Transitional Newaza

Ran across a wonderful set of linked techniques in a seminar by the Sensei Kazuo Shinohara from the Kodokan… We were playing around with this in training, and I thought I’d pass it along.

  1. Start in right-side Kesa Gatame. Uke will reach with his left hand to grab your obi, and attempt to roll you over him to his left.
  2. You will now post your right hand (that was wrapped around Uke’s head) far to the right to stop Uke’s rolling escape attempt
  3. Uke takes advantage by grabbing your outstretched arm, and slamming it over his head and to his right (so that you cannot re-engage uke’s head, and prevent a bridging attempt)
  4. With that right arm, you tightly hook uke’s right arm that you were holding for Kesa Gatame, and turn your body counterclockwise into Ushiro Kesa Gatame - and with your left hand grab uke’s far side, pants or jacket.
  5. Now, Uke tries his next escape attempt, by placing his left hand on your right shoulder, and successfully pulling his right arm out of your grasp.
  6. You will continue your counterclockwise turn a tad more, shifting into Yoko Shiho Gatame
  7. Uke begins his escape by pulling his hips away from you, creating space, then spinning to his left, away from you. You’ll hook his right arm as he spins away…
  8. You may now circle around Uke’s head to his other side, pushing him back down into Yoko Shiho Gatame.

Now, let’s look at a few modifications of this set… For example, after number 7, you’re in a perfect position to slide your left leg over Uke’s head, and sit back into Juji Gatame. Another possibility is to make sure your right hand is hooking Uke’s right arm from underneath, keylock his right arm, then move into Kami Shiho Gatame.

You can also bring in another complete set of skills by changing uke’s number 7 escape to pulling his hips out, creating space, and then shifting his right leg back in, thus going into the guard. Now you can work a new set of linked techniques either for Tori to pass the guard, or for Uke to turn tables, and sweep, armbar, or choke…

When I was much younger, I used to have quite a bit of fun on the trampoline at the local military base gym… we had a game we called “Add-on”. The first person would perform some move - say, for example, a simple bounce to the back and up. The next person would ‘add-on’ another technique - he’d do the simple back, then, a 180 rotate to the back again.. the next person would do those two techniques, and add a third.

Something similar to this might prove to be an interesting game in Judo. See how long a set of linked techniques you can do. Preferably with a counter by Uke at each step of the game…

Somewhat along the same lines, I like to challenge students to rotate all the way around uke, holding uke for 5 seconds or so in all pins that they know. It’s a fun game for Judoka, and gives uke plenty of opportunity to practice his escapes.