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Friday, October 26, 2007

Judo, Day Seven: Ippon Seoinage.

I arrived to class late, having had to give a private Muay Thai lesson before things started. As a result, I missed the usually warm ups, but I was fairly well warmed up from doing ten rounds of pad work. Sensei was surprisingly calm about the whole thing. He just said “hi”, and set me to work.

A small portion of the practice was devoted to forward rolls, a practice which tends to confuse me only because I sometimes find myself rolling like an Aikidoka, not a Judoka. There are some subtle differences in the two falling styles, mostly having to do with foot placement, that make learning Judo style rolls a bit confusing. I’m slowly getting the hang of it, but I do bash the crap out of my ankles occasionally.

The vast majority of practice, however, was devoted to working on Ippon Seoinage, or the One-Arm Shoulder Throw.

Unlike some Chinese or Southeast Asian systems, Japanese tend to use pretty straightforward naming conventions for their martial arts techniques. You rarely hear about techniques like “parting the horse’s mane” or “crane on a rock” or whatever. The techniques are just named for what they are. In this case, Ippon Seionage is literally throwing someone over your shoulder, while only using one arm (as opposed to using both arms, which is Morote Seionage). Sensei seems to think this version is easier to learn than the morote version, so that’s what we’re working with.

Tim was sick, so I worked with Steve, another Judo newbie. We took turns, doing long sets of around 25 throws. Each time, we would get to the point of lifting the person, without completing the throw. Then we would switch.

This practice was interrupted long enough for us to join the throwing line, where I continued to do Ippon Seionage, but actually threw people.

Then we went back and worked on it some more.

And that was class.

It was actually nice to be able to spend that much time on a technique, especially since this technique feels much more comfortable to me than Osoto-Gari does. I suspect it’s because Osoto-Gari is a movement that is similar to some movements you see in Muay Thai, but the actual sweep itself would be considered a foul, depending on how you did it. Now, Ippon Seionage would also be a foul in Muay Thai, but the movement is so far removed from anything you’d see in that sport that there’s no mental confusion. I don’t find a part of my brain saying, “dude, this is illegal”, because it’s so far off the beaten path that my brain barely registers it. I’m not 100% sure that’s the reason, but I do know that this technique definitely feels better and more natural.

Besides, it’s cool to throw someone like that. Very dramatic, and they make a hell of a crash when they land. And that is just plain fun.

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