Thread: Drilling Kuzushi
8/04/2011 4:47pm, #1
I was recently asked to give my opinion on some video of a bullshido member performing some throws. The main part of my feedback centred around improving the persons tsurikomi action. I have previously discussed tsurikomi and correct kuzushi action previously.
However, I never clearly outlined specific drills or routines for people to do to improve their tsurikomi and thus general kuzushi action.
I’m going to split this into two sections –
The basic tsurikomi drill looks like this:
However, I know from experience that very few people, even supposedly experienced level players like brown belts have trouble going straight into this drill if they’re unfamiliar with it.
So it’s necessary to introduce the drill in two phases –
Sleeve hand action
Lapel hand action
Sleeve hand action
The action of the sleeve hand involves uke’s sleeve being drawn out high so that uke’s wrist is at least level with tori’s forehead, preferable above tori’s head.
As tori draws uke’s sleeve forwards and outwards tori’s wrist must rotate so that by the peak of the pull the palm is facing towards the mat.
The grip starts as normal
And finishes with the hand rotated, palm facing down towards the mat
To drill this action grip uke’s sleeve underneath their elbow, in the classic ‘judo grip’ position and only on their sleeve take no grip of the lapel.
Then repeatedly draw out uke’s sleeve, off balancing uke.
You should be T-ed up with uke as you do this
And best practice is to dip slightly from the hips on the ‘decline’ of the movement and so that you can rise up to normal height on the ‘incline’ of the movement.
It is important to dip slightly on the ‘decline’, because otherwise when attempting to pull upwards on the ‘incline’ you will have a tendency to make yourself go on tip toes, which is obviously totally unrealistic, structurally weak and undermines the practice objectives.
Lapel hand action.
I’ve searched the whole of the internet and couldn’t find a decent video anywhere demonstrating this, so you will have to make do with pictures and verbal explanations.
Grip uke’s lapel and lapel only, take no grip on the sleeve and again start T-ed up.
And then apply the tsurite action, bringing the pocket created by uke’s armpit to your forearm lifting simultaneously forwards and upwards.
A major error is to try and pull uke forwards by just jerking them with the arm like so
It is vital that your action brings the pocket created by uke’s armpit to your forearm and to ensure there is no slippage.
The wrist should also be kept straight and inline with the forearm, don’t allow your wrist to bend or flex.
Bringing it together
I would recommend that you practice each hand separately and then practice the two hands together.
If you were designing a set and rep weights type programme for your tsurikomi I would recommend that one set be:
10 sleeve pulls
10 lapel lifts
10 full tsurikomi entries
Do about 3-5 of these sets before and after every Judo session.
Concentrate on quality rather than quantity.
All sets should be down concentrating on smoothness and coordination of the action.
If it isn’t smooth and coordinated go back and start again.
Remember: First get it right, then get it fast.
Increase the reps in each set as competency- fluidity and coordination -improve i.e
15 sleeve pulls
15 lapel lifts
15 full tsurikomi entries
20 sleeve pulls
20 lapel lifts
20 full tsurikomi entries
The above outlined static drills are excellent for improving your basic tsurikomi skills and will produce improvements in your static uchikomi and nagekomi.
However, at some point you will have to do some moving uchikomi, nagekomi or maybe even randori...
In a basic moving tsurikomi drill, as demonstrated by Inoue.
Tori retreats normally and then performs a backwards tsugi ashi step.
Note how tori sinks as he takes the tsugi ashi step, this facilitates him off balancing uke without raising his own COG.
This drill should be performed with multiple repetitions down the mat.
Again the focus should be fluidity and accuracy rather than speed and showy-ness.
When basic competency has been achieved with moving tsurikomi drilling as outlined above then more advanced drills can be done.
Note how tori only moves in tsugi ashi and uke is squatting to increase resistance for tori.
These moving drills can also be introduced in a phased manner as with the static drills where tori drills first the sleeve action in isolation and then the lapel action in isolation.
These isolation drills can be particularly effective in correcting problems with someone’s tsurikomi action.
I would strongly advise any Judoka who is serious about their Judo to devote time to practicing these drills under competent supervision.
I personally have done thousands of tsurikomi uchikomi like this:
And covered several miles of mat doing this
I’m sure Ben, Coach Josh and other good Judoka on here have done the same.
My coach would start every session with us doing about 5 sets on 20 static tsurikomi uchikomi- ‘half turns’ as he calls them. And my mate Dan and I would book out a room on campus and spend 2 hours just drilling where we would do a couple of hundred tsurikomi drills static and moving apiece along with uchikomi for our tokuiwaza.
That’s not an example of badassery. That’s something anyone can achieve if they put their mind to it and are willing to put the hours in.
