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#1 User is offline   SammyS 

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 03:44 PM

Does being left handed change anything about learning Judo?

I have so far only been to one class and plan to continue, but was just curious if it affects anything?

I know when learning boxing everything is basically reversed.
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#2 User is offline   yonah 

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 04:55 PM

Sammy as a fellow soutpaw, it changes both everything and nothing :)

When you learn Judo, you *should* ultimately, learn how to perform all techniques from both the right and the left side. (Right side being where your right hand holds your opponents left lapel and your left hand his right sleeve - left side, the hands are reversed).

In this respect, you are no different than anyone else learning judo, save for that some techniques would be easier for you to perform left-handed.

That being said, left-handedness makes a big difference in Randori (sparring, if you will) and competition. Because most people are right-handed, and a lot of recreational players play right-handed, they are not used to fighting against a left-handed grip. That being said, as someone who plays left-handed, I can tell you that more often than not, I wind up playing an opposing grip (i.e. my left hand on his right lapel, his right hand on my left) which might throw you off as a beginner.

My advice, just learn everything both ways and practice and how you play will come to you with time.

Incidentally, a lot of famous Judoka are left-handed. I can think of Mike Swain from the USA as one of them.
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#3 User is offline   RiverCity Physical Culture 

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 07:49 PM

jimmy and rhadi play left
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#4 User is offline   Mdrnsamurai 

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 08:23 PM

Over years of training I learned to develop from both sides. It is a very good idea to have Judo both to the Right and Left, especially if you are going to compete. Plus it always bad to wait until your Shodan test and try demonstrating techniques from the Right and Left when you have never done them before.

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#5 User is offline   RiverCity Physical Culture 

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 09:33 PM

"Does being left handed change anything about learning Judo?"

on average, a left-handed player can expect to have about 9 less years within which to learn and enjoy judo.
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#6 User is offline   Cam 

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 09:55 PM

Like Yonah, I am a lefty in Judo as well. I find that left handers are not only hard to fight for right players but also against other leftys. Since the majority of players fight right it means us leftys don't get to fight one another that often either:)
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#7 User is offline   fightingchef 

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 01:30 AM

I'm a righty that prefers playing left. So I've done both in my day. I'm way more comfortable playing left mainly because righties expect to play other righies and lefties expect the same.
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#8 User is offline   HeiseyRNC 

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 01:45 PM

I'm a righty but I have a few throws that work better to the left for me. Only problem is that if I switch to a left grip the others in my club are starting to catch on and know I am going to try one of those throws.
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#9 User is offline   Tsurumaki 

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 02:16 PM

View Postfightingchef, on Nov 1 2007, 10:30 AM, said:

I'm a righty that prefers playing left. So I've done both in my day. I'm way more comfortable playing left mainly because righties expect to play other righies and lefties expect the same.


That's a good idea; I sometimes wished I'd become adept going left. But I started judo at 13 and unless you have an enlightened teacher/parent that gets a righty to start doing lefty judo, it's not the sort of thing that a youngster will decide to do on his own. How old were you when you started judo?
My Japanese wife was a natural lefty who was forced to go right, and uses her left for some things and her right for others. My daughter is a lefty who uses her right hand for some things. It's fascinating but bewildering. I know that Mickelson is right-handed, as are a few of the top tennis and baseball players who play left. I know I used to find it harder to fight a lefty.
I favored holding both lapels, so my grip was neutral.

This post has been edited by Tsurumaki: 01 November 2007 - 02:18 PM

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#10 User is offline   Cichorei Kano 

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 07:24 PM

View PostTsurumaki, on Nov 1 2007, 11:16 PM, said:

That's a good idea; I sometimes wished I'd become adept going left. But I started judo at 13 and unless you have an enlightened teacher/parent that gets a righty to start doing lefty judo, it's not the sort of thing that a youngster will decide to do on his own. How old were you when you started judo?
My Japanese wife was a natural lefty who was forced to go right, and uses her left for some things and her right for others. My daughter is a lefty who uses her right hand for some things. It's fascinating but bewildering. I know that Mickelson is right-handed, as are a few of the top tennis and baseball players who play left. I know I used to find it harder to fight a lefty.
I favored holding both lapels, so my grip was neutral.


