Since 2006, we’ve been having seminars at Mokuren Dojo that we call Aiki Buddies Gatherings (ABGs) or Judo Buddies Gatherings (JBGs). Some years we had one ABG and some years we’ve had 2 or 3, so I haven’t been able to keep up with how many. This past weekend was our umpteenth JBG (though we called it a Judo Jamboree).
Session 1 – small ashiwaza
I feel a little bit bad because we spend SO MUCH TIME on small ashiwaza at Mokuren Dojo. Not really too bad because it is our main thing, but sometimes I think I can hear a chorus of groans when I announce that we’re going to have another class on small footsweeps.
This time I asked the folks before the first session what they wanted to work on and they said, “How about kosotogari since you always murder us with it?” I raised an eyebrow and they confirmed that they wanted another class on small ashiwaza, so I obliged!
||Deashibarai is the first thing taught in the traditional Kodokan Judo syllabus – the Gokyo no waza. And there is a good reason why. Not only is it extremely viable in itself, but learning the footwork for deashi makes the footwork for all the rest of the Gokyo easier to learn!|
Session 2 – impossible tewaza
For the second session, they wanted to work on how the footwork from the small ashiwaza set up or led to other stuff – like tewaza. So I obliged, including everyone’s perpetual favorites, seoinage and taiotoshi as well as a couple that everyone generally considers impossible.
|Back in the day, someone told me that both sumiotoshi and ukiotoshi are really for demonstration purposes only because they are impossible to do against a resistant opponent!
Well, phooey! Sure they’re not trivial skills to learn, but they are not impossible, and getting a good grasp of the small ashiwaza from session 1 makes it much easier.
As lagniappe, we got to talk about some of Tokio Hirano’s ideas about tewaza like ukiotoshi.
Session 3 – hanarejudo
The story goes that when Tomiki sensei started teaching aikido, his teaching methods were so different from Ueshiba’s that he considered calling his art hanarejudo (separated judo) just to avoid conflict with the aikido purists. Eventually he decided that what he was teaching really was aikido – just taught a new way. His decision to call his teachings aikido led to generations of bad feelings between the different factions of the aikido world.
In any case, at Mokuren Dojo, we have always considered aikido and judo to be about the same thing – or at least different facets of the same thing. So, despite the fact that we called this weekend a Judo Jamboree, our third session was material that is usually considered part of the domain of aikido – that is, Koryu Dai Yon kata with an emphasis on aiki age and a look at how those ideas inform the judo tewaza that we had been practicing earlier.
||So, what do these things have to do with judo tewaza? Simply put, they appear to have been Tomiki’s (or maybe Ohba’s) preferred method to hone peoples’ skills in pure hand throws.
This particular exercise has been maddening to me for over 25 years and it’s only within the last 2-3 years that I’ve gotten any traction on yon kata at all. Let me tell you from first-hand experience, if you can get the first two of these things to work at all, they will inform the rest of your tewaza greatly.