Foot sweep drill, part 3

Okay, let's wrap up the last part of this series, at least in the basic sense. Once I've finished this, I'll go back to each of the 3 entry conditions and talk about a few more possible throws that several other people came up with during shochugeiko and even since then.

In the first part, we caught uke's foot and we waited for him to pull it back; then, we rode that backward, exaggerated step into 3 throws based on the foot position of our landing foot. In the second part, we talked about another 3 possibilities if uke pulled his foot away and we missed our initial foot sweep, again, based on 3 possible positions of our landing foot.

This time, we catch uke's foot again, but now he's bracing against us or even forcing us to go backward, and we have to step back. Just as in the case with the first section where uke's recovery step was exaggerated, which prompted us to make a larger than normal step, tori's going to also take a larger than normal step back here too. In other words, we have forward momentum to begin with, we catch the foot, and for whatever reason, uke braces against us and we run into a wall. Rather than fight that sudden bracing energy, we're going to say, "Okay, uke, you wanna push me back, well I'm going to move back in the direction that you're giving me, but a little further than you intended."

In the first instance, our foot is still pointed forward, but a little off to the left side, across the line of his feet (presuming we're doing all the initial sweeps with our left). The sudden release of tension and the larger than normal step back will create a large drawing action (with our center, not our arms, mind you). As uke comes forward and begins to rise again, our arms collapse against our own bodies (the centers join) and we catch o soto gari. (This drawing action can sometimes be so dynamic that uke just falls down before we even get the leg in there, but obviously, you don't want to count on that.)

In the second instance, our left foot lands with our toes pointed at uke, on the line of his feet. From this three-feet-on-the-line set-up, toes pointed at uke, there's actually a whole litany of throws you can catch, but for starters, we'll do hiza guruma, and save the others for a future post.

In the third instance, our left foot lands turned out, pointed down the line of uke's feet. This is the basic set-up from which we typically teach most basic hip throw ideas, so again, you have a number of options off of this entry. However, I've noticed that the large drawing motion involved in the set-up, which creates this exaggerated wave-like, down-and-up action from uke sets me up for a lovely ippon seoi nage. Which is strange because, for me, being rather tall (6 foot 2), shoulder throws don't exactly come naturally. But because of that large wave-like, down-and-up action I'm finding myself stepping under uke's shoulder just as he's on that exaggerated up motion and catching a lovely ippon seoi nage that surprises even me in how easy it is.

Again, for all of the entry conditions I've discussed, there are a number things you can do, but when it comes to introducing the series, I'm trying to start with a reasonable variety of throws (since we did o goshi in the first series, for example, I opted to focus on ippon seoi nage for the last of this forward series not just because it's a nice place to do it, but also to help maintain a little variety in tori's repertoire).

Next time, we'll venture into some of the other throws we discovered just for fun. I started with these three conditions primarily to reinforce the three basic ways of turning your foot relative to the line of uke's feet: across the line, toes pointed at him (on the line) and toes pointed away (down the line). I think the trickiest part of setting up any throw is learning where your set-up foot needs to be and learning to pre-turn it in these funny ways. Once you've learned where the line is, and how to step on it, you can start playing with all kinds of variations (at which point we rub our hands together and cackle menacingly!)


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