Thursday, April 29, 2010

The tall and the short of it, part 3

Continuing my thoughts on approaching aikido and judo as a tall person and as a short person, let's look at the next chunk of junana hon kata, the hiji waza (elbow techniques):

6) Oshi taoshi
Tall: The good ol' fashioned "elbow through the ear" version works well for me, being tall. It goes along with the idea I mentioned of "looming" over uke, or going over the top, and when extending along the side axis of off-balance, being behind uke (whereas shorter folks extend from in front).

Short: For shorter player, trying to do the straight "elbow through the ear" version can be tricky, especially since it usually means tori has to let their hands drift above shoulder level. Not that you can't ever do that, but I like to reserve it for moment when I absolutely have to and the risk is lower. Plus, going "over" uke isn't really a shorter person's strong suit.

Now, starting with a backward balance break to drop uke into a hole, and then doing oshi taoshi helps solve that. But outside of that, they also seem to do well with the tenkan, or turning behind, version, which brings uke down to their level.

7) Ude gaeshi
Tall: Taking uke's arm straight back, their hand behind their head works great, again because we're toppling uke backwards.

Short: For shorter players, however, getting to that position has the same trouble as oshi taoshi. Once again, a backwards break can help that, but also consider taking that arm-coil to the side, by turning, which keeps it more at tori's level. Know, though, that this puts uke's arm in much the same structure as "thread the needle" (tenkai kote gaeshi) which often makes uke take a flip, so go easy.

8) Hiki taoshi
Tall: As far as I can tell, this one seems to work well regardless of height.

Short: It definitely works for shorter people largely because it follows the idea of breaking uke forward and extending him, so it can be quite useful. You'll definitely want to remember, though, that it will help you topple larger ukes by using your free hand to roll uke's tricep forward, which helps break his shoulders forward. Works like magic.

9) Ude hineri
Tall: This one really fits in the tall guys wheelhouse, compressing smaller guys and extending outward from behind.

Short: The hard part about this one for shorter people, it seems, is getting the free hand over uke's shoulder. I would almost rather they do something more along the lines of kaiten nage, with their hand on uke's neck. I don't know; I want to experiment more with this one.

10) Waki gatame
Tall: The standard, straight ahead version works well for tall guys who can use that elbow-to-elbow action to knock uke off balance.

Short: For shorter people, though, getting your inside elbow up over uke's upper arm can be problematic. I like the version where tori steps to the inside, using the opposing hand (tori's right hand on uke's right wrist), then doing the "figure 8" version. This creates a nice up and down, roller coaster motion in uke that brings him down to tori's level nicely.

Okay, next time I'll go over both the tekubi waza (wrist techniques) and the uki waza (floating techniques). Then, on to some judo.

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