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  1. BKR is online now
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    Posted On:
    2/07/2014 9:42pm

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     Style: Kodokan Judo

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    Judo Gip Fighting Thread

    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 !



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    Falling for Judo since 1980
  2. CrackFox is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/08/2014 4:49pm

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    Perhaps I'm splitting hairs, but it looks like at around 2:08, he doesn't take a lapel grip with his left - he's got an arm-pit grip. I've been trying to work more with this grip lately as it seems to be a decent way of upsetting an opponents strong over the back grip. So far I only really use it as a stalling tactic, but there's guys I know who seem to be able use it to use it well to break and throw in one movement.
  3. blackmonk is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/09/2014 9:00pm

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    I love talking about gripping strategies. It really appeals to the overly-analytical nerd in me. However, I'm not entirely amazing at it, especially when I am not able to procure the grips that I like.

    That very thing happened to me yesterday at a local sport sambo tournament. My second opponent was a national-level judoka, and a former OSU wrestler. I didn't do awfully against him at all, but I did have a **** of a time trying to get the grips that I like, or trying to figure out what to do with what I had. I scored on him once, so I guess that's a success. I got my first opponent with a standing kata guruma, though. That was cool.

    So fundamentally, since I am a lefty, you are suggesting that I rotate clockwise. Cool. Against a right-handed opponent, then, what sort of gripping and throwing strategies would you suggest?
  4. BKR is online now
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    Posted On:
    2/10/2014 3:01pm

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     Style: Kodokan Judo

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrackFox View Post
    Perhaps I'm splitting hairs, but it looks like at around 2:08, he doesn't take a lapel grip with his left - he's got an arm-pit grip. I've been trying to work more with this grip lately as it seems to be a decent way of upsetting an opponents strong over the back grip. So far I only really use it as a stalling tactic, but there's guys I know who seem to be able use it to use it well to break and throw in one movement.
    He sure does, good observation. I watched quite a few of his videos, he does both.

    You an indeed break grip as you suggest and use the reaction to enter for a throw. It's a bit harder now that the two on one grip break isn't allow. In any case, you don't necessarily have to cut the grip to neutralize it and throw. Grip in the pocket and shrug/slide works sometimes.
    Falling for Judo since 1980
  5. BKR is online now
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    Posted On:
    2/10/2014 4:59pm

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     Style: Kodokan Judo

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    Quote Originally Posted by blackmonk View Post
    I love talking about gripping strategies. It really appeals to the overly-analytical nerd in me. However, I'm not entirely amazing at it, especially when I am not able to procure the grips that I like.

    That very thing happened to me yesterday at a local sport sambo tournament. My second opponent was a national-level judoka, and a former OSU wrestler. I didn't do awfully against him at all, but I did have a **** of a time trying to get the grips that I like, or trying to figure out what to do with what I had. I scored on him once, so I guess that's a success. I got my first opponent with a standing kata guruma, though. That was cool.

    So fundamentally, since I am a lefty, you are suggesting that I rotate clockwise. Cool. Against a right-handed opponent, then, what sort of gripping and throwing strategies would you suggest?
    Gripping strategies are an absolute necessity to compete successfully at higher levels. With the stuff available online and via DVD now, a lot of that trickles down to lower levels as well. So being nerdish about it is a good thing. You have to be a "student of the game" so to speak, at least in my opinion, to some degree.

    My comments about direction of rotation were very fundamental, although what I wrote is commonly true in Judo at least. Lefties typically turn to the right for forward throws like Seoi Nage, Uchi Mata, Tai Otoshi, etc. This is due to the nature of the grip in large part (the standard sleeve and lapel grip).

    You ask a pretty broad question, as you well know, LOL !

    General suggestions for gripping. These are basic/fundamental. Sambo has much more liberal rules about gripping than Judo does these days, so I will keep it basic.

    All this stuff is pretty much common knowledge, I invented none of it. Jimmy Pedro in his DVD "grip like a world champion" covers this very well, and his DVD was really the first that I know of to be commonly and relatively cheaply available, so if you see Jimmy tell him thanks !

