Exposing problems in your technique
Firs of all, I'm a little confused by some terminology at the moment, and I now realize that I'm going to need to figure that out. All these years, in our school and overall organization (I believe), the term "sute geiko" referred to a form of practice that is different from how the rest of the judo world defines it (although I can't find a lot of references to it so far).
For the rest of the judo world, it seems to mean "alternate throwing practice without resistance." Which is odd, because for me, "growing up" in judo, sute geiko was a more unique form of practice where one person is allowed one throw (say, o soto gari) and one throw only. It's his job to try and throw it. The other person's job is not to be defensive, per se, but to maintain proper posture at all times and walk effectively. If tori doesn't have all the pieces, doesn't have kazushi, etc. the uke doesn't just fall down for him, he walks out of it.
Meanwhile, the idea of just trading throw without resistance was always referred to as "hop randori." Now, I'm no expert on the Japanese language, but I was always pretty sure "hop" wasn't a Japanese word, but I just went with it. I think now, the term "nage komi" might be used a little more in other classes, a term which as far as I can see means simply "throwing techniques" and refers to doing the whole, completed throw (as opposed to uchi komi, say, where you're working on kazushi and fitting in but not pulling the trigger).
At any rate, I don't know (yet) if the judo world at large has a word for the kind of training that we refer to as sute geiko, but now I have some homework for when I get home tonight.
At any rate, it's a nice form of practice to throw in the mix once in while, I think, because it really brings the pieces of a player's technique into sharper focus. In other, if they don't have everything pretty close to perfect, it won't go. You'll find out fairly quickly if you've been somewhat lazy in some respect when all you've been doing is trading throws, and certainly if you have any bad habits.
The down side of it is, we ultimately would like to train ourselves to be able to flow from one throw to the next; if he hit him in one corner and that fails, we hit another corner, then another, until he eventually can't stand up anymore. It's funny, actually, how frustrated a player will get with sute geiko, unable to get the given throw to work, they's instinctively pop another throw immediately after. A good habit in general, but it doesn't solve the problem that the original throw's technique was flawed and needs help.
So I thought I'd give it a go with my morning class with o soto gari. The results? Well, not what I was hoping for.
Mainly, I don't think they understood the purpose of the drill. For the most part, they ended up trading throws fairly easily, even though I could see from the outside that they were relying on some bad, lazy habits that, if tried on someone who was really playing with solid posture and good foot work, wouldn't work (much less on someone who was actively defending themselves in randori or shiai!)
The main issue I saw was with the reaping leg. Most didn't point the toes, didn't actually "reap" and many just put their foot on the ground and let uke fall over it. Not only is that kind of dangerous for their own leg (should someone fall ON it, instead of over), if they do that to me (or any one of the fine higher level judoka we have in other classes) we're just gonna dance right out of it, even if they did have kazushi.
I'd like to work on it more on Wednesday and see what I can get out of them. I'm wondering if I might have to be uke for each one of them in order to give them a better idea of how to play the role? Or maybe just once or twice with everyone watching would be enough?
Then again, maybe today sutegeiko practice did what I needed it to do: expose areas that need working on. I think I'll address those on Wednesday, and save more sutegeiko for another throw.
The journey never ends. Alway more polishing that can be done, smoothing more rough corners.