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elbow pain and osoto gari

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    elbow pain and osoto gari

    Ok guys, this is my dilemma. I was uchikomi'ing osoto gari with my instructor Thursday night, and somehow I injured/twisted/overextended my elbow. Until this morning, the pain has subsided a little, but since Thursday night, the pointy, bonny part of the elbow has been redish/purplish... it's getting better now.

    Taking a right-handed position, I was drilling osoto, with my right hand holding my instructor's lapel, right forearm on his chest. He mentioned that I wasn't making contact with him hard enough (which was true.) So at the end of the class I was doing my entry, pretty much slamming my right foarm on his chest, and my shoulder on his as my instructor kept saying to keep going like that, just to get the feeling, and complete the throw at the 10th attempt.

    So, when I did executed the throw, somehow, as I had my right arm on his chest, I twisted my foearm backwards, and sharp pain to the elbow followed. We were done for the night on that and we switched to grip fighting, so I just wrapped my elbow and sucked it up.

    Later I got home, put some tiger balm, took two ibuprofens and went to sleep. I was too tired to ice it, but maybe I should have...

    ...the morning after that's when I noticed there was something wrong. I decided to ice it, but I had to stop it because the ice caused an unbearable pain. So I just kept taking ibuprofens and putting tiger balm and wrap the shit out of the elbow (and releasing the wrap regularly) through the day.

    Can't do push ups or tricep extensions... curls, more or less. If the pain doesn't go away by tomorrow, I'm going to skip class on Monday.

    So that's the deal. For any experienced judoka out there, have you experienced the same? My right arm is a bit inflexible, so how could I cope with putting my forearm on uke's chest and make contact with force while minimizing the risk of bending my forearm backward.

    I must be doing something awfully wrong here. Since it was at the end of the class, and since I though the elbow thing wasn't that much of a biggie I forgot to ask my instructor...

    ... any ideas???

    I get that pain sometimes. It comes from too much flexing of the joint. Just as bad as hyperextending them. I suggest modifying your Osoto slightly to take less impact on the forearm and more with the shoulder/chest.

    Contrary to popular belief, and probably the belief of your instructor, there are several 'ways' to hit an Osoto. And if you are injurying yourself in one method it doesn't matter how 'right' that method is. It isn't going to work for you. Time to change it up a bit.

    I had my wrist almost hit my shoulder once from a bad landing. It literally took years before I felt no pain. And I watch that elbow very carefully because it is just a little bit looser than the other one.

    I suggest two things: REST and modification of your technique to prevent re-injury.

    Modify how? Well you still need the impact to drive Uke backwards. But I suggest you modify your grip slightly. Try lifting your opponents gi over his shoulder a little bit and striking with the inside of your bicep/chest/shoulder. I know this isn't the classic way to do it and you will need to get a little kuzushi for it. During Ouchi Gari I actually pull my opponents gi over thier shoulder to the side I am driving toward. If they step out I can go for Osoto on the other side. Since your grip is already screwy from yanking thier gi around you pretty much have to do it the way I described above to complete the Osoto.

    If it works, great. If not - oh well! There are 63+ other throws you can choose from!


      I agree with Yrkoon. If it's hurting you to do it that way, that's not for you. For osoto with good contact you can even move your lapel hand up to the collar and drive it in and down for the throw. You get great contact that way and can put some nice force into the throw if you're in the mood.

      Ice the elbow as much as you can tolerate. Rest it as much s you can, definately do not put weight on it until the pain gets much better.


        Thanks guys. I will keep your suggestions in mind and talk with my instructor for other alternatives. I'm able to flex it now, but there is still some discomfort when my arm is fully extended. By yesterday noon, I was able to tolerate icing on the elobw, and that with ibuprofens seemed to have helped it a lot.



          I would suggest taking a higher grip and emphasize your left arm pull and chest to chest contact in the osoto gari. The elbow problem (I find) is what happens when practicing osotogari on a shorter opponent or too low of a grip because the elbow is too low. I like to think of the lapel grip as a sideways pull to move the 'victim' onto his close leg so the reap is better, it keeps me from putting too much force on the elbow joint.

