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Kodokan Kangeiko, Day One: Newaza class with Matsumura-sensei, Eighth Dan, 86 years young

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It is a joy, honour, and privilege to have a class with Matsumura-sensei, who is truly an amazing teacher, judoka, and man. I’ve been very fortunate to attend his Kangeiko sessions in past years, and at the same time woefully remiss in not writing up in detail his superb lessons. So, I aim to rectify that shameful omission this year.

Matsumura-sensei always starts with the basics of movement, gripping, and body control for effective newaza, then moves to turnovers and the application of various techniques post-turnover, most notably tateshiho gatame and yokoshiho gatame, then sankaku gatame and sankaku jime, and finally some shimewaza (with jikoku jime being a particularly nasty specialty… :big grin: ). Though of course, with his 70 years or so of judo experience (!), who knows what delights he might surprise us with.

Alas, I do not have video of his sessions, and the Kodokan should be ashamed of itself for not providing more space for this Living National Treasure (my appellation, but if he ain’t one officially, he oughtta be) to conduct his classes, and a professional video team to capture it for posterity. I’d love to do some videoing myself, but am always too wrapped up with actually doing the judo during the sessions… Anyway, I’ll try to present the key elements of Matsumura-sensei’s lessons in written form, below. If anyone is actually reading this and wants to know more, by all means please PM me through the Forum. Usssss….

Introductory Comments from Matsumura-sensei
  • The shizentai of newaza is sitting on buttocks, back straight, knees up, feet cocked outwards, hands at the ready
  • That is, Tori should avoid lying/falling backward where possible; this will take significant core strength, but results in far better maneuverability
  • Two-on-one is a key principle of successful newaza. This is often illegal as a gripping strategy in modern tournament tachiwaza, but essential in newaza. That is, two of your limbs must attack (or resist) one of your opponent’s limbs whenever possible.
  • When attacked, Tori must use feet for defense and control, usually by placing them on Uke’s belt at the hip joints


    Today’s techniques: Basic obitori gaeshi turnovers from a seated position; two variants

    FIRST VARIANT

    1. Tori seated in shizentai, awaiting attack from Uke
    2. Uke grab’s Tori’s left lapel with right hand; as Uke attacks, Tori makes sure that his feet are used defensively, preferably placed against Uke’s belt at the hip joints
    3. Tori takes a “pocket” or “envelope” style grip (i.e., fingers curled up inside a swath of gi material) with left hand on uke’s outside right sleeve, near elbow, and a same-side lapel grip (the two-on-one)
    4. Staying seated as upright as possible, Tori pushes uke’s R hand inward; Tori also uses his left knee on the outside of his own L hand on Uke’s R sleeve for further pushing power (two-on-one)
    5. This should break Uke’s grip on Tori’s lapel; as the grip is broken, and while maintaining the lapel grip with his R hand and pulling Uke in tighter, Tori reaches up and around Uke’s back with L hand, grabbing Uke’s belt as deeply as possible
    6. As Tori pulls uke in tight, Tori’s R hand reaches under Uke’s left armpit and takes hold of Uke’s left shoulder from underneath and behind
    7. Tori hooks his left foot inside Uke’s right groin/upper thigh, and uses his left leg to pull Uke in tighter. (May do the same with R foot, or may keep it on mat for a base.)
    8. Having wrapped up Uke and coiled him in tightly like a spring, Tori can now turn back to his own left shoulder, throwing uke up and over uke’s R shoulder, and landing on top of uke to apply osaekomi – basically, tateshiho gatame.



    SECOND VARIANT

  • Steps 1-4 same as above
  • As Uke’s R hand grip on Tori’s L lapel is broken and Uke’s R hand is pushed inward, Tori’s R hand reaches across, grasps Uke’s gi under Uke’s R armpit
  • Tori’s L hand reaches across Uke’s back to grab the belt deeply, as in FIRST VARIANT
  • As above, Tori hooks his left foot inside Uke’s right groin/upper thigh, and uses his left leg to pull Uke in tighter. (May do the same with R foot, or may keep it on mat for a base.)
  • Again as above, having wrapped up Uke and coiled him in tightly like a spring, Tori can now turn to his left shoulder, throwing uke up and over uke’s R shoulder, and land on top of uke to apply osaekomi.
  • In this case, however, the osaekomi will be beside Uke, rather than on top of him, and will result in strong control of only one of Uke’s arms – a form of kuzure yokoshiho gatame


KEY POINT FOR BOTH VARIANTS: Tori MUST maintain grip on Uke’s belt from the time it is taken until the hold is broken or Uke submits

1 Comments On This Entry

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Mike2 

19 January 2011 - 12:54 PM
Marvellously detailed record of the coaching. A Big thank you. I'm printing it out for my own records and use.
I trained under him when he was 83+ in 2007 at Kodokan, (I was 65) and had exactly the same impressions. He had just come back from coaching the Italian team and I remember someone saying "Sensei, are there DVDs of your coaching?" and he said, with that humour of his "NO! If you have DVDs you don't need me!"
Your picture with him reminds me of mine - except that I was looking quite choked up about saying goodbye to this remarkable guy. Doing ebi- shrimping the full length of the mat, I thought he'd cut me some slack because of my age and let me stop short of the end, but he just stood patiently smiling and saying "No, no, finish!" while the youngsters in the class watched. (At that particular point, I wasn't a great fan of his) <_<
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