This is one of two exclusive posts written to christen the start of this blog, the other is Silver Bullets.
It’s only natural to want to emulate our idols and when it comes to Judo this usually means copying the signature throw variation of a highly successful Judoka. When a highly successful Judoka bursts onto the scene whether a new or unusual variation of a canonical technique there will follow a craze of copying that throw amongst us mortals involved in recreational Judo. Usually the start of this craze is closely linked to the release of a Fighting Films dvd...
In this entry I will examine and seek to dissect two of the most famous Judokas of recent years technique’s. Toshihiko Koga’s Ippon seoi nage and Kosei Inoue’s Uchi mata.
Inoue's Uchi mata
I'll examine Inoue's Uchi mata first because its one I feel is mechanically easier to get your head around.
As with any throw we should remember first principles about spacing - the triangle and correct breaking of balance.
As these are all observed in Inoue's version of uchi mata.
Lets examine Inoue's uchi mata
Inoue first demonstrates the canonical hikidashi entry method whereby he first steps in with his right foot and then brings in his left foot as a supporting/pivoting foot and his right leg sweeps through uke.
The canonical hikidashi first step:
Inoue's oikomi Uchi mata first step:
Inoue 'slices the traditional Uchi mata in half' in the words of Neil Adams. As he enters with a single Oikomi entry step.
Here we can see Inoue preparing for his entry, weighting his uke:
Inoue then enters, the foot is either placed horziontally to the line of uke's toes or horizontally:
The space observable between Inoue's hips and his uke's as a result of observing the triangle are vital as it allows space for his uke's balance to broken forward and his own hips to fit into:
The combination of expert tsurikomi and kuzushi throughout the tsukuri phase means Inoue's uke is completely loaded onto his hip allowing Inoue to sweep the leg through to effect the Uchi mata
A perfect ippon scoring technique:
Inoue's method of entry can be applied to other throws on a retreating opponent and a static one
At this point the throw can become a Harai goshi, Tai otoshi, Ashi gurma, Koshi guruma, Tsurikomi goshi etc...
Koga's Seoi nage
This video shows Koga's seoi nage in application in a kenka yotsu situation. However, it reveals some fundamentals about the entry that are applicable to both kenka and ai yotsu.
Koga starts in a kenka yotsu situation.
His first step observes the correct spacing and the triangle principle
Similarly to the Inoue stepping pattern the first step is not with the normal right foot, but rather with the left.
Crucially here Koga performs a tsugi ashi style step
Before stepping deep with the right foot.
Koga uses his extraoridnary tai sabaki and movement skills to position himself perfectly for the entry.
And the throw is completed in a picture pefect manner:
The main error seen when people try and copy Koga's seoi nage entry and indeed in many normal seoi nage is that they get to this position:
And then attempt to reverse into uke to effect the throw:
However, what you should be aiming to from this position is to project uke forward as much as possible whilst manouvering your hips under their centre of gravity.