Companion Class 30/19/2013

Last night featured a return to some wrestling basics. We began with a series of light exercises aimed at getting people limbered up and practising breaking grips to the wrist and elbows, both to the inside and outside. We then added in passing off the arm to the opposite side, cross-body, to enable an arm drag.

From this cross-body arm drag entry, we practised three takedowns at elbow distance, rather than a tight clinch. The throws were practised, but the onus (for me) was ensuring students employed proper sequence (unbalance, enter, throw), broke structure, distributed weight properly according to the throw, occupied the partner’s space, and most importantly, employed their entire bodies in the throw, aka “connecting” to their partner.

If, upon doing the arm drag, your partner steps deeply (you can facilitate this by taking a slight step yourself), it sets you up nicely for a backward throw à la gambarola. For those of you following along, this equates to an o soto gari type throw over the leg.

This was followed by an alternative throw from the same entry. Instead of stepping deeply, your opponent instead steps more offline, and/or you perform the arm drag with a volta stabile, changing the resultant position. You end up facing largely in the same direction, and can thus employ the third remedy master of dagger reverse throw, pressing your arm across his neck/chin to take him down backwards over your leg. Emphasis was again on breaking structure and occupying space.

If the partner doesn’t step, this opens an opportunity to perform an inside takedown (o uchi gari for you judophiles) that we Fiore’d up. Proper use of unbalancing and weight distribution is key, as is occupying space with the attacking leg and employing your body to perform the throw.

Finally, a hip throw was practised from an alternate entry – still an arm drag, but not cross-body. Stepping out and along a backwards diagonal opens the space, allowing you to “fit in”. Place the partner to your hip, bring him close, and raise your hips to take the weight and elevate him over you. Failing to keep the partner close to the body resulted in deep gambarola style throws over the hip (not bad per se, just not what we were practising) and failing to properly fit in resulted in some half-hip throws (which, incidentally, will often happen, but again, not what we were shooting for).

We’ll do a few more weeks of various throws from varying distances and grips before moving once again out of measure to repeat it all at dagger distance. I, for one, am looking forward to it!