As they say, only lefties have their brain in the right place ... <_<
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#11 User is offline   Tsurumaki 

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 08:41 PM

For anyone who wants to learn almost everything in the known universe about left and right handedness, right down to the level of a living cell, there is a book called 'Left Hand, Right Hand" by Chris McManus. This book really drops the other shoe on the subject, digging four levels deeper than most people would ever want to know. Like, do you know that your cat will always start walking on the same side? Or how about the way people fold their arms? Or when you intertwine your fingers, which thumb is always on top? Many people make mistakes between left and right -- it's always been one of the biggest problems in military training down through the ages. One professor claims that if he forgot his watch, he'd never find his way home because when driving, he has to tighten the watch strap to remember which is left. The book provides percentages of the mistakes made, and of up and down responses. Which way does a spiral staircase wind, and why? And the DNA helix? How do you investigate the handedness of prehistoric peoples? Why does the heart end up on the left side (and why do such a high percentage of people think it's on the right side?). It's peripherally useful to learning judo, in that it makes one more observant about grips etc.

This post has been edited by Tsurumaki: 01 November 2007 - 08:46 PM

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#12 User is offline   fightingchef 

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 08:51 PM

View PostTsurumaki, on Nov 1 2007, 09:16 AM, said:

That's a good idea; I sometimes wished I'd become adept going left. But I started judo at 13 and unless you have an enlightened teacher/parent that gets a righty to start doing lefty judo, it's not the sort of thing that a youngster will decide to do on his own. How old were you when you started judo?
My Japanese wife was a natural lefty who was forced to go right, and uses her left for some things and her right for others. My daughter is a lefty who uses her right hand for some things. It's fascinating but bewildering. I know that Mickelson is right-handed, as are a few of the top tennis and baseball players who play left. I know I used to find it harder to fight a lefty.
I favored holding both lapels, so my grip was neutral.

I started when I was 25, but I started playing right and switch because I prefer to pull with my stronger hand (right), hence the right hand on the sleeve. I also have a faster step with my left foot. I switched very accidentally. It just felt "right".
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#13 User is offline   Kagemusha 

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 08:59 PM

I think being left handed is definitely an advantage to me. If I play defensive it is so much easier to counter hip throws from a right hander.

The biggest problem I have is that I have learned these counter throws only against right handed players (ura nage, tani otoshi, yoko guruma, yoko wakare, etc.) If I try them on the left side they just don't feel right.

While we are on the subject does any left handed people have problems with de ashi barai against right handed people?
This sweep in particular (along with a couple of others) seem a wrong fit for left vs. right.
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#14 User is offline   blablazo 

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 03:48 AM

My biggest problem as a left-hander who fights opposite grip, is that my opponent's right-handed lapel grip on my left lapel, and my left-handed grip on his right lapel creates two stiff arms and seem to make it difficult for EITHER of us to enter for a hip technique. I have not yet found any way around this and it is very frustrating for me. Even though I always make a conscious effort never to stiff arm my opponent, I find that the arm one uses to grab the opponent's lapel is inherently a bit stiffer. If two right handed guys play, it is seldom an issue because they enter from opposite sides, but for a left vs. right hander it is very frustrating to say the least.
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#15 User is offline   Tsurumaki 

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 04:32 AM

View Postblablazo, on Nov 9 2007, 12:48 PM, said:

My biggest problem as a left-hander who fights opposite grip, is that my opponent's right-handed lapel grip on my left lapel, and my left-handed grip on his right lapel creates two stiff arms and seem to make it difficult for EITHER of us to enter for a hip technique. I have not yet found any way around this and it is very frustrating for me. Even though I always make a conscious effort never to stiff arm my opponent, I find that the arm one uses to grab the opponent's lapel is inherently a bit stiffer. If two right handed guys play, it is seldom an issue because they enter from opposite sides, but for a left vs. right hander it is very frustrating to say the least.


Have you used randori to try out various ways of getting in? What other techniques do you use? For osoto-gari, for example, there is the 'shoulder shake', in which you come in under his right arm with your left arm and at the instant you grip, you jerk his right arm outwards and turn slightly to your left and then to your right. It's a very quick move, and if you do it right you can get in between his arms. Another approach that was used with great success by one man I know was a steady power pull; he just kept pulling you in to wear you down. He'd found it took more strength and energy for opponents to push him away than he used pulling them towards him. Try changing grips, to a neutral two-lapel grip, for example. There are a number of things you can try out in practice. Sometimes these can usefully be tested out on randori partners who are a grade or two below you.

This post has been edited by Tsurumaki: 09 November 2007 - 04:33 AM

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