Thread: Dealing with Stiff Arms in Judo
9/06/2013 9:59am, #1
- Join Date
- Sep 2013
Dealing with Stiff Arms in Judo
I did a search for this but I wasn't really turning up anything I wanted. Most likely I just suck at searches, but I'll hazard a beatdown and start a thread...
So, I feel as if I'm progressing a bit in my Judo. I've made yellow belt, I can duplicate throws from standing with a compliant uke, and I'm starting to get a handle on a few throws in randori... when I'm dealing with other yellow/orange belts. However, any long-armed white belt with a death grip leaves me completely stymied. Any throw I try to practice, any attempt at kuzushi I try to make, I end up blocked out by two poles in my chest. I can't seem to make any attempt work, the white belt (usually) refuses to attempt anything, and it ends up being five minutes of ring-around-the-rosie out on the mat.
Now, this bothers me on a couple levels. One is that it's discouraging to train for 6 months, yet be powerless against a panicky guy with 3 lessons under his belt. I know that there is something I should be learning to deal with this, some skill I'm lacking in but I don't know how I should start to fix it.
Secondly, randori like this often feels like a waste. 5 minutes of the stiff-arm foxtrot kind of ensures that neither I nor the other guy really gain much from the experience, other than some bad habits. I know there's no egos on the mat and I don't want to be one of the guys who try to WIN at randori, but I would like to spend my time attempting throws, combinations and counters instead of stalling like this.
TL;DR version: I suck at dealing with stiff-armers, how do make Judo better?
Any suggestions from you guys on techniques? Commiseration? Should I just suck it up and hope the lightbulb pops on some day?
9/06/2013 10:25am, #2
dealing with stiff-arming is a pain, but you'll need to learn how eventually. i won't lie, a larger, stronger opponent with decent balance who is stiff-arming you can be very hard to deal with, but there are things you can do.
one thing people do is to use sasae tsurikomi ashi when uke is pushing forward (this doesn't work against a big guy who stiff-arms from a static place, you have to get them moving.)
another thing is to circle to create angles and get around the arms, which is more effective if you are faster than they are.
you can also have a talk with them about what randori is all about (mutual benefit, yadda yadda) as well as how to avoid negative judo (stalling through randori is a huge waste of everyone's time.)
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9/06/2013 10:39am, #3
To be frank, your sensei should be putting a stop to that. Also, you both should be doing randori with more senior people. Randori between beginners is mostly a waste of time.
9/06/2013 11:19am, #4
- Join Date
- Oct 2008
The only things that ever worked for me in randori with people stiff-arming were a side-stepping uchi-mata (sometimes followed with ko-uchi-gake), and tomoe nage. If you can manage to break one of their grips, you might be able to get in on a seoi nage, but I always sucked at seoi nage so I never pulled it off, myself.
9/06/2013 4:40pm, #5
- Join Date
- Mar 2012
yeah, there are a couple things.
First, he should just knock it off. Practice is practice and if he's not practicing then that's a problem. In a real match he would get penalized for overly defensive posture and being passive.
Second, you learn throws that can deal with this better when you are a higher rank, so don't get discouraged.
Third, gripfighting. If it's allowed, don't let him grip with his main hand, and get your grip and just throw before he gets a chance to do anything about it. Getting a really dominate grip could give you enough force to blow through his defenses as well.
Also, the hand that is likely giving you the most problems is the one gripping your right sleeve. It can be hard to push directly against this, force on force, but it's very weak in other directions, so you can shove your hand towards his opposite "pocket" or downward (or later up) and then the stiff arm becomes irrelevant.
9/06/2013 6:08pm, #6
- Join Date
- Feb 2011
That really limits the benefit of randori, and they need to learn to take the fall and not be afraid of attacking. With that being said, if you have to deal with it, catch them off the bounce whenever you can. Push him quickly back. It will be difficult to just drive through for an Osoto gari or something, but it should get him to try returning the push. At that point change your angle or your level, and launch your attack. Seio nage or something similar tends to work well.
The level/angle change is critical. He is expecting a linear pushing battle, so change it. In SAMBO, the bounce is my common entry for many lifts, picks, etc. Bounce, duck under, kata guruma, pick up, whatever. Obviously you can't do some of these options under the current Judo ruleset, but the principle is still sound.
9/07/2013 9:23am, #7
- Join Date
- Oct 2011
- Fargo, North Dakota
New guys who do this tend to be rather strong in straight lines but weak in about every other direction. Drive into him a little to get him to commit to pushing forward and take a some what exagerated circular step and throw a sase tsurikomi ashi or hiza guruma depending on how far out you are.
Alternativly you can just go under his arms, I have been able to slip some tai otoshis on the stiffys by getting very low on the level change.
also bully judoka_uk has a post about this on his blog (the difficult way i think its called). Should be worth checking out.
9/07/2013 11:12am, #8
- Join Date
- May 2013
- Austin, Texas, United States
I promise you with a little more experience, stiff arms will become a gift, and not an issue.
When he has stiff arms, he gives you the ability to control his body and his center of mass from far away.
Please forgive my lapse in memory (it has been a while since I competed), but do most of the first throws you learn require you to get your hips in you your opponent, like o-goshi? That may be the source of your frustration, but there is no need to get your hips in on a stiff-arm dude because he gives you everything you need out at the end of his arms.
I'm not sure how much longer it will take for you to get to there, but for now, why not start small? Try to use his arms to move his shoulders wherever you want them. Right up, left down, or maybe right forward, left back, etc. See what happens when you change your grip and go over a stiff arm instead of under it. Feel it out, and focus on getting control of his body.
9/07/2013 2:38pm, #9
- Join Date
- Jul 2011
- Pasadena, CA
Dr_Awesome's point about you having control of a stiff armed uke is a very good point. One of my instructors made a point to show us how easy it is to throw someone with tai otoshi when they are stiff arming. Their arms add stability to the lever action of that throw and it is hilarious to watch.
In my time in Judo I have been told something like "use te waza, sutemi wasa, and cutting off the angle to deal with stiff armed opponents" quite a few times. And then tell them to knock it off (or have your instructor do so) because it sucks to train with and will get them shido'ed into oblivion in competition.
9/08/2013 1:16pm, #10
First off, they should stop stiff arming...it does neither of you any good at this point in your judo training. Save the stiff arming for drilling against stiff arms, which is when they are most useful...training.
If he/she won't stop, it may be their ukemi waza sucks, and they are afraid to fall, or, they have a case of win-lose attitude in randori. It's the coach/sensei responsibility to make sure all the students are ready for randori (ukemi), and understand that stiff arming is not allowed unless for drilling purposes.
Specific techniques are hard to describe. You will have to drill them anyway outside of the context of randori to be effective.
1.) kumi kata (gripping) control the lead sleeve and keep his hand off your lapel and closer to you than to him.
2.) Angles, yes, angles again. Move to the outside and then back in. Exaclty what you do will depend on which throws you do well and how uke reacts. Stiff arms push forward and make distance. If you do ANY pushing back (other than to get a stronger reaction to the front), you are helping the stiff arms. This starts to get too advanced for someone at your stage, you should be working basics with good uke, grip, move, throw, different directions, action reaction, gripping. Because if you suck at that, dealing with stiff arms in an effective manner is going to be very difficult.Falling for Judo since 1980