Throwing Principles: The Balls

You'd be amazed at a man's strength when he stands on his own balls!

Balls of your feet, weirdos.

So here's another pretty basic throwing principle:  stay on the balls of your feet.  All the time.  Have you ever found yourself turning in for a throw only to find that you are off-balanced backward once you get there?  And am I guessing right when I say that your heels were on the ground, and your toes weren't touching the mat?  Well, there are several things you could do to correct it, but the easiest thing you can do is to make sure that you stay on the balls of your feet.  I'm not saying that you need to tippie-toe all day long, but if you can keep your heel one millimeter off the ground, you'll do all right.

So here is a brief run-down of the benefits of staying on your balls:

  • Balance: See above.  Basically, it's harder (but not impossible) to be off-balanced to your rear if you are on the balls of your feet.
  • Power:  If you are doing a throw that involves driving your body forwards, backwards, or to the side - or to any of the corners - then you can generate more power for that throw by driving off the balls of your feet.  I really can't think of many throws where flat feet are preferred, and can't think of any where you should be on your heels...
  • Mobility:  You will be more mobile on the balls of your feet - able to respond quicker and more nimbly to what is happening.  Partly because once you are put on your heels, your life gets much harder.  But there is more to it.
  • Height:  Ladies love tall men.  And for the ladies:  now you don't need those high-heels.  No real judo benefits on this one.  But don't forget those rockin' calves.
There it is.  And this applies not just to when you are throwing, but moving, as well.  Think...80/20 on your weight distribution as you tsugi ashi...



Patrick Parker said...

That's right. Stay on your balls. But here's a related thing to think about...

When turning in for something like seoinage, how much sense does it make to leap forward, turn around, smash butt first into UK, then try to throw them back. Where you came from?

Were trying to join forces or blend right? So uke is coming at you so you respond by jumping at him (cancelling out his momentum) to throw him.

Of course you're gonna teeter backward, whethwe you're on your balls or not

And I'm talking about 'you in general, not 'you're Sensei chad

kodokanjudo said...

A coach's instructions from matside during a shiai:
"On your balls!!! Stay on your balls!!!"