This is the Judo blog of Lance Wicks. In this blog I cover mainly Judo and related topics. My Personal blog is over at where I cover more geeky topics. Please do leave comments on what you read or use the Contact Me form to send me an email with your thoughts and ideas.

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Teaching using principles rather than techniques. 

Judo clubs all over the world are doing what you do, teaching people Ippon Seoi, O Goshi, O Soto Gari, etc. You'll have seen it, done it, got the tee shirt. But here is the thing, should we be teaching throws or should we be teaching USING throws?

Judo is fundamentally governed by mechanics right? Levers and all that good stuff, so do we teach how these things work in a Judo context, or, do we teach throws and hope the students learn the principles underlying?

Here is my practical example.

Tonight I was coaching at the HMS Collingwood Judo Club and what we covered was not any selection of throws. Tonight we worked on the idea that Many throws consist of stopping the lower body, whilst allowing and/or propelling uke's upper body onwards.

We started with some footsweeps. Moving forward, backwards, sideways, etc. Later we started doing some forwards and backwards throws.
Specifically we did Taio Toshi, Tsurikomi Ashi, Okuri Ashi Barai and O Uchi Gari.

But these were only methods of exploring the principle.

Yes, as we did Taio I helped them get the throw right. BUT... I was not focussed on the specifics of where the left foot goes or right hand goes. Rather, I tried to focus on if they understood that the the idea was that their partners upper body kept coming forward and they stopped the lower body from moving, bang!

When we worked on O Uchi Gari, I did not focus non the sweep or footwork. I watched to see if they tried/succeeded in stopping that leg going backwards and kept their partners body moving backwards.

The point here being that what I was really looking for was for the players to express physically their understanding of the principle.

In later classes I intend to explore other Judo principles. Of course we shall have sessions that are all about the specific techniques, but hopefully the players will have gained a personal understanding of the principles FIRST.

I'd be interested in your experiences, thoughts and opinions... Perhaps I am messing up these players? Please drop me an email to or pop a comment here on the blog.

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