Throwing Principles: Come in Low

This one is simple:  you know you need to bend your knees before you throw.  Many reasons for this:
  • You can straighten your legs to get lift.
  • You lower the fulcrum for your throw, which generally makes it easier to execute.
  • And much much more!
But when does this bending of the knees need to occur?  When practicing, beginners will often wait until they have set in to bend their knees, but that is TOO LATE!  You need to lower your body before setting in (a.k.a., before you fix the Glue).  If you wait until you have already fit in, and then you lower yourself, your uke will just lower right along with you, which negates both the benefit of your lift (because when you lift, you will just be putting uke back to the original level) and the benefit of lowering your fulcrum (because uke's body will be dropping right along with you).

So you need to be low before you get there!  If you are taking steps to set in, increase the bend in your knees with each step such that you are at the desired level by the time you have set in.  If you are hopping in, make sure that by the time uke makes body contact with you, you are at the right level.  This means that your level will have to be dropping as you hop.  When you practice your uchi komis, take note of your level.  For most throws, you will want those knees bent, and bent before you have set in.




kodokanjudo said...

At the risk of of overlapping future articles of "Throwing Principles", lifting and pulling also help in getting tori's center of gravity under uke's center of gravity.