I was getting a bit more practice tonight in terms of assistant coaching. This is quite a good introduction as the main coach handles the lesson plan and…well… to be honest they handle pretty much everything, leaving me to wander giving advice when the students put it into practice.
When it came to Randori, some of the physical differences between some of the players came to light. Now, these are juniors, and although some may be roughly the same size, there can be a great difference in age and therefore strength.
Thus sometimes a player would be pretty much pulling their partner all over the place, forcing them down, and it was not uncommon for a throw to occur by means of sutemiwaza.
Sacrifice throws are an important part of any judoka’s toolkit, but executing one on a player who is clearly weaker and smaller than you does not prove much.
Some of the advice I felt appropriate tonight was as follows:
- To a player who had thrown their partners several times with sutemiwaza (as above): No more sutemiwaza for you tonight. Use other throws. Encourages broadening horizons. Seconds after this, the player executes a beautiful O goshi. It had the “Ooooh” factor.
- To players dragging smaller ones around: Reiterate the point of Randori. Emphasise technique and subtle breaking of balance over RARRRRGH. And, just as importantly, to their partner, give a few tips as to how to handle someone who is stronger (Stay upright, keep moving, attack!).
- To hip-blockers. Hip-blocking is a totally valid way of blocking a throw, but to attempt Tani Otoshi afterwards when their partner is clearly stronger is not good. Try stepping round instead and attack. A player tried this after having their Tani Otoshi countered each time, and managed to throw their partner repeatedly with Tai Otoshi. Beautiful.
- To the wrestling stance! Two players end up bent right over wrestling. Normally the only throw attempts that result are sutemi waza. Emphasise standing up more, brings out more opportunities (back to movement here!).
All of this is Judo 101 and common sense. But I feel it does have to be pointed out quickly when spotted before bad habits set in. I speak from experience. I know very, very well how reliance on sutemi waza and counters stunted my Judo growth. Now I try and be more upright I am always thinking to myself, “I wish someone had made me do this earlier!”.