          I like to think of it as the lapel gripped arm needs to be as close to 90 degrees as I can get it. I got it from watching a Koga instructional about Seionage and he is mentioning about the elbow being weak if it is less than 90 degrees and the torque that is inflicted on the elbow joint. I just took the advice and applied it to osotogari because I frequently have the same pain.


            It's funny that you mentioned the idea of emphasizing the left arm pulling while doing osoto gari. Just before my elbow incident, my instructor asked another black belt to check my osoto. He said I was using too much forced and emphasized it the pulling of uke towards the leg I'm about to rip.

            After that, I switched back with my instructor, and I though I was going to review that (the pulling), but here we went again, slaming on him until my elbow decided to bitch about it. The pain is almost gone, but I'm skipping class tonight. I definitely need to talk to him for other alternatives for osoto, or just to concentrate on other areas in the meantime.

            To me, it feels more natural and powerful to raise my elbow and drive my gripping hand up (as in lifting uke's gi) when I'm stepping my left foot forward (I'm right handed), and when I'm ripping the leg, drive that same gripping hand downward.

            However, my instructor keep saying that I must avoid opening my elbow since that risks it being broken. Though it makes sense (that the elbow can be broken), I find that possitioning of the elbow to be unrealistic... maybe I'm missunderstanding what he is saying...


              I'm much more of a fan of the method you describe for o-soto. It's probably not the classical style but it's much more effective IMHO. Much harder for the opponent to push you off if you're breaking down his head than just doing chest contact.

              Glad to hear the elbow's feeling better but I think you're smart resting it. Those kind of injuries will nag forever if you don't give them rest to heal up completely.


                My elbow is much better, but I certainly need to rest. It hurts a bit when doing anything resembling a tricep extension against moderate weight. Oh well...

                I just came from the dojo... didn't train since my elbow still hurts, just went to watch and to talk with my instructor. I told him about the elbow and osoto gari, and we discussed some alternatives, so we'll see. Plus he suggested me to come to the Saturday class - it's mostly kata, and (perhaps, perhaps) striking so that should be interesting.

                Anyways, this is how my elbow is looking now. That red part was purple/black and the entire area surrounding it was red, tender and swollen, specially the area going down the tricep, between the other two bony ends of the elbow :dead:


                  Holy crap dude. I have no idea how you could do that kind of damage to your elbow doing o-soto but I definately wouldn't do it that way again.


                    Originally posted by Judobum
                    Holy crap dude. I have no idea how you could do that kind of damage to your elbow doing o-soto but I definately wouldn't do it that way again.
                    My instructor has no clue either!!! And actually neither do I. :llorar: I didn't realize how bad it was until the day after. I'm certainly doing something wrong.

                    We really slam the crap out of each other when doing body contact - I usually end up with bruises in my chest and shoulders because of it. But in this case, I overextended my forearm backwards... plus it may be true what the other black belt dude told me... that I'm using too much force :tard:


                      Thats a wierd bruise from doing osotogari, my advice would be insted of grabing the lapel traditionally try and grab the lapel in the back of their neck, the elbow is higer and it works pretty well (for me at least).

                      About that elbow maybe you should see a doctor, whatever it is it may be getting worse without you noticing it, and whatever you do, I wouldn't go training (at least forcing the elbow) until thats 100%, its better to stop for a week then an entire month.


                        I think the elbow thing may have been a pre-existing condition. Whenever I lift weights (specially with overhead presses and cable pushdowns), past a certain load, I find it necessary to wrap my elbows. Doing osoto with the elbow on uke's chest probably was the needle that broke the camel's back.

                        The elbow is much better now, but as you suggested, I'm taking time off for the time being. I don't want to mess with that.


                          I think Yrkoon9's advice is very good. There are many different ways to enter and execute the osoto that I suppose would be called/viewed as "nontraditional kodokan".

                          BUT, you have to work with what you've got. Like has been suggested above I would try different hand positionings/handles and angles of entry to see if it makes a difference on the elbow. Good luck.



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