JudoForum.com: JudoForum.com -> Day Three/Four, Kodokan Kangeiko Newaza Class with Matsumura-sensei

Jump to content

Subscribe to All Yielding, All The Time        RSS Feed

Day Three/Four, Kodokan Kangeiko Newaza Class with Matsumura-sensei

Icon 3 Comments
Well, the Kangeiko starts to take its toll... It's 10 straight days of early morning training (5:30-7:30, though I must confess I haven't quite made it to the mats by 5:30 yet. Before 6:00, though, honest!) And 10 straight means just that; no days off. From past experience, Day 1 is all adrenaline and novelty, Day 2 feels really cool ("hey! I made it in the frozen pre-dawn dark again! Wow, how much do I rock!!"), Day 3 reality starts to chuckle quietly under its breath, Day 4 it all just starts to seem like a really bad idea, and wasn't Day 5 outlawed by the Geneva Conventions? By Day 6, though, one seems to become acclimated to the routine, and it becomes quite enjoyable, and I've even felt a twinge of regret on Day 10 on one or two occasions that it was all coming to an end. A twinge, mind you... ;wry)

However, doing the incomparable Matsumura-sensei's newaza clinic throughout the Kangeiko really gives it focus and meaning, as I learn something valuable every day. Alas, Sensei has so much to teach that for every superb new technique I internalize, at least three disappear into the ether... But that's still many techniques to the good, and makes the sessions something special.

Matsumura-sensei's depth of knowledge about newaza really is unparalleled, at least in my experience (though I'd have to say that Mitch Kawasaki in Hamilton would at least run him a very close second...). Equally impressive is Matsumura's boundless enthusiasm, and casual, easy interactions with us students, however slow we may be to pick up his teachings. Endless patience and knowledge, and a sense of humour -- hard to ask for more in a teacher.

Anyway, this all started to excuse my not having written up Day 3, and as it's now evening of Day 4 and getting to be close to time to turn in in preparation for the impertinent alarm clock for Day 5, I'll report on the last two days in combination.

And indeed, the lessons of the two days were similar. Once again, obitori gaeshi was the focus. We moved from attacks where Tori is sitting in the newaza shizentai, as discussed in the entries for Days 1 and 2, to attacks where Uke is in "kame", or turtled, on all fours, head and legs tucked in, head facing down (or, as I seem to recall Kawasaki-sensei calling it many moons ago, "the coward defense" :lol: )

Actually, we didn't spend a lot of time receiving pointers from Matsumura-sensei on this one -- his instruction was that all of the techniques of the first two days were quite applicable to an Uke in kame, and he asked us to work them out on our own. Some panic ensued... but having thought about it for two nights now, I think I have a much better appreciation for the point. Indeed, all the 2-on-1 gripping, using the legs for balance and leverage, and making use of the belt all work just as well against kame, though it will take many more hours of practise before they come without a lot of deliberate thought.

Which brings up a point I remember AnnMaria DeMars making about newaza: that almost nobody "uchi-komi's" it the way we do with tachiwaza. Instead, we tend to be shown a technique, run through it a couple of times, then wonder why we can't recall it in randori or shiai. Imagine if we took the same approach to throwing...

The other point of the day was developed in far greater detail in Day 4: grabbing hold of one of uke's pant legs during obitori gaeshi, a collection of techniques which Matsumura calls "Ashitori gaeshi".

From newaza shizentai, the technique taught was something like this:

  • Uke attacks by reaching with L arm; tori takes the arm with both hands, pushes it to the inside (ie, back across Tori's chest).
  • As Uke falls forward and to his right, Tori reaches across Uke's back, as in all the other techniques of the past two days, and takes the belt.
  • This time, sensing that he is to be turned to his left, Uke extends his left leg and plants his foot firmly on the mat, making the turnover in that direction impossible
  • Tori reacts by releasing his RH hold on Uke's L arm and grasping Uke's extended L pant leg at the side (or, better, rear) of the knee. (also best to get the "pocket" grip once more here, if possible.
  • Tori then inserts right foot into Uke's Left groin/upper thigh (sumi gaeshi style), and plants his left foot firmly on the mats as the power point for the bridge and turn to come
  • Finally, Tori bridges/turns upward and to his left, turning Uke onto his back, and applying yoko shiho gatame.

