Lining up the 4 gari throws, part 1

I mentioned trying to get some video of something I was talking about here the other day, but once again, I've fallen short.

For one thing, I hate to interrupt the flow of class by taking one or two people and doing something different than everybody else. But then, I also just forget altogether, because I get caught up in what's going on in class. And let's face it, the class (and it's students) is the important thing, not making little movies for my own amusement. And since it's an early class, most everyone else has to get to work afterwards. Oh, and I've also been sick the last few weeks....

Excuses, excuses...

Ah, well. Maybe I'll try and explain what I'm thinking in words, but probably not all in one post.

The first thing that occurred to me about all the gari family—osoto gari, kosoto gari, ouchi gari and kouchi gari—was 1) how I want uke to be positioned when I "pull the trigger", and 2) how I want to be positioned relative to that. Like I said, this really isn't anything we haven't been doing all along, but it's just recently clicked in my mind, and my mind likes to categorize and organize.

You might take a brief look at this film again (just the beginning).

This is a pretty typical approach, from what I can tell, about how most of the judo world approaches the gari family: with uke standing square, his feet side by side and his hips and shoulder in line with his feet. And that's really what I'm shooting for in the end. I'd like to throw him perpendicular to the line of his feet (over his heels) with his hips and shoulders in line with his feet but slightly behind (his posture bent back a little):

Then when it comes to throwing it, my base is in between uke's feet (on his line) for the inside reaps, and outside his feet (on his line) for the outside reaps. I would also like body contact, chest to chest, which forces his shoulders/posture back a little. This also makes it harder for uke to remain standing because my center actually ends up replacing his (think of it maybe as my center bumping his out of the way). And that idea, I owe to Dr. Clif Norgaard Sensei.

The problem with all this is that uke is very rarely standing square to me; he's walking, which means one foot ahead of the other. That makes the line of his feet diagonal to me, about 45 degrees to the line of his hips and shoulders as well as to the direction my center is pointing:

All of the set-ups we do, I realized, are about getting from this diagonal relationship to one where uke's square to me (the line of his feet perpendicular or 90 degrees to the line of my center) and his hips and shoulders line up with his feet.

That will have to suffice for now. The next post, I'll get into some other specifics and examples, plus how this idea caused me to tweak a few things.