Sometimes, learning new techniques can be very confusing. All of those details and variations that make a certain technique work can be difficult to take in all at once; and so you often end up not understanding, nor remembering, the technique to its fullest.
Fortunately, you can make this job easier for yourself by breaking down techniques into more digestible chunks. Travis Stevens, an Olympic Silver Medalist in Judo and BJJ Black Belt under John Danaher, shows how you can do that with Judo throws – so that you can learn them better and at a faster pace!
Travis starts by saying that whenever you watch a Judo throw video on Youtube (or whenever you’re learning it in class), you have to make sure that you’re breaking the technique into three parts.
The first part of every throw consists out of Kuzushi – the offbalancing of your training partner. Here, Travis explains that you have to focus on what your hands are doing and which steps you have to take in order to get the other person out of balance.
To demonstrate what he means, Travis uses an example of Harai Goshi. He takes a strong step in towards the training partner, and then drives off of that front leg and elevates the partner with the collar and sleeve grips to the side. This shifts the partner’s balance to only one leg – and that’s the first, Kuzushi part of the throw.
THE TSUKURI – YOUR ENTRY
The Tsukuri – the entry into the technique – is the second part of every Judo throw. In the Harai Goshi technique, Travis demonstrates that your entry will be the backstep. However, entries shouldn’t be taken for granted. They need to be incorporated into a whole, into proper motion, which will teach you how to set up the throw properly.
Travis does the Kuzushi first, then turns on the backstep leg and does a slight pendulum motion with his free one. His chest is up and it’s looking towards the direction where the throw will go.
This is how the Harai Goshi entry is practiced in a correct manner; everything has to be connected.
THE KAKE – YOUR THROWS
The Kake is the actual throwing aspect of your Judo throws, Travis explains. When doing the Harai Goshi and practicing your throw, he says, you need to do so with a bit more tempo, with a bit more power.
Once you go for the throw, you have to make sure that you’ve done the two previous steps correctly. The Kuzushi and the Tsukuri have to work in unison, as Travis demonstrates. When he gets to the throwing part, he continues extending his training partner’s hand; finishing the motion in a sort of a circular way to get a good throw.
THE NEWAZA – GROUND GAME
These principles can be as equally applied to the Newaza, your bottom game. For, just like it’s the case with throws, there’s an offbalance, an entry and a finish in your ground game.
Travis shows this from a Sankaku Jime – Triangle Choke – setup. With his training partner in a Turtle position, he needs to offbalance him first; to open him up, creating space for the entry. The way he does this is by grabbing the belt with one hand and the Gi, at the back of the partner’s neck, with the other. Then, Travis shuffles to the side and pulls the training partner towards him.
This opens his partner up and allows Travis to enter into the Sankaku; to set his technique up.
Watch Travis explain this in much more depth on the video below:
“If You’re Serious About Learning Takedowns, As Well As Judo, For BJJ– This Is The Most Complete Resource You Will Ever See”
Jimmy Pedro and Travis Stevens’ Judo Academy Teaches Takedowns and Judo Ground Fighting More Extensively Than Any Other Program In American History