Hajime to Matte Model: Another Quick Thought on 'Move Before You Grip"

There's a benefit to just keeping yourself moving.

For the background on this post, see this.

You've probably heard the expression "Stay on your toes."  It basically means you need to be ready to react to the unexpected.

And how about "He was caught flat-footed"?  That one suggests, basically, that something bad happened because someone wasn't ready to react - because they weren't "on their toes," in other words.

That's part of the benefit of "Move Before You Grip" - it isn't just about closing distance or relative positioning - it's about keeping you nimble and ready to respond/react, ready to move.  Just about every sport has discovered that a) staying on the balls of your feet, and b) continually moving makes  you able to react a bit quicker than if you are flat-footed:

  • Watch a pro tennis player waiting for a serve.  They don't just stand there - they bounce around or at least look like they have happy feet.
  • Watch the soccer goalie while he's waiting for the penalty kick.  Same thing.
  • Go to a football practice, and listen to the coach when his running back runs in to a pile of bad guys - "KEEP YOUR FEET MOVING!"  The RB will be better able to keep his feet under him and able to respond if he keeps those bad boys moving.  And while you're there, watch a linebacker before the snap.  Moving those feet.
  • Etc., etc.
The trap we all fall into in pretty much every case where we should be moving our feet in anticipation is that it isn't natural or efficient (which, btw, is why it isn't natural) - so we instinctively resist that.  It takes conscious effort for a long time to build the habit.  So what you see in Judo is that the opponents may move a good bit before they engage, but once that happens, flat feet, and a bunch of reaching.  Try to recognize when this happens and see if you can keep moving, and if this helps your Judo at all...

All that said, in Judo, you don't want to place too much importance on this - though it is worth a thought.  We also have to be alert that we don't move stupidly.  We can't be remaking a scene from Flashdance while we attempt to grab our opponent.Skip to 1:57 to see what I'm talking about.  Or watch the whole thing and just take in the majesty.