If you can’t get two hours on a mat to drill these things or your coach won’t give you the time to drill them. Then turn up 10 minutes early and stay 10 minutes late after each session and drill these with a partner or long suffering friend.
If you have absolutely no alternatives than attach a pair of bicycle inner tubes to the garage wall, draw a triangle in chalk and then practice doing your tsurikomi and observing the triangle.
Or if you don’t have a garage then shove a pair of innertubes in a rucksack with some pieces of chalk and go for a jog down to the park before work mark out your triangle and attach your inners and get doing those half turns.
Now you will remember I opened this article/ post with my little pre-amble about the bullshido member who was having trouble with his throws. Well I gave that user the static tsurikomi drills to do, just as I’ve outlined for you here, and after 5 sets he was already noticing an improvement in his throws.
I can’t guarantee it will be that immediate for you, but if you keep at it you will improve, you will get better and you will throw more people.
As always critiques, comments and questions are welcome.
8/04/2011 5:14pm, #2
P.S. In the wrestling version of this, you open their elbow directly, which makes a lot more instinctive sense to me. Presumably there's no deeper reason for doing it with the sleeve end than stopping uke gripping my collar?
8/04/2011 5:28pm, #3
If you're comparing a cooperative drilling situation with a randori one, then well, its highly unlikely unless fighting a child or a girl that you will be able to replicate the drilling situation i.e height in randori.
However, if you're struggling in drilling then either ask your partners to calm the **** down or get them to practice without gripping the gi, but merely placing their hands on your bicep and allowing it to slide down to your forearm as your practice.
I often do this with beginners, because it allows the the freedom of movement within which to make mistakes and still achieve.
As for the second sentence, doing the tsurikomi action from an end of sleeve grip is often considered a more advanced skill, however, it offers certain advantages. Most importantly it minimises the control uke has over tori's sleeve allowing tori much more freedom of action than a traditional elbow grip.
I advise all intermediate players (brown belt and above) to practice from the sleeve end grip as well as standard elbow grip. I personally do pretty much all of my Judo in competitive situations from the sleeve end grip, except in a few unique circumstances such as Sasae against extreme right on right.
8/05/2011 4:11am, #4
8/05/2011 9:26am, #5
Its unrealistic to expect to replicate the high pull of drilling in randori or competition. However, the issue may not be with how high your pulling, but rather throw compartmentalisation-itis, which I have an article in the pipeline on.
8/05/2011 9:50am, #6
8/05/2011 11:42am, #7
8/05/2011 1:42pm, #8
- Join Date
- Feb 2009
- Lifting heavy stuff
Thanks again for another quality and very helpfull thread!
I think i may have been doing my tsurikomi all wrong. Ive always done the tsurikomi action in two phases. Instead of one continuous action. I do the arm action while standing parallel to uke THEN take my first step to the tip of the triangle, so i dont generate any power from my hips to aid the pulling/ lifting action of my arms, then they get stuck behind me when i do step in. is this where im going wrong?
8/05/2011 2:07pm, #9
- Join Date
- Jun 2009
- Bonners Ferry, Idaho
- Kodokan Judo
Nice work, yet again. Getting in some good quiet time at work, eh?
I can vouch that what judoka uk is getting at works, I've used the same or similar process for several years for my self and my students. The basic concept of progressive drills, complex skills broken down into bite sized pieces and linked together works for everything, if you understand the core skills well enough.
I'd like to emphasize the "dip" that judoka_uk wrote about. I think it's very important. Gravity is your friend in Judo, so why try and lift some lard ass up when you though the combination of hikite/tsurite action, tai sabaki, and lowering your weight you can tip him off balance, turn, and throw?
As noted, unless you are doing Judo with little kids or totally compliant (not randori/shiai) uke, you are not going to open anyone's arm/elbow with your hikite.
The basic tsurikomi action/tai sabaki prepares you develop the correct body positioning and movement relative to uke to throw someone who does not want to be thrown. It's the beginning of the progressive process of learning Judo, not the final product.
Common pitfall in the drills noted is to go to uke, slamming into him. Keep at the top of the triangle/make sure uke move to tori, and lower your weight tipping uke using your body weight, which is properly connected to uke by the hikite/tsurite action. That's what it's all about, efficiently connecting the force from tori body movement to uke body in such a way that tori can finish whatever throw desired or still maintain control to react to uke reaction.
Gotta go get the kids, later guys.
Again, nice work, judoka_uk.
BenFalling for Judo since 1980
"You are wrong. Why? Because you move like a pregnant yak and talk like a spazzing 'I train UFC' noob." -DCS
8/05/2011 4:50pm, #10
You need to step to the tip of the triangle simultaneously with your tsurikomi action.
Doing it the way you describe is a classic example of compartmental-itis that I'm doing an article on. Bear with me and I should have it up sometime this weekend.