How throwing is organized, the PODDG system

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.