The main aim of this book is to introduce the reader to general attacking Judo movement, using as examples the throws which are centred round Taiotoshi. We are trying to convey something of the spring and dash of a good Judo attacker; for this purpose the camera strips are not a series of individually posed pictures but are stages of one and the same continuous movement. From the very beginning it is a good thing if the student tries to imitate to some extent the free and flexible action of the expert; analysis of individual techniques tends to cramp the movement, b:!cause a beginner may think that everything has to start off from a given position in order to succeed. Whereas the truth is that successful Judo is largely dependent on being able to keep balance and control in the fast interchanges. The standard of indiviqual technique in world Judo is getting higher; the weakness is in the general movement, and this book aims at that. We are taking mainly the Taiotoshi movement to illustrate the themes because if too many throws are described the student once again falls into the error of supposing that until he has mastered every detail he can do nothing, and he also tends to suppose that for each position there is one appropriate throw.
This is quite a common delusion in Judo. Either Judo students fancy they have to learn a number of throws corresponding to a number of ‘weaknesses’ in the opponent’s position or movement, or else they think they will learn one throw well, and just wait till the appropriate opportunity presents itself. As a matter of fact the basic technique of a throw is only the beginning of mastery; no Judo man has reached expert level at a throw till he knows how to manoeuvre the opponent into it, and till furthermore he can execute it from all sorts of unorthodox attitudes. Before reading further, try the ‘flicker’ at the top right corners of pages 63 to 13 of this book; the attacker is carried right up into the air, but manages to control his opponent’s throw, and comes shooting down into his Taiotoshi. This is the kind of Judo which must be developed, and this is the spirit of attack.
The Judo student, from the beginning, must get spring into his movement. Have a look at the section called ‘Tricks of Holding’ and notice how the man rises on tiptoe and sinks right down, then rises again and sinks again, to come up for the last time as he executes the throw. Exercise yourself in thus changing the level in your Judo; if you look through the pictures in this book with this one point in mind, you will have learnt something very useful. Many Europeans hate bending their knees to go down; they would rather keep the knees straight and bend forward to pick something up than bend the knees and go down. Well, in Judo you have to train yourself to bend the knees flexibly and naturally, and at speed. Some experts do a hundred or two ‘squats’ every morning and evening to help them acquire the movement comfortably.
Again study the change of distance in the various attacks; it is no use keeping the same distance from the opponent and hoping he will somehow walk into your throw; you have to chase after him and cover the ground faster than he can. There is a Zen story about a man who was walking in a field one day when he saw a rabbit pop out of its hole suddenly and stun itself against a stake which the farmer had happened to fix there. He took the rabbit home and had it for dinner. Afterwards he used to sit there for hours every day waiting for the same thing to happen again. But it never did. Some Judo men are a bit like this; when they are beginners they manage to get hold of a technique which works when the other man happens to come right into it. But as they get on they meet better opponents, and then the opponent never walks into the throw again.
We have chosen Taiotoshi to illustrate these principles of movement because it is a throw where the whole body is moved, and where the principle of the throw is not confused by hooking, reaping or sweeping movements of one leg as in many other throws. If you learn the actions of going in to the opponent, chasing him, circling with him, and tricking him and so on with this throw, you can apply them to most other throws without more than minor changes in technique.
We are using ‘I’ and ‘You’ in this book because it is intended as a straightforward training manual. The technical words are Tori (for the attacker) and Uke (for the one thrown). The other technical words mainly explain themselves: you can see a picture of Taiotoshi on the front cover and in hundreds of places in the book; Ouchi (short for Ouchigari) you can see in the section called The ‘Y’; Kosotogari similarly you will see in Section 21.
The demonstrations in this book are almost all performed by K. Watanabe; no one man can be equally skilled in all Judo movement, but the techniques are mostly his. The pictures are taken from actual practice at full speed (except for a few such as the right-hand slip pictures where the action is not normally clearly visible and which have been posed) with a new camera specially designed for analysis of sports movement. We made a great number of pictures and then selected those where the point to be illustrated appeared from a favourable angle. It is hoped that a realistic effect has been achieved which will give a good notion of movement.
We are grateful to Mr. John Newman (4th Dan), teacher at the Renshuden Judo Club, for making a more vigorous and determined opponent than the lay figure of so many Judo books; thanks also go to Mr. T. Kawamura (7th Dan) for the pictures in Section 21, and to Mr. George Kerr (4th Dan), teacher at the Renshuden, and to the members of the Club for help and suggestions.