Practical throwing for the street

What are the most likely things to happen when throwing an amateur? By an amateur, I mean someone who has no experience with the technique. What will likely go wrong and what should our strategy be in such cases?

Assuming you actually do get the bad guy started into the throw, if he can reach you then a common reflex is for him to hang on for dear life on the way over, and the more severe the throw, the more powerful the grab. This makes sense to him since he thinks you will hold him up. Physics does not agree usually and both parties will end up on the floor. Fortunately, we know from training that this is not usually such a good counter to a throw, since if the thrower is fairly savvy, he can use this as an opportunity to badly slam the receiver.

Of course, your best bet is to all together avoid having him muckle onto you. You should either foul his arms so he cannot grab you or be in a location where he cannot reach you for a grab, such as being behind him. E.g., doing a shoulder throw while either crossing the other arm across uke's body (juji seoi nage), throwing to the uke's rear (ushiro seoi nage). As a further example, a major hip throw can simply pin the free arm to uke's side.

In the case that he does get hold of you, you should practice throws as sutemi as well by either dropping to one knee or falling on the receiver. This requires a bit more illumination, so here is a small discussion of sutemi and its uses. Generally there are three ways you might need to go to the floor when throwing.

In the second case, the receiver cannot tap, it should be noted, if he is truly hanging on to you and this will make the impact quite severe even on mats. It is best to have ample practice of nage komi (controlling -- well, powering actually -- the person to the ground) when he hangs on to you, but this requires thick mats and usually has an enormous amount of wear and tear on the receiver. In practice remember that when the receiver has both arms unavailable for tapping (he's hanging on for dear life), the landings can be much stouter so either extra mats are indicated or a lighter touch. There it is imperative the uke use his feet to tap powerfully.

Show and tell

One final note. A not infrequent event is to want to show your techniques to friends, acquaintances etc. For your safety, pick and choose your techniques wisely and leave yourself an out so that if they do something seriously stupid you are not at risk. Joint lock throws are a very good idea as demo techniques. If you slap them on stoutly and bring them to the point of the throw, you may then coach them on the way over. Fully controlling the reciever from the beginning will go a long way to making them understand your art. Remember that most folks have no real idea what a martial can do, so if you don't obviously have them dead to rights from the get go, they just assume it won't work and get cocky, rather than realizing you are being kind. Also, joint lock throws allow you to be as far from the person as possible. Remember that at this point you have taken all reasonable precautions for their safety and if they then choose to do something foolish, you should not be the one to suffer for it. If you wish to show the body throws this is fine, but stress to them that you are following certain rules of engagement, specifically

You should also realize that when people ask you to show them your stuff, what they sometimes really want is to show their stuff, with you in the role of really nice chump (someone to be taken advantage of). Some people have an almost pathological need to win, and no matter how civil you are, they will still try to do something goofy. Indeed, the more civil you are the more it encourages them since they confuse being reasonable with being weak. This is especially true for someone used to macho struttings -- part and parcel of "psyching out" the opponent. They tend to think they've won if you aren't making right the pre-game noises at them, plus they get lulled into the mindset that it will prove how tough they are at the same time they heavily rely on you to play by the rules. We call this cheating normally, but a romanticized "outlaw" mindset means that getting away with it no matter how stupid holds a lot of appeal for them. They can finally be a winner in their little miserable lives. (Sorry, I've run into some complete jerks.)

You'd also be amazed at the number of tough types who will tell you the being thrown is simply not effective. This is because they don't know how to throw and the closest thing they can relate it to is slipping and falling, which while uncomfortable is hardly serious. As such their courage is wide but not deep and actually seriously doing a technique on them is apt to make them frantic in which case they will up the ante and a simple demo can spiral out of control. It is best to avoid demonstrating on people like that since you might find yourself in a self-defense situation.