Yesterday I took 2nd in the Utah State Judo Championships. I didn’t take first for one reason; I didn’t commit to my uchi-mata.
Let me explain. I took up Judo/Jiu-Jitsu nearly 3 years ago and finally have a wall nearing the “full” level of medals. The problem? Most of them are silver with one lonely gold. The lonely gold is the result of a freak occurance of me actually hitting an uchi mata correctly, or correctly enough for an ippon. The silvers are more often than not of my uchi mata failing miserably and giving up my back.
Everyone has two kinds of judo throws – Their favorite, and the one they’re good at. I’m good at sasae-tsurikomi-ashi. I’m in love with the uchi mata. If uchi mata was a girl, I’d have sex with it in public. If it were a dude, we’d hang out, drink beers and listen to Godsmack. If it were…*sigh*… Problem being, the uchi mata is elusive and everyone does it differently. Therefore, I try to get everyone’s input and fine tune it to custom fit my size and ability. I’m getting closer, and here are some tips that helped me, and hopefully help you. It should be forewarned, I’m 6’2″ and 200 lbs, so if you’re of shorter stature, let me know if you gain anything from these tips (all from the traditional stance, and right handed entry (turning in counter-clockwise).
- COMMIT. I hear this everytime I attempt uchi-mata…commit to the throw, if you don’t, you’ll fail, no doubt. The way this was explained to me is this; pretend there is a cat sitting on the outside of your left foot facing the same way you are. As you complete the throw, you should be kissing the cat on the nose (don’t judge me)
- ROTATION. The throw isn’t planting them into the ground, they’re falling off of your thigh. Resist trying to shove the uke into the ground, but rotate your body towards the kittie we talked about earlier…in other words, try to scoop the cat up with your right arm (of course, with uke attached)
- STRAIGHT LEG Your right leg remains straight and points toward the ceiling. Of course this probably won’t be true in practical application, but randori and perform uchi-komi’s with this in mind and you’ll eventually have muscle memory of it
- KUZUSHI IS TOWARD YOU one of the most helpful tips for me…kuzushi. Explained as such, “Your leg won’t move him by itself”. You HAVE to get his kuzushi moving forward for this throw to work and get him high on your thigh
- DON’T STEP TOO DEEP If you practice judo, you’re aware of the “triangle” (both of uke’s feet and one of yours). Avoid stepping too deep into the triangle. Equalateral is perfect
- FRONT ROLL Remember picking up the cat? Hopefully you noticed that its the same position as a front roll over your right shoulder. Finish this way
Well, that’s it. Like I mentioned before, I’m different than you and you’re different than me. I’d love to hear tips that others have on the throw, but again, these in particular helped me score ippons rather than yukos.