Learning all the Judo individual throws one at a time is similar to learning the vocabulary of a foreign language, the difficult part is to put the words together in the correct order to make fluent sentences. Sooner or later the judo player has to learn to combine techniques in order to be effective in contest. There is an old saying in judo that one technique mastered is worth a thousand sampled, which remains as true today as it ever was, but five or six techniques mastered is even better.
There are basically two kinds of combination techniques in judo, renzoku-waza and renraku-waza. The first is a combination of two or more techniques in the same direction, where the first technique begins to break uke’s balance and the second or subsequent attacks finish the job. An example of this kind of combination would be ko-uchi-gari into o-uchi-gari where the direction of both throws is to uke’s rear, or uchimata into harai-goshi, where both attacks take uke to his left front corner.
The second kind of combination in Judo is a reaction combination, where the first attack provokes a strong defensive reaction, inviting the attacker to switch direction to exploit this defensive effort. Tori may attack with o-uchi-gari, causing uke to step back and push off with his arms, tori then switches to ippon seoi-nage exploiting uke’s defensive push to throw him forwards. The switch of direction might just as easily be from left to right as from rear to front. Tori can attack with right uchimata which uke must block strongly to prevent himself from being thrown; tori releases his left-hand grip on uke’s sleeve and spins under uke’s left arm with left seoi-nage. At the higher levels the
first attack may become just a threatening feint designed to provoke a defensive twitch, but for the first attack to provoke such a reaction it has to feel dangerous: uke has to be convinced on a subconscious level that if he does not react strongly he will be thrown. Tori’s job then is to transmit to uke, through his grip, footwork and body movements that he intends to do a particular throw and uke must be made to react.
One of the problems with such reaction judo is that it only works on well-trained opponents. Often, less skilful players fail to react to the threat of the initial feint. In such cases the initial attack needs to be real and committed; if it is an effective technique in its own right, as it ought to be, failure to react to it should make uke easy to throw.
You can also follow The MMA Zone on Twitter here.