    1.) Kenka yotsu gripping (left vs right). Assume lefty is tori (you in this case).

    2.) You want to establish an inside grip with your left hand on uke right lapel. You will want to maintain this if at all possible. There are different ways to do that.

    3.) Next, you want to get your right hand on uke. In Judo, we typically want to get his left sleeve with our right hand, and keep it in our half of the space between us, keeping his hand that normally goes on our lapel off of our lapel, or very low on it.

    4.) Often what happens in the kenka yotsu situation (opposing grips) is what I call the "lapel war". Both guys jockey for inside position, and keep their free hands well back and away from the other guy. Before the stalling and "refusing grip" penalties go so draconian in Judo, that sort of thing could go on for quite a bit. Now, not so much.

    5.) Assuming you get inside position with your lapel hand, you would take uke sleeve directly. It helps immensely to move yourself and uke (you take initiative) while working on the lapel grip. Once you get it, move uke, and try to capture the sleeve.

    6.) I you can't, then take a lapel grip with your right had on uke left lapel, and draw your hand towards your chest, putting pressure on uke forward (bending his head/upper body. If uke reaches up to grab your sleeve, you can intercept and control it.

    You will want to develop attacks from each of the above situations, including if uke gets inside lapel on you, in you have inside lapel but no sleeve or lapel grip, if you have a double lapel grip, etc. No matter which situation occurs, your opponent must be concerned about your attack.

    As you can do leg grabs etc in Sambo, you have a lot more options. Of course, the lack of pants puts a bit of a damper on that, but singles/ankle/knee picks from a one handed grip are a definite possibility, as is Kata Guruma as well. In judo those are out of the picture for competition, of course.

    You will need to work on how to escape and regrip, escape and attack, attack directly, etc. from weaker positions as well. It is best to try to use your strongest/best techniques in those situations, and to also be able to "attack out of the bad spot" rather than just stand there like a deer in the headlights.
    Falling for Judo since 1980
  6. blackmonk is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/11/2014 9:55am

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    General question, absolutely. I just like to see stuff like this mapped out, especially from instructors and players with good competition experience.

    From what I understand, there are great DVDs and instructionals out there on grips, but I hardly ever feel like paying for DVDs.
  7. blackmonk is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/11/2014 10:50am

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    Do you have any general strategies for framing? I know MANY judo coaches advise against framing or stiff-arming, but sometimes I think that is because they are far too enamored with the gentle, empty-jacket esotericism of conceptual judo. Anyone who has ever sparred with a real judo or sambo athlete knows that it doesn't feel like that at all... Or usually doesn't. It's more like being stuck inside a very violent washing machine, and then somehow getting shot out onto your face.

    I see Jimmy Pedro and Rhadi Ferguson stiff-arming the opposite lapel of their opponent, making a square or rectangle configuration between tori and uke, thus preventing a linear attack.

    Thoughts?
  8. NeilG is online now
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    Posted On:
    2/11/2014 11:23am


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    In judo, if you stiff-arm too much you are going to be penalized.
  9. blackmonk is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/11/2014 11:26am

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    Quote Originally Posted by NeilG View Post
    In judo, if you stiff-arm too much you are going to be penalized.
    I know. I compete in judo, also.

    What I was asking for is thoughts on the usefulness of framing, though, as displayed by some exceptional US athletes/coaches.
  10. BKR is online now
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    Posted On:
    2/11/2014 12:51pm

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     Style: Kodokan Judo

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    Quote Originally Posted by blackmonk View Post
    General question, absolutely. I just like to see stuff like this mapped out, especially from instructors and players with good competition experience.

    From what I understand, there are great DVDs and instructionals out there on grips, but I hardly ever feel like paying for DVDs.
    DVDs get expensive for sure. I only have Jimmy Pedro's, and I got it mostly to have something for my students to study. Most are not nerdy though, so any sort of study outside of class doesn't happen, other than competition videos.
    Falling for Judo since 1980
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