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A work in progress: Runaround Kuzushiwaza

by on April 29, 2012

Somehow this got abandoned in my drafts folder without publishing last week…

Here’s a work in progress: some thoughts on one of the runaround kuzushiwazas. It took a while, but we’ve finally beginning to get a feeling of connection similar to what we’ve got on the other kuzushiwaza.

Note: in this video you can see how I’m throwing off my own balance at the very end of the throw (leaning backwards). We worked on this in subsequent practices. My issue had to do with trying too hard to “push” with the lower hand. When I worked on “being lower” – at the feet rather than the shoulders (I love how I’m using all of  this touchy-feely terminology these days – the kind of thing that I would have abhorred 10 years ago) it solved the problem. Also, you want to get as much downward kuzushi on uke’s lower hand. To do this without dropping your own arm too far, relax your thumb while extending your pinky. This will “wrap” uke’s arm without causing you to push too much.

Also, though we couldn’t remember while recording the video, we have decided that this technique is the second “runaround.” In the full kata it is the very last technique of the ura waza.

From → Video

  1. Looks cool. I will try that tomorrow. The only thing I would suggest is not let your posture break as you take him around. Maybe easier said than done. We shall see.

    • Yeah, I was having real trouble with my posture breaking at that point in the technique that evening.

      We worked on it in later practices, and I was able to make some progress. I found that if I think of “pushing” with that lower hand, it causes me to leave my shoulder behind (to have somewhere to push from) which breaks my posture as you saw. If instead I focus on “being low,” bringing the hand with me, and relaxing the thumb just as much, if not more than, pushing with the pinky, then my posture didn’t break nearly as badly.

      It’s tricky in part just because you can’t see what’s going on, so you just have to trust the connection, and trust that it’s going to work.

  2. patparker permalink

    Great blog here – lots of cool material. I’m jealous that Eric found it before me 🙂 keep up the good work!

  3. Ash permalink

    Hey Charlie– Looks like that’s #7 from the omote set, though not quite as I’ve been teaching it. =)Actually, it looks a bit like a tweener between #7 and #14, in that the hand that’s grabbed initially is coming up at the start (which is true in #14, but not #7), but then you throw with your body turn, rather than the mae otoshi (which is true in #7, but not #14). You can look at my (not perfect, but reasonable execution) from my sandan exam here:

    For me, there are 3 key points to #7. First, you rotate your frame to put your wrist in uke’s grip _before_ he’s ready for it. His reaction should be to instictively grab onto it (since that was his planned attack anyway), but he can’t yet exploit this grab since you’ve pre-empted his timetable. Second, as uke latches on, you must move with a connected body turn along, preferrably, the original arc uke was using to reach for your wrist before you rotated it back to preempt his timing. Third, as you conclude this connected body turn, you must transfer your connection to uke from the wrist he grabbed second, to the one he grabbed first by pushing your hand up your center line exactly as you demonstrate in your video. This allows you to continue to apply pressure into uke by continuing your rotation.

    There’s more, of course, like how you can drop and rotate your hand along the inside of the thigh to break out of uke’s grip and further disrupt his posture. But the 3 points above I think are the “bright” stars in the contsellation. =)

    • Thanks for the feedback Ash!

      It’s always a challenge to follow someone else’s written technique descriptions, but combined with your video I think I get your main gist.

      I think part of what is going on here is the rift between Shishida and Nariyama shihans surfacing. While in Japan (in Kansai) I usually did #7 more or less as you demonstrate in the video, and that’s how I felt most people around me were doing it. However, I always felt there were two problems with my technique (not counting standard execution problems, like not raising my arm properly in my center) – the first problem was that uke almost never got a firm grasp of my second hand, and, related to that, I found that I usually did the “throw” having turned around to face uke.

      The reason that this execution bothered me was that I very much remember at Vassar Shishida sensei emphasizing the second hand that was grasped and using that hand and a powerful hip torque to throw uke. I always felt in executing the throw the way that you have shown that I was getting 0% of the 2nd hand. I was racing ahead of uke with my 1st hand, trying to get him back in front of me, because I had the feeling that if uke really got ahold of my 2nd hand, the gig would be up. Thus the hip power through the 2nd hand that Shishida sensei emphasized never came into play, and the technique seemed to be pretty-much a turning version of #3.

      One of the things I love about our practices in Bath is that we can experiment more, and put ourselves in situations where we expect to mostly fail. I always moved a hair early on #7 because I knew if the 2nd hand came into play I would probably fail, and that wasn’t something that I could do as comfortably in Japan. (Whereas here we had several practices in a row mostly devoted to figuring out how and why we were failing…)

      Long story short, I think there are sort of two versions of this technique, but I imagine when you get really good they resemble each other quite closely.

    • Here Nariyama sensei does it the way you’ve done it (so it is most definitely not wrong to do it that way!)

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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