Throws are all to often presented as a hodge-podge. They are given piecemeal
so that only a specific throw in a specific case is known. Human bodies are only
symmetric along one axis (right down the middle), so there will have to special
cases depending on where you are, what you have grappled, etc., etc.. What I aim
to do here is give a system for throwing so that you will have a conceptual framework
for all throws and have a bona fide way to practice them, if you choose.
With work, throwing should really just be an extension of tai sabaki, and
should be as natural and easy as taking a walk.
For basic throwing, there are 5 parameters that need
to be addressed. One may remain blissfully unaware of the various types of mechanical
actions needed to throw, so we are now passing into the realm of the practical.
Fortunately, these form an acronym, PODDG, pronounced, appropriately enough, like
the second half of hodge-podge. We assume that the reader is familiar with the concept
of moving in 8 directions, which we use to give direction of travel and relative
positions. This leads to many thousands of possible throws in combination, many
of which are quite similar to others or really aren't terribly useful. The trick
is getting a way to practice enough of the possible ones in a reasonable way so
that throwing becomes second nature.
The basic grabs and grapples usually are at a joint, and here is a list for reference,
moving from the wrist and along the body to the ankle. Clothing grabs in the same
location often have specific names and these are included in parentheses.
tekubi - wrist (sode)
hiji - elbow (ude)
kata - on top of the shoulder (eri = collar)
seoi - the armpit
kubi - around the neck (eri to the nape of the neck)
mune/morote - the lapel, or really and grab to the chest/neck.
koshi - around the waist (obi for the belt)
ashi - the leg or a pant leg
uchi mata - the inside of the thigh
hiza - the knee
ashikubi - the ankle
These may be done as wraps (maki komi), hooks with the fingers, grabs
with the hands or grabbing the clothing at the specified location. Clothing grabs
are a good way to teach the throws and practice them initially, since the grip is
a bit looser, so uke has more of a chance to swim during the throw (i.e.,
to reorient for a proper landing). Grabbing the clothing often also reduces the
power of a throw. The downside is that, of course, people rarely wear clothing that
is as rugged as a standard gi, so only relying on clothing grabs is not a
good long-term strategy for training (although chest hair can make a dandy handle
if there is enough of it). The standard judo grip for instance is ude
with one hand and mune with the other. This is an excellent first grapple.
One should be aware also if doing clothing grabs, that a judo gi has extra-wide
sleeves specifically to permit grabbing. Getting used to grabbing there will train
you to do something that does not generalize.
These may also be done reversed (gyaku) and
this refers to coming from the outside of the body, rather than from between the
opponent's arms. These also frequently involve having one of uke's arms cross
his body. Throws done this way are usually much higher in leverage due to the twisting
of uke and considered more severe in application.