Too tired to remember any more details! This is the problem with the vast volume of information that Matsumura-sensei imparts. Also, much of it involves subtle variations, and if they're not drilled repeatedly they quickly fade (at least from my swiss cheese-like cerebral cortex). Ah well, a bit sticks, which is more than I had before, and the principles he stresses are starting to become clearer. In a nutshell, I think they are:

  • Remain in shizentai wherever possible
  • Always 2-on-1
  • Make sure of grips -- use the "pocket" or "envelope" grip
  • Never have the tops of your toes contacting the mats -- always the bottom of the toes, so the feet can flex and spring
  • When holding, create triangles, so there's never a weak point for uke to attack
  • Don't just learn -- practise! Drill! Do newaza uchikomi!! (or maybe that was AnnMaria...)

Right, on to Day 4 -- all Ashitori gaeshi, all the time. The funny thing was, I thought we learned 3 techniques, but as the class was reviewing and demonstrating, it became clear it was more like at least 9... of which I remembered, well... I think I'm okay with two of 'em. Though we'll see when Sensei M asks us to demonstrate tomorrow, ulp. Anyway, the tidbits I remember:

The attacks today were all against "hirame" -- meaning prone, face down uke, trying hard not to let you get anything underneath his front. What I've most often seen (and done) in this situation is grab the belt, straddle, try to pull up and grapevine... and look slightly annoyed for 4-5 seconds until the ref calls "matte!" Matsumura-sensei, to no one's surprise, has a very different approach.

With Uke in hirame, Tori also sits down, tight to uke's side, legs running alongside uke. So, Tori is not looking at Uke's head -- looking at his feet, rather. The techniques all start with grabbing the belt.

First Technique -- ashitori gaeshi to kuzure yokoshiho gatame

  • If Tori is sitting with Uke on Tori's left, Tori takes Uke's belt with L hand (and, crucially, with a top-down grip; this is weaker than an underhand, fingers-up grip, but the latter puts Tori in great danger of having his arm caught and armlocked--or broken...).
  • R hand grasps Uke's near (left) leg by the gi at the back of the knee.
  • Tori lifts Uke's leg and rolls toward Uke, and brings his R leg, knee first, between Uke's legs
  • Using his torso and right leg to keep uke on his side, Tori releases his r hand grip on the pant leg, and reaches under Uke's elevated left leg to grasp the lower skirt of the judogi top
  • "You! Keep hold of belt!!" (Matsumura just yelled at me for starting to let go of the belt).
  • So, keeping hold of the belt and judogi skirt, Tori retreats, rather than complete the turnover -- and the retreat leaves him in a strong kuzure yokoshiho gatame.

Second technique -- ashitori gaeshi to tateshiho gatame

  • Just as above, until the point of retreat
  • But, instead of retreating, Tori continues with the turn, and Uke, recognizing his danger, entangles Tori's right leg in Uke's two legs.
  • Tori continues the turnover anyway, and immobilizes Uke's upper body
  • Hint -- Tori can reach behind Uke's head and grab his own far lapel for a powerful hold
  • with the upper body immobilized, Tori uses his free leg to extricate his trapped on, and applies Tateshiho gatame.

That's enough! This blog entry has become a minor book (though not a very interesting one, I fear -- sure needs pictures! As I said, there were many other variations offered, but the basic principles were as described -- now it's about experimentation, and drilling, to hammer them home.

Time for sleep. Kangeiko starts in a few hours. Ussss...

3 Comments On This Entry

Page 1 of 1


14 January 2011 - 09:35 AM
Hello, a Kangeiko summary/conclusion blog entry would be niceā€¦



26 August 2011 - 06:49 PM
Where do you train?


22 September 2012 - 12:27 AM
thanks for this. always great to read about the daily goings on and actual training at such an event and place. seriously. more posts on your experiences the course of the day and anything else would be most welcome.
Page 1 of 1