Nage no Kata Attacks - Uke Gets ... No Smarter?: The Sumo Shuffle

... Umm... I got nothing.  And I don't like it.

As I mentioned in this post, I have a hypothesis that there was some reason for Tori to select the throw she does... some reason more meaningful than "Tori really wanted to do Uki Goshi."  So, in these posts, I explored the subtle differences in Uke's actions which trigger specific throws, and I am pretty satisfied with the answers.

As I was performing the Kata the other day, however, I couldn't discern any difference between what Uke was supposed to be doing during the "Jigotai Shuffles" in Sumi Gaeshi vs. Uki Waza.  So I started reading.  I have a few books by people who know a lot more about Kata than I do, and thus far, I have been really happy that these books have been able to answer the questions I have had.  Not so here.  In Formal Techniques, Draeger mentions no difference.  In fact, he says a few times that Uke and Tori are repeating themselves in Uki Waza.  Same thing in Leggett's book.  Same in Kawaishi's.

So... is my hypothesis wrong?  (I already know your answer, LEO!) Or, is there some difference that these clowns didn't pick up on?  What do you think?  Do any of you guys do anything differently to induce Uki Waza instead of another Sumi Gaeshi?



TomH said...

Hi Chad, Great Blog!

I've recently been asking this question myself: How is Uke the Instigator of the technique..etc?

As for Uki Waza and Sumi Gaeshi - I believe that "Formal Techniques" does describe a difference in Uke's Final Step. It took me a while to find (and I don't have it in front of me); I think you need to take your time reading the step by step processes:

I believe Uke shuffles his foot diagonally away from Tori to avoid the Sumi Gaeshi - which Tori would apply if Uke didn't step. During the shuffle/slide outwards Tori must rotate onto his side to capture Uke's momentum; making it an Uki Waza.

I tried this recently and I thought it felt great; Tori has learnt to respond to the subtlest of movements.

I think this shows that Uke is always getting smarter: I'll attack him in the same way as before - but avoid the throw at the last moment because Tori will just do the same throw.

kodokanjudo said...

In the old days (I find myself saying that a lot) uke would keep a lower center of gravity in sumi-gaeshi with his legs spread farther appart, thus tori's leg attacking on the inside. In uki-waza, uke tried to keep a higher center of gravity without spreading his legs so much, thus tori drops to his side to take advantage of uke's tighter posture.

Chad Morrison said...

@Tom - I think I saw what you were talking about in "Formal..." but from what I recall, the diagonal step was in both...he just put a diagonal step at the end of a paragraph (for Uki Waza, I believe), and at the beginning of the following paragraph for the other technique... It may mean that there is a slight timing difference, but when i read it, I didn't think so... Take another peek when you get a chance, and let me know what you think.
@Leo - Let's tinker with that in class...

TomH said...


You're right of course - I've taken another look and from Uke's perspective; here's the differences in each technique:

Sumi Gaeshi:

Seeks to improve his balance still more by sliding his right foot diagonally forward to his right front, but only succeeds in getting it approximately in line with his left foot.

Uki Waza:

Seeks to improve his balance by stepping diagonally forward with his right foot and succeeds in
getting it halfway along.

So to me the significant difference noted is Uke attempts to Slide his foot during Sumi Gaeshi as opposed to Step during Uki Waza. That's definitely worth playing with!

You're certainly right about the timings, you've reminded me to take a look at Trevor Leggett's description; he describes one "bare-half step" and the other as "full step".

Let us know what you find!