating, the advanced foot retreats first to the position of the trailing foot. Then the trailing foot retreats.
The core of the tsugi ashi movement lies in the production and transference of power from the advanced or trailing foot through the hips into the upper body of tori. Normally, however, the power generation is from the trailing foot through the hips as tsugi ashi is rarely used in competition or randori going backwards.
One of the few exceptions is this classic tsurikomi/ kuzushi drill, which I do a few sets of every session and I would urge others to do as well:
One of the major flaws with beginners attempting the tsugi ashi movement comes when advancing. 9 times out of 10 a beginner will take a little step with their advanced foot first and then bring their trailing foot up to the advanced foot. This is natural as we are used to going forward by stepping with the advanced foot, it just makes sense. However, the movement, tsugi ashi, in Judo is very specific and serves a purpose to maximise forward transference of power and speedy entry. So it is vital that you ensure you only move the trailing foot first when advancing and only move the advanced foot first when retreating. Otherwise the movement fails.
Applying Tsugi ashi
Here Okano sensei demonstrates various applications of tsugi ashi:
Katanishi sensei demonstrates how tsugi ashi can be applied to the action- reaction sequence for forward throws:
Katanishi sensei demonstrates tsugi ashi as a ‘hip bump’ as part of the action-reaction sequence. This use of tsugi ashi was a favourite of Neil Adams albeit usually for Tai otoshi.
Here the applicability of the tsugi ashi movement for various throws including Ko uchi makikomi and Sukui nage is demonstrated:
Here for Ko uchi gari:
And here for Tai otoshi
So as can be seen. Tsugi ashi is a movement fundamental to Judo and applicable to a whole range of Judo techniques and it is also fundamental to the action-reaction sequence.
Hope this is of use to people and as always comments, critiques and questions are welcome.
3/23/2011 11:48pm, #2
- Join Date
- Apr 2007
- Alberta, Canada
Great fundamental topic. Thanks for the article.
What would you call the opposite movement pattern where you move the front leg first, then the back leg catches up (being careful to not bring your feet too close together)? I'm describing the way boxers step. Confusingly, I've heard this called tsugi-ashi as well.
I tell people that you have to be able to step both ways. I say that you step the way I described when you're trying to keep you base wide as you move around between attacks. You step the way you describe when you move in for an attack.
Am I right?
3/24/2011 10:08am, #3
I confess I've been a little confused about the terms, as the way "tsugi-ashi" is demonstrated in our dojo it looks a lot like suri-ashi to me, but the OPs description seems closer to the kendo idea. Can't see the videos from work.
3/24/2011 7:14pm, #4
We had a discussion about judo terminology vs kendo terminology on Judo Forum. If you search around you can probably find the discussion. It was pretty definitive if I recall correctly.
3/25/2011 9:07am, #5
Had a chance to look at those videos. At least as demonstrated there, the judo tsugi-ashi looks similar to the kendo one - the trailing foot is drawn up to the lead foot, and then used to drive in for an attack.
Last edited by NeilG; 3/25/2011 9:43am at .
3/25/2011 9:52am, #6
Not only was this informative, it was extremely concise!. The usage of video also increases the accessibility of the instruction to a much wider audience, and i absolutely approve.
3/25/2011 10:13am, #7
In some striking arts we are taught not to let our feet come together so close under any circumstances. The idea being that your center of balance is off, and that you can be attacked or countered from this position.
It looks like the "tsugi ashi for seio nage" video, the attackers feet actually remain farther apart than the drills demonstrated in the prior videos. Same for the final "tai otoshi" video.
The effectiveness of this movement seems to rely on speed and forward momentum. Also, in the Okano video he seems to show a sweeping motion as or after he advances, presumably to move the opponent's feet, or maybe off-balance them (?).
My question is does the footwork drill exaggerate the proximity of the feet when you actually do the throws? Am I understanding this correctly?
We don't do much of this type of drilling and my understanding is limited, so any clarification is appreciated."Never trust a quote you read on the internet" - Abraham Lincoln
3/26/2011 12:12am, #8
Judoka_UK's original post is a good one, but I want to clarify some things.
Tsugi Ashi is in it's most basic form a way of moving around the tatami in which one foot leads for follows. The feet stay in the orientation of right or left natural posture (migi or hidari shizentai), that is one foot is advanced- an offset stance with left or right foot forward, basically, feet wider than hips but narrower than shoulders (in natural posture, shizenhontai), and wider than the shoulders in jitgohontai (defensive posture). Tsugi ashi is a basic way of moving in Judo, and the feet do not come together when simply moving around the mat. Here is a a video of Nage No Kata (Forms of Throwing, a Randori No Kata (forms of throwing as done for randori or free practice). You can clearly see tsugi ashi demonstrated to the front and rear, the feet are slid along the mat in what is called suri ashi motion (sliding foot/step). In the sutemi waza section, where the thrower (tori) falls down to unbalance and throw uke (the throwee), you will see jigotai (defensive posture), both right and left sided, but the stepping pattern is not tsugi ashi.
www.youtube.c...h?v=-wDaj1gtQNY Nage No Kata Demo (a nice one at that)
The feet DO NOT come together in tsugi ashi as a basic movement method. Tsugi ashi is commonly used in all directions as such.
I think that the videos posted demonstrate tai sabaki, or parts of tai sabaki used as entries and action reaction sequences for entries to throws. I do not speak French or Japanese, so Katanishi Sensei and/or Okano Sensei may well be calling what they are doing tsugi ashi, or at least applications of tsugi ashi. Tai Sabaki means "body control",or "body turning", meaning one's own body. A term I sometimes use is ashi sabaki, or foot/leg control, ormore basically "footwork", as separate from the whole body movments.
So, to recap, watchg the nage no kata video to get an idea of basic tsugi ashi as a method of moving around the tatami. I can't watch video on this computer, so I can't search around for other examples to give.
Learning how to do correct tsugi ashi alone and with a partner is a fundamental skill of Judo, more fundamental than the footwork illustrated in the videos posted. It's important to practice moving cooperatively with your training partner so you can properly practice throwing of any sort. As Judoka_UK has pointed out elsewhere, without a decent uke,nobody is going to learn much judo.
3/26/2011 12:59am, #9
- Join Date
- Apr 2007
- Alberta, Canada
Hey BKR, your youtube link is broken. But it sounds like you're describing the opposite type of stepping than Judoka_uk described. I've seen this quite a bit and it's confusing. There are two related but opposite ways of stepping that people commonly call by the same name. Why is there no distinction made between them? Shouldn't there be two names?
Type 1: start in normal stance, move feet wider apart, return to normal stance.
Type 2: start in normal stance, move feet closer together, return to normal stance.
3/26/2011 1:27am, #10
I'll try to fix the link when I have acces to a modern computer. This one is too slow.
I don't understand your question. Tsugi ashi is tsugi ashi. In what I would call basic tsugi ashi, the feet do not come together,they maintain separation. One foot leads, and one foot follows, basic is forward or backwards. To move in tsugi ashi, one begins in a "stance" with either the left or right foot forward. The feet maintain the same relative position as the original stance.
If you start in a square stance, and advance one foot then the other, sliding one foot forward then the other, that is I believe ayumi ashi. The action of sliding the feet on the mat is suri ashi. Ayumi ashi is the normal one step then another walking we do everyday, but in Judo you would slide your feet along the tatami lightly on the balls